Honey by Sarah Weeks Book Review

Honey by Sarah Weeks
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: January 27, 2015

For a girl like Melody and a dog like Mo, life can be both sticky and sweet. Melody has lived in Royal, Indiana for forever. Her mother died when she was a baby, so it is just her and her father. But then she overhears a conversation in the middle of the night where he calls someone Honey. Now, Melody is desperate to discover who her father is secretly in love with. As with any mystery though, sometimes the things we uncover are not always so pleasant.

Meanwhile, a dog named Mo is new to Royal. He doesn't remember much from his puppy days, but he has always had a dream about a little girl with blond hair. It's not that he doesn't love his current owner, but this girl, he is sure, will change everything.

As is popular these days, this is one of those cutesy small town books with characters named things like Teeny and Bee Bee. The small town of Royal, Indiana could easily be set in the 1960s with children riding their bikes long distances (without the police being called) and hair salons shaped like bee hives. However, unlike other books with the same conceit, Honey felt a bit more realistic even if a bit old-fashioned.

Melody is a very interesting and fun character and there is a lot packed into this small book. Melody is not your girly girly, although her younger neighbor Teeny is. She isn't the kind of girl who does her hair (she has been cutting her own for years) nor is she the kind of girl who paints her fingernails. Which is why her visiting the Bee Hive, a new nail and hair salon in town, is a big deal. Also, Melody is enamoured with the idea of having a mother. The connection to her own mother is so slight, especially since her father never talks about her, so Melody has a bit of a mother vacuum in her life. The secondary characters are less drawn out, but with only 160 pages, I don't think that would have been feasible and convincing.

The mystery, if it can be called that, is rather transparent, but it didn't lesson the emotional impact in the end. I may have even teared up a bit over the inevitable reunion of two characters. All in all, a well-drawn bridger book about family, belonging, need, and misunderstandings that it both sticky and sweet.