The Language of Cherries – Jen Marie Hawkins
When Evie Perez is cut off from everything she loves and forced to move to Iceland for the summer, she takes her canvas and paintbrushes into the picturesque cherry orchard behind her guesthouse. She stains her lips with stolen cherries in the midnight sun and paints a boy she’s never met.
Oskar is startled to discover Evie in his family’s orchard, and even more surprised to see himself on her canvas. Too ashamed to reveal his stutter, he remains silent as Evie returns day after day to paint, spilling confessions she wouldn’t even tell her priest.
As Evie’s life back home unravels, Oskar wants to comfort her with words, but he knows he’s waited too long, so he uses music instead. But when it all comes to the surface, he knows that if Evie can’t forgive him for lying, he may never forgive himself for surviving.
Synopsis from Goodreads
Of course, a week after I say that I don’t really enjoy many romance books I read one that blows me away. I think I need to amend my previous statement: I do not tend to enjoy cliched, cheesy romance novels. What can I say, I love deep books that make me think, but I also love love. If a book both captivates my imagination, makes me think, and contains a love story that makes me swoon, then it is likely to tick all my boxes. Bonus points if there are magical or mystical elements. The Language of Cherries by Jen Marie Hawkins ticks every single one of these boxes.
Since I seem to be all for controversial opinions at the moment, here is another one: I am not the biggest fan of young adult fiction. Before you stop reading or wonder what’s wrong with me, I feel that I should explain a bit more. When I was a teenager I loved young adult fiction. It is pretty much all I read. However, as I’ve grown older, my tastes have changed. Now that I am approaching my thirties (yikes), I find that I tend to not relate as well to the characters in young adult novels, which means that I then do not enjoy these stories as much as other books. Young adult fiction will always have a special place in my heart, and it is something that I continue to read sporadically because sometimes there are some true gems. The Language of Cherries is one of them.
While the main characters in this book are more than ten years younger than me, I still found myself relating to their struggles on a personal level. My heart poured out for Evie and Oskar, and I was rooting for them throughout. I was captivated by their stories from the very first page. The Language of Cherries is one of those young adult books that transcends generations.
One of my favourite aspects of The Language of Cherries is the slightly mystical element. This book is by no means a fantasy, but there are some mythical elements concerning Druids. And of course, my favourite part of this book was the romance between Evie and Oskar. I did not want to put this book down until the very end. The journey and relationship between these two characters is one of the most touching and emotionally captivating love stories that I have ever read. I do not want to spoil anything, because I hope that everyone who is interested goes out buys a copy of this book. The Language of Cherries is one of those books that deserves more recognition. I already cannot wait to see what Hawkins does next.