Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Monday, January 7, 2013

Review: The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell

Publisher: Harper
Published: 2013
Source: Blog Tour (Publisher)
Rating: 5/5


Marnie and her little sister have a big secret that they must keep hidden, their parents are buried in the back yard. Fifteen year-old Marnie vows to not go back into foster care. Marnie will be considered an adult in one year, all they have to do is keep it together until then. The girls tell everyone that they irresponsible parents are on a trip, and they aren’t sure when they will be back. In the meantime, their next door neighbor Lennie helps them out. The girls begin to worry when Lennie’s dog begins digging around the backyard and finds a few bones. It doesn’t take long before authorities begin asking questions. A man claiming to be their grandfather is also making their lives difficult.


The Death of Bees was much darker than I expected, but I loved the book and couldn’t put it down. It’s impossible not to care about Marnie and Nelly when you close the book. These girls have gone through a lot; their parents were not the best and never put them first. This makes it very easy for acquaintances to believe their initial story. They don’t really miss them, just the idea of who they were and what they represented. Marnie is rebellious and doesn’t always make the best decisions but it’s undeniable that she does love her sister.

O’Donnell’s character development was phenomenal. At times I thought the language was a little harsh, but it didn’t really bother me too much. The relationship between Marnie and Nelly was very much a regular sister relationship, but their secret is always on their mind. It’s incredible that they were so trusting of one another. When Lennie begins to be more involved, and it becomes clear that he is not their happily-ever-after, I was really worried about girls and had no idea how they would stay together.

I highly recommend this one. I thought the writing was incredible and the story line was unique and original. Marnie and Nelly struggle with food, shelter, and school. Various people are looking for their parents, and they must stall them. I’m really glad I read this one. It was a great start to 2013 advanced reading.


  1. Always nice to start a year with a great read. Glad you loved this one!

  2. I didn't enjoy it as much as you.

    My review is up on January 30...hope you can stop by.

    Silver's Reviews

  3. Sounds like a very unique storyline!

  4. Glad you liked it Mrs Q. Hope you like the second one which is out july 13th. If your bloggers have any questions at all I'm happy to answer them.

  5. Wow, I'm so glad to see this is great! I can't wait to read it now!

  6. I've seen this all over the blogosphere. Great review. I'm really curious about it.
    2 Kids and Tired Books

  7. I had this one my list already, but your review makes me want to move it up further and make it a priority! It does sound really dark, but I do like that sometimes. I had tried to get this one on audio from the library, but it wasn't available. Guess I am just going to have to go out and buy it! Excellent and very enthralling review today!

  8. Ooooo this one had me at the first sentence. I might need to get it. Thanks for the great review.

  9. Being seeing this one around a lot and have head nothing but good things. Your review has me even more excited to pick this one up!

  10. Yes, the story line is unique. Parents buried in their back yard! That's creepy and mysterious at the same time.

  11. You definitely have me intrigued with this one. It sounds like a really unique storyline. Dead parents in the backyard? Crrrrrrreepy!

  12. I have this one on my shelf to review. Now I can't wait to read it! Sounds like a good one for these dark, winter months.

  13. I'm so fascinated by these sisters and their experiences, especially considering all the great things I'm hearing about the book. Glad you enjoyed this one!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  14. I read this solely because it came in my Powell's Indispensable box and was pretty surprised how much I liked it considering all of the Not Happy things in it. Captivating and well done.

    Arnel Sweizz (Seattle Divorce Lawyer)

  15. Great read...surprised me..basic description doesn't do it justice. This was a thoroughly enjoyable story. I really came to care about the characters.

    Maycee Greene (San Antonio Local SEO)