When a Flower Burns
Adult; Romance; (Market)
When a Flower Burns is a story about a teenage boy, Jeffrey Maloney, who falls for the new girl in town, Clara Bennington, who serves ice cream at her parents’ store during summer break. While Jeff is mesmerized by Clara’s beauty, it becomes evident to him that Clara has a mysterious past, including an abusive father and an older boy, Clint, who seems possessive about her. Jeff and Clara spend every free moment together and quickly fall in love. In order to afford the joys of dating, Jeff starts a part time job at a local flower shop owned by his friends’ sister, Jenna, who takes a liking to him and helps him learn the ins and outs of having a girlfriend.
As the summer wears down, heartbreak takes over Jeff’s life, robbing him from his innocence and forcing him to grow up too fast. Years later, after returning back home from a stint in the Army, Jeffrey attempts love again with a familiar face, Jenna. While he enjoys his relationship with her, he longs for the connection he had with his first love. However, tragedy strikes again, but this time Jeffrey fights back, following his intuition, which leads him to find out that his past heartbreak wasn't all it seemed to be.
Filled with joy, sadness, mystery, and heard thumping young love, 'When a Flower Burns' is a refreshing, original story that takes the reader through a roller coaster of emotions, before a jaw dropping ending that brings the story to an emotionally satisfying conclusion.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 7.75 out of 10
Plot: This is a beautiful, heart-wrenching story with an ideal combination of coming-of-age love and heartbreak, the effects of abuse on several levels, dealing with deaths, and how love can potentially conquer all--all from the point of view of one boy turned man in his most powerfully formative years. Although some readers will be able to predict the larger twist at the end, the journey getting there will be just as enjoyable, and readers will find the revelation equally exciting either way.
Prose: Although the prose was sometimes distracting, calling attention to itself in its simplicity, rather than smoothly integrating into the story. Though not exceptional, Meunier's writing does not slow down the momentum or detract from the story enough to make it any less moving.
Originality: With bittersweet, complicated young love, family relationships, and enough mystery to keep readers turning pages, Meunier creates a story that, while seemingly simple, is in fact wonderfully complex and thoroughly enjoyable.
Character Development: Meunier brings both central and side characters to life. The author seamlessly marries the player's individual personalities with their far-ranging emotional states.
Date Submitted: August 31, 2019