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Thank you to Carol Riggs for providing me with a copy for an honest review!
As a young child, Juniper crossed the boundary between human and ogre lands. But instead of eating her an ogress took her into their home and raised her as an ogre. But Juniper has always wondered about the humans on the other side. A pact of peace forbids the two races from crossing over into each other’s lands. The only exception is when the ogres are allowed to collect their tribute from the humans. When Juniper finally has a chance to bring the tribute back from the human lands, she meets a boy named Nolan. And as her curiosity with both Nolan and the human lands increases, she’ll find her world turned upside down.
The Orange Tree is a retelling of the fairy tale, The Bee and The Orange Tree. And it is chock full of lessons wrapped up in imaginative storytelling. Juniper is a girl who cares deeply for her ogre kin, even if they don’t always see eye to eye. And you can’t help but feel her frustration when the ogres don’t listen to her wants and needs. It’s hard for them to see beyond their own beliefs and understand that Juniper isn’t weak and helpless. Is she smaller than them? Yes, but she has a sharp mind and a kind heart. Put the two together and you have a character who will do just about anything to protect those she cares about. Even if it’s at the cost of her safety.
Living among the ogres, Juniper has learned to not judge people by their appearances and to understand why people act a certain way. But not everyone can have such a wide-eyed view of the world. And as Juniper’s two worlds begin to collide, she will find out how disastrous assumptions can be. Misunderstanding is one of the central themes throughout The Orange Tree. As the story develops and Juniper tries to bridge the gap between ogre and human communication, she learns some people will never change. They will hold on to their deep seeded hatred, unable to forgive the sins of the past.
Another lesson to be learned while reading this novel is how complex and tricky lies can become. When Nolan is trapped in ogre territory Juniper has a choice. Tell the truth and let him be eaten or hide him away for his safety. You can’t fault Juniper for lying to save Nolan’s life. But as she will soon realize, if you build on your lies and continue to spread them, it will lead to horrible results.
The Orange Tree is a fun read filled with great lessons for young adults. With a combination of admirable characters, artful storytelling, and a touch of romance, you’ll be sure to enjoy every minute of it.
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