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Mad Honey Bets On...

Mad Honey

November 2022

MAD HONEY had its origins in a very different way. In 2017, Jennifer Finney Boylan had a dream that she wrote a book with Jodi Picoult, and she tweeted about it. Jodi got wind of this and said, “Let’s do it.” Previously her only co-writer was her daughter, Samantha van Leer. What Jodi and Jennifer created together is a novel that takes on an issue as Jodi’s books are wont to do. At the same time, it blends in experiences that Jennifer knows all too well as she is transgender. 

Told in alternating narratives, we get to know these characters, yet we do not see from the start exactly how they will impact one another.

Asher and his mother, Olivia, have moved back to her hometown after her husband turned their marriage into shambles. Not only is she in the same house she grew up in, she has taken over her father’s beekeeping business. Cue here a lot of details about beekeeping and harvesting honey, neither of which I knew much about beyond the netting and bonnets one wears when nearing the bees. But they are not the only people starting over. Lily and her mom also have relocated to New Hampshire, looking for a fresh start.

Asher and Lily become fast friends, and then more. Until one day when Olivia gets a startling call. Lily is dead, and Asher is the prime suspect in her murder. She quickly rallies to her son’s defense, but wonders about the violent side of him that she has seen strokes of --- the same ones that had her running back home when she was the victim of this behavior from her husband. The trial brings new evidence to light and from there comes more questions.

MAD HONEY is the kind of book that had me craving a few more pages. Another chapter please. The pacing and storyline are seamless, so I am not sure which parts either author wrote. Some portions of the novel gave me pause as I tried to picture myself in these situations. It would make for a terrific book group discussion!

Mad Honey
by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

  • Publication Date: October 4, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 1984818384
  • ISBN-13: 9781984818386