Book Review: Tupelo Honey

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Tupelo Honey is an Independent Press Award-winning young adult book written by Lis-Anna Langston. The primary setting is Alabama, but we also catch glances of locations like Mexico and California too. We journey with Tupelo through time and across the country. We grow as she grows. We get to relish her joy and lament her pain. Tupelo Honey transports you from your reality to Tupelo’s side, wherever she may be. Read on to see my full book review. 

Book Review: My Thoughts as I Read the Book

Never judge a book by its first few pages. I’ll be honest, when I first started reading the book, I wasn’t sure I would like it. Even the name left me wondering. I read the first few pages and pondered whether or not it was going to be a cliched story about a fatherless child. I told myself I would suspend my judgment and give the story a chance to unfold. The writing itself was colorful and engaging. It felt like real life, not a made-up storybook land that so many authors try to craft. As I read on, I grew fond of Tupelo and her struggles. 

Throughout the book, I was challenged to put aside my judgment, whether it be for a character or situation that didn’t seem to follow any life path most of us would find normal. There were many times I could feel myself changing. More often than not, I felt sorry for Tupelo. I wondered why she couldn’t catch a break. I was mad at her family for not being what she needed. I was frustrated that everything good always seemed to come to a horrible end.

The book is far from being all negative. You get to see a bright, vibrant, and adaptable girl grow up. You see her cope, problem solve, laugh, and experience things for the first time. So often, I found myself willing even when things didn’t go as planned. This book truly teaches you to find the good in everything.

One subject the book approaches is mental health. We see its many sides and faces. We see how it can affect the afflicted but also those around them. We see it through childlike wandering eyes, not knowing life could be any other way. I feel there are so many layers to this book and I’ve only just scratched the surface. 

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About the Author

Lis Anna-Langston is a children’s writer from Mississippi with quite a few awards under her belt. She won a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and a Parent’s Choice Gold for Tupelo Honey, She’s also a Literary Classics Gold winner and Dante Rossetti First Place Award winner for YA Fiction. In addition, she’s been in more than 40 publications and the nominee for various other awards. Anna-Langston had a unique childhood, and in her own words descends from both Cherokee and drug dealers.

The Verdict – How I Rate the Book

My verdict? I think this is an A+ book. Tupelo Honey may be a young adult book but is engaging and enough to keep the adult reader interested as well. Langston’s portrayal of characters adds the truly human to her story.

By the end of the book, I felt like Tupelo and I were friends. I was sad that there was no more, but happy that her story ended in a much better place than it began. One of the things I liked the most about this book is that it’s real, not some story you say, “yeah right, only in books.” I think all kids can identify with something in this book. They’ll feel it’s genuineness and it’s sincerity.

I vote it a must-read for adults & children alike!

To read other book reviews, check out these posts.

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