The Language of Cherries
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.

The Language of Cherries Details

TitleThe Language of Cherries
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 11th, 2020
PublisherOwl Hollow Press
ISBN-139781945654459
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Magical Realism

The Language of Cherries Review

  • Emer (A Little Haze)
    January 1, 1970
    The Language of Cherries is a very quiet YA contemporary with a strong mystical aspect. It is written in a lyrical fashion and takes its time to fully reveal the depth of emotion that it covers. And by that I mean it's a very slow burn read... A little too slow burn for me with that first 40% or so... But then the book took off. And I suddenly found I was incredibly invested in the storyline of these two young people. The book follows Evie who moves to Iceland one summer with her father. Evie is The Language of Cherries is a very quiet YA contemporary with a strong mystical aspect. It is written in a lyrical fashion and takes its time to fully reveal the depth of emotion that it covers. And by that I mean it's a very slow burn read... A little too slow burn for me with that first 40% or so... But then the book took off. And I suddenly found I was incredibly invested in the storyline of these two young people. The book follows Evie who moves to Iceland one summer with her father. Evie is distraught by this move as it has separated her from her grandmother who her father has now placed in a retirement care facility back in the USA. Iceland is quiet. And made even more so by her father's long days and absences due to his work. And in this quiet Evie's upset festers and she rebels against her father... But also during this summer she meets a boy in a cherry tree orchard. There's something magical about both the orchard and the boy. The boy, Oskar, is silent.... Unbeknownst to Evie, Oskar has a strong stutter and is also grieving for his family. Evie thinks he can't speak English and doesn't understand her and believes that their communication occurs on a deeper level... Slowly their lives become so intertwined that love blossoms through Evie's magical paintings. Because after eating from the mystical aisling cherry tree, Evie somehow begins to paint Oskar's life. She paints people that she has never seen before but are in fact his deceased family members...As I said this is an incredibly slow burn read... Which admittedly irked me at times. Because I found myself getting quite frustrated by Oskar in particular and how he persisted with his lie that he couldn't speak or understand English. The longer the charade carried on the more I distrusted him and rooted against him and Evie being together... Because she shared all of her thoughts and feelings with him because she thought he didn't understand her. So for me there was a huge betrayal of trust that I don't think was ever fully acknowledged. I did however like the ending and how the author managed to show the connection that these two characters shared was indeed mutual and authentic. Another thing I liked was how the book was structured using alternate perspectives. One chapter would follow Evie's perspective and was written in a typical narrative fashion and then the next chapter would be from Oskar's perspective in the form of his journal writings which were a form of verse poetry. It helped to create an environment for being empathetic towards both characters. In particular with Oskar and allowing the reader to understand his fears surrounding revealing his truth to Evie.If you like slow burn romance novels with a dusting of magical realism then I would happily recommend this ya contemporary. Three and a half to four stars. *An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review* For more reviews and book related chat check out my blog
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  • Jasmine
    January 1, 1970
    ***Actual Rating: 5++++++/5 Cherry-on-Top Stars*** Maybe some people were meant to come into your life, but maybe they werent meant to stay. Id like to start this review by saying that its been forever since I last experienced something so incredibly heartfelt, unbelievably touching, and extremely emotional by reading a book. In fact, I was stunned speechless by this earth-shattering piece of story so much that I came up with a short playlist 100% inspired by Evie and Oskars, the ***Actual Rating: 5++++++/5 Cherry-on-Top Stars*** Maybe some people were meant to come into your life, but maybe they weren’t meant to stay. I’d like to start this review by saying that it’s been forever since I last experienced something so incredibly heartfelt, unbelievably touching, and extremely emotional by reading a book. In fact, I was stunned speechless by this earth-shattering piece of story so much that I came up with a short playlist 100% inspired by Evie and Oskar’s, the protagonists’, tales of cherries; thus, I hope you’ll enjoy this book, my review, and my song choices as much as I like putting them together. 