I received this book for free from Little Brown Books for Young Readers and TBR & Beyond Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.The Secret Garden on 81st Street by Ivy Noelle Weir
on October 19, 2021
Genres: Juvenile Fiction / Classics, Juvenile Fiction / Comics & Graphic Novels / Classic Adaptation, Juvenile Fiction / Diversity & Multicultural, Juvenile Fiction / Family / Alternative Family
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Little Brown Books for Young Readers and TBR & Beyond Book Tours
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Bookshop
The Secret Garden with a twist: in this follow-up to Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, this full-color graphic novel moves Mary Lennox to a New York City brownstone, where she and her very first group of friends restore an abandoned rooftop garden...and her uncle's heart.
Mary Lennox is a loner living in Silicon Valley. With her parents always working, video game and tech become her main source of entertainment and "friends." When her parents pass away in a tragic accident, she moves to New York City to live with her uncle who she barely knows, and to her surprise, keeps a gadget free home. Looking for comfort in this strange, new reality, Mary discovers an abandoned rooftop garden and an even bigger secret...her cousin who suffers from anxiety. With the help of her new friends, Colin and Dickon, Mary works to restore the garden to its former glory while also learning to grieve, build real friendships, and grow.
This title will be simultaneously available in paperback.
I am happy to be hosting a spot on the The Secret Garden on 81st Street by Ivy Noelle Weir with illustrations by Amber Padilla Blog Tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. Check out my post for my review and favorite quotes from the book.
The Secret Garden on 81st Street by Ivy Noelle Weir is a cute, modern retelling of the classic The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
I read the original as a child and I was fan of the movie too. So I’m familiar with the story. Most names and the general essence of the original story remain the same, but there are refreshing changes that make this graphic novel its own unique story about grief, family and healing.
In this new version, there is added diversity and some names given to Colin’s issues that were left as mysterious health issues in the original. Mary is a child who was basically babysat by electronics. It’s difficult for her to understand family and friendships because she has been so immersed in technology as a substitute for everything. Dickon is still a chill kid with a green thumb who becomes Mary’s friend. Colin is still a recluse, but he now has a diagnosis called a panic disorder connected to his dad, Masahiro’s sudden death. Colin also has two dads, one of them being Mary’s uncle Archie.
Dealing with grief
I liked how the book addresses several different ways the characters are handling their grief. Each one processes and reacts differently to the death of a loved one. Each character has an understanding of what they feel, but during the story they are on a journey of healing and trying to accept those feelings while being open to the next stage in the grief process.
I think both adults and children will love this book. As an educator, I can see benefits to kids who have suffered the loss of a parent of loved one reading this as a means of exploring their own grief and finding comfort in the process. But most importantly knowing that they will heal. It would be a nice buddy read with a parent and child too.
NYC for the Win!
This is also a neat book to read with a child who has just moved to New York City or will be doing a visit or extended stay. Mary is pushed to explore her surroundings in the city from Central Park to museums to the local bodega. I thought it was a nice touch.
Loved it! I really loved the artwork in this graphic novel. I thought there was a nice diverseness to how the characters were drawn from race to body type to hair styles.
Top 5 Quotes from the Book
TOP 5 Quotes
“I know you’re feeling a lot of grief right now, no matter if you say otherwise. And when you lose someone, you often feel angry. But you need to be careful. Anger’s easy to hold on to and even easier to use to drive people away.”- Mrs. Medlock
“I just am not a fan of that word. Who’s to say what’s normal? We are who we are, and to be honest, I think all three of us are a bunch of weirdos.” – Dickon
“For so long, I only thought of the bad things. I only thought about losing my dad. I forgot about the parts of him that are still here. Like the garden.” – Colin
“When it seems like everything is dead, buried, and cold, things can still find a way to come to life.”
When the rain comes, it might set us back a bit, but ultimately, it helps us be stronger.”
About the Author:
Ivy Noelle Weir is a writer of comics and prose. She is the co-creator of the Dwayne McDuffie Award-winning graphic novel Archival Quality (Oni Press), the upcoming The Secret Garden on 81st Street (Little, Brown for Young Readers), and her writing has appeared in anthologies such as Princeless: Girls Rock (Action Lab Entertainment) and Dead Beats (A Wave Blue World). She lives in the greater Boston area with her husband and their two tiny, weird dogs.