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mixed feelings

The Girl and the Grove - Eric  Smith

Leila hears voices in her head and taking deep breaths and focusing on what is real around her , a routine she’d been running through all her life, one she and Sarika had developed together at the group home when the voices came.  And the voices pulled back into the depths of her mind, as they always did. Leila had been adopted by her foster parents Jon and Lisabeth. No other family had treated her this way, they didn’t fuss over her like she was someone …. different. Asking stupid questions like how to wash her hair or freaking out every time the seasons changed. The group home had been honest about her seasonal affective disorder and every other foster family had pushed and pressed Leila about it. They let her take her meds on her own and since she was the only child there was no questions about her therapeutic light box. For years Jon had been a corporate lawyer but now he had a new camera and he had a new career as an environmental journalist and it suited him better, even if he wasn’t exactly great of taking care of anything green around him. Jon wrote for news outlets such as: Slate, Farm And Agriculture, The New York Times, and Grid. he also taught part time at St. Joseph’s university in their small environmental department.Leila and Jon shared their interest/love of nature and the environment.The voices were weak and muttering when out here in the in the suburbs of the city. The group home had been big with a lot of rooms but this house - her home was narrow yet somehow cozy. Here it was hard for Leila not to see her new parents at all times or bumping into one of them when turning a corner or not hear them talk when she was in her room.It was strangely comforting, nice even. Leila could not use the words mom and dad everything was to new and she was afraid they would yet send her back she wasn’t sure if they could do that since they had adopted her but she couldn’t take any chances. She knows how much Jon and Lisbett wanted to hear the words she would try harder though to be more bending wwith them. Since the storm two weeks ago the voices had taken on a new tone with a hint of something strange that Leila couldn’t quite figure out. The voices came and went with the seasons. They faded and disappeared in the winter and rampaged back loud in the spring. Sarika worked in Adam’s  cafe as a barista . then a cute boy named Shawn was putting up fliers. He said hey to Leila and told her he’d see her around. Sarika came running over from behind the counter she had been working at and shreiking she said that cute boy had totally been checking out Leila. The Sarika went back to work and Leila checked out one of the fliers the boy had put up -it was for the Belmont Environmental Activism Club - B E A C- any high school student could join. It was starting on Wednesday at three. Leila grabbed a flier. Sarika came back out and again startled Leia as as she asked Leila what the flier was about. For whatever reasons the voices decided to be particularly loud this morning and over the past two days since hanging out with Sarika at Adam’s Cafe and going through the motions at Summer Enrichment at Belmont they suddenly became clearer. Leila could tell Shawn was into her the way he stared at her across the room and the awkward way he said goodbye at the end of the meeting. But Leila wondered about Shawn he had been going out with Jessica the leader of the three girls who had been bullying Sarika and Sarika ghad even fought with Jessica and made her nose bleed that she had never told Leila about and just told Leial she couldn’t protect everyone. Shawn asked Leila to meet him and go for a bike ride together Sunday and some lunch and Leila agreed. The voices had come when Leila when Leila had been rapidly pedaled away from Shawn and his intrusive questions and the disaster of a date. Leila had seen a young man with owl trying to get it to fly but then Leila flew over her handlebars as she jammed on her breaks. Leila ended up with a cut on her head and a mild concussion. The voices had told Leila the man and the owl were the one that could help them and her. Apparently they were in trouble but what had the voices done for Leila but distract her, scare her, and make Leila feel crazy? They had given her a dark secret Leila had to hide from everyone but Sarika. A grove is to be destroyed as well as an old mansion that was in the middle of the park. Leila does listen to the voices that have gotten clear now and goes to Landan and tells him everything he said she should get help about the voices but he will help her as much as he can with everything else.

I had mixed feelings about this book. I felt this was technically an easy read yet at times I got confused. This had a lot going on in it. I loved how the author addressed how Leila and Sarika felt and what they went through being in foster care so long and the group home, the back and forth they had experienced and they shattered hope every time they returned to the group home. I also loved how the author described how Leila as well as ehr new parents felt and what they went through being the adopted and parents of a special care needed to be taken with Liela - but ever patient and loving toward Leila. I thought this could be realistic in these aspects. I liked that the author also addressed prejudices and racism. I  really liked the enthusiasm stressed on the environment and progress wanting to destroy trees and parks etc. This did drag for me at times then after a certain part of the book it kinda felt rushed. I liked the dryads part and wished that had had been gone further into. I did love how close Sarika and Leila were and for a long time. I was also happy Landan was willing to help Leila as much as he could. As I said i Had mixed feelings on this book.