🙂Long story short, the journey of The Language of Cherries began when Evie Perez, a Cuban-American teenage girl residing in Florida, was sent to Iceland to live with her estranged father for her summer vacation since she chose not to stay with her terrible mother in New York. As an aspiring artist, Evie discovered a beautiful cherry orchard right next to her dad’s house, which served as a perfect inspiration for her right when she needed it most. A cluster of cherries hung from a branch at eye-level, as if the tree reached out to hand them to her. The delicate ruby bulbs glistened as they touched her fingertips. She plucked a few and took them back to her spot by the fencepost, rolling one between her thumb and forefinger. The fragrance squeezed moisture into her mouth. She plopped one past her lips as she sank to the earth and set her tabletop easel on the ground. Silky flesh separated under her teeth, and the pulpy middle melted on her tongue, perfectly ripe and alive with possibility. She discarded the pit on the ground next to her. As she chewed the next two and propped her sketchbook against the fencepost, her dream’s details materialized in fragments. Yummm! Since when did cherries–such an ordinary fruit–become so deliciously powerful? Little did she know the cherry tree she randomly sat under was…a little different from others. According to Evie, aside from its juicier, riper, and plumper cherries, the fruit itself possessed the magic power of materializing dreams. After having a little taste of a few stolen cherries, Evie’s paintings came to life as if some invisible forces wielded her paintbrushes mysteriously. It was the only thing in her painting she didn’t have the advantage of glancing up to reference, because it huddled only within the confines of her subconscious–an abstract place she could only reach with a paintbrush. Slow and patient, stroke by stroke, it became a boy. Enter Oskar Eriksson, a handsome 17-year-old Icelandic guy who owned the orchard with his aunt but secretly battled against his stammer. And by “battling” against, it was more of “escaping” from reality when all Oskar did was keep his thoughts in his English, poetry-formed journal while pretending he didn’t understand the beautiful language, a.k.a. the one Evie spoke in. “Don’t look so miserable,” Evie grumbled as she breezed out the door past him, bucket in one hand, translation dictionary in the other. See, they were easily one of my top favorite OTPs (one true pairings) thanks to all the swoon-worthy yet hilarious moments. I honestly LIVED for Evie and Oskar’s ridiculous encounters and cute banters. “Please just kiss me this time,” she whispered. “I’m so tired of waiting. And hurry, before I bail.” All right, before I was carried away by their adorableness, I’d like to talk about how this book had had such an incredibly positive impact on me and what I loved most about it. Since this book is partly composed of *ahem* “journals full of bad poetry, unfinished songs, and scattered thoughts of a sad guy who lost everyone he ever loved” (Oskar’s words, not mine), I really loved the lyrical literary notes as well as Evie’s unfiltered inner thoughts throughout the story.In case you’re wondering, this book was told from both Evie and Oskar’s perspectives, which was undeniably a brilliant arrangement to make everything clear for the readers. The light-hearted tone of the narratives really brought out the best of Evie’s down-to-earth personality and Oskar’s overall broody-yet-caring-enough vibe. I stand paralyzed beneath the acupuncture of vivid recollection. To my astonishment, Evie’s paintings and her insatiable desire for cherries from that special tree may have something to do with Oskar’s traumatic experience and that’s all I’m telling you right now. *wink* Aside from the non-spoilery teaser above, I also appreciated the truth in these tales of cherries. The author somehow flawlessly elevated the essence of such a fictional, Nordic folklore regarding Oskar’s family roots as the one and only cherry orchard owner in Iceland, and brought life to Evie’s paintings inspired by the cherries-infused dreams. She questioned if I’m a druid. For once, I wish I was. So I could track down a spell to turn back time. And start over. In short, The Language of Cherries was a book about friends, family, relationship, first love, and most imperative of all, forgiveness. The depth of these concepts was splendidly presented by Evie and Oskar’s way of story-telling, and I found myself gravitate towards their self-exploratory journey right after jumping on board of this wild, memorable cruise full of diverse cultural backgrounds. As much as I’d love to better represent the general idea of this book, I know no words can do justice to this beautifully written masterpiece.Therefore, I decided to share my mini playlist inspired by this book with you and hopefully, you’ll give Evie and Oskar’s “Aisling” cherries a taste. To put it differently, this book wasn’t just one that’d stay with me for a long time; I would artfully weave the amazing experience and lessons into my own life in reality as well. After all, just as Oskar quoted from Bob Marley, “You just got to find the ones (the people) worth suffering for,” and this book I’m holding right now, is a story worth fulfilling.Lastly, needless to say, The Language of Cherries is a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED read from me and I’m certain you’ll feel the contagious happiness, sense of achievement, and self-betterment at the end of the story.