ARC BOOK REVIEW: Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

Publication Date: October 4, 2022
Format: Kindle
Genre:  Fiction

Publisher: Ballantine Books 
455 pages
Buy: Kindle | Paperback


Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising their beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined that she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in and taking over her father’s beekeeping business.
Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start. 
And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can trust him completely. . . .
Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in Ash, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.


I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through I am leaving this review voluntarily

Wow.  This book takes me back to when I first read Jodi Picoult.  It doesn't hurt that the attorney in this book plays vital roles in The Pact, Salem Falls and Nineteen Minutes.  I also appreciate that this book actually had an ending where I felt that a few of her more recent books left the end up to you. 

Olivia left her abusive husband and moved with her son to her parents farm where she becomes a beekeeper like her father. Now a senior in high school Asher is a good kid, a gifted athlete and has a great girlfriend.  Then Lily is found dead and Asher is the main suspect. 

This book was in many ways torturous to read because I wanted to hurry up and find out what happens at the end of the trial.  I can only imagine the stress Asher and his mother would have been under in these circumstances. Throughout the book we get flashbacks into Lilly's life from before she moved to the area and throughout her relationship with Asher.  We also get flashbacks from Olivia who hides the pain and shame of being an abused woman. Ever since she left her husband she has not had another relationship, scared to trust again. 

I don't want to give too much away because there is a secret revealed in this book about halfway through. Which this book is full of. Everyone seems to have secrets and its about the lengths and the costs they go through to keep them and who they eventually trust with them. 

The ending actually caught me by surprise but it actually made sense. It also shows just how skewed the justice system is. I loved this book. I thought the topics it brings to light are timely and needed.  It really dives deep into a subject many people don't know too much about and if some of the reviews I read are anything to go by things that people are scared to hear about. Our biases cloud our judgement so often maybe its time to open our eyes and see through someone else's for a change. 

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