cover image Peaches


Jodi Lynn Anderson, Author . HarperCollins $15.99 (311p) ISBN

In a novel about broken hearts, broken spirits and the healing power of friendship, Anderson profiles three one-of-a-kind Georgia "peaches," a trio of teenage girls who converge at Darlington Orchard during picking season. There's plump and sweet Birdie Darlington, a sheltered, homeschooled girl, whose father owns the orchard and is on the verge of going bankrupt. Then there's her perfect-on-the-outside cousin, Leeda Cawley-Smith, who has everything a girl could want (except her mother's love). Last but not least is tart Murphy McGowen: beautiful, brilliant and wild. Despite their different backgrounds and personalities, the three girls have two things in common. All have been coerced (for different reasons) to spend spring break and a long hot summer working alongside more experienced migrant pickers, and all three girls carry the weight of discontent to the orchard. Alternating the characters' points of view, the author delves into the teenagers' family conflicts, problematic romances and secret longings. while tracing how they slowly, cautiously form bonds of camaraderie with each other. Descriptions of the scent of the orchard, the flavor of the peaches, the sting of fire ants, the cheerful chatter from workers and the beauty of the landscape form an enticing backdrop. Anderson's tale encapsulates the state of ennui and anticipation that accompanies the last stretch of adolescence. Ages 14-up. (June) .