***Thanks to the author and Owl Hollow Press for providing an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***~~~~~~~~~~ Exclusive Playlist ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~1. Imagine Dragons-Bad Liar2. Calum Scott-You Are The Reason3. Lost Frequencies-Reality4. Julia Michaels-Hurt Again5. Kodaline-Wherever You Are6. SHY Martin-Make Us Never Happen7. Lennon Stella-Kissing Other People*This playlist is inspired solely by The Language of Cherries and created by Jasmine @jassimplyreads (Instagram)/ Life of a Simple Reader (WordPress).*
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  • Elly
    January 1, 1970
    The Language of Cherries is unlike anything I've ever read. I immediately fell in love with the premise, the characters, and the Icelandic setting. Richly textured with a mixture of crisp prose and poignant verse, it's the kind of book you read in one sitting, and then you read it again to savor. A brilliant gem of a book about how the heart needs no translator.
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  • Michele
    January 1, 1970
    5 "All the Cherries" Stars I had no idea I would fall in love with this book quite so much. The Language of Cherries definitely stole my heart and I couldn't be happier. First of all, it is set in Iceland - which in itself thrilled me. I don't know that I've read anything set there before. Secondly, it had an air of mysticism without being a full out paranormal story...I also ate that up like it was candy. There was a very wounded hero, Oskar, who was much beloved by his aunt (she happened to 5 "All the Cherries" Stars I had no idea I would fall in love with this book quite so much. The Language of Cherries definitely stole my heart and I couldn't be happier. First of all, it is set in Iceland - which in itself thrilled me. I don't know that I've read anything set there before. Secondly, it had an air of mysticism without being a full out paranormal story...I also ate that up like it was candy. There was a very wounded hero, Oskar, who was much beloved by his aunt (she happened to be from Scotland) - - bonus points!! Evie, our heroine, is fighting her own battles but she will grow up and find her strength during this story. Lastly, there are cherries....and a farmer's market...and I could go on...Seriously, this book is lyrical and poetic. It blends the past and present beautifully - - in a way that helps you understand the characters' feelings and emotions. Oskar has dealt with an extreme trauma and is having difficulty moving forward. He doesn't talk to Evie through much of the book. Yet they fall deeply in love. Evie uses her ability to paint to escape. She is in Iceland with her father but it's temporary. When she returns home, she will have to move from her old home in Florida and leave behind her school, friends and her grandmother (who she is extremely close to). Evie is working through the bitterness she has for her parents for making her leave everything she loves behind. I'm not even sure how the author does it but the way she leads these two characters to find one another is quite perfect. They don't make sense together. Yet, once they are together, they don't make sense apart. I apologize for all of my ramblings but I simply adore this book. The words written inside are truly beautiful and spoke to my soul...."Maybe some people were meant to come into your life, but maybe they weren’t meant to stay."Thank you to NetGalley, Owl Hollow Press and the author for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Hafsah Hussain
    January 1, 1970
    5 Stars ☆☆☆☆☆"Music is my only refuge, because when I sing, my strings arent broken."Where do I even start? This book was perfect, it contained everything one would want in a contemporary. The whimsical writing style, the Icelandic setting and just the whole plot was spectacular. This is the kind of book you read in a day, and then immediately reread when you've finished because it was just lovely 😂❤  Things I Loved: The writing style! Jen Marie Hawkins has a beautiful way with words, it's the 5 Stars ☆☆☆☆☆"Music is my only refuge, because when I sing, my strings aren’t broken."Where do I even start? This book was perfect, it contained everything one would want in a contemporary. The whimsical writing style, the Icelandic setting and just the whole plot was spectacular. This is the kind of book you read in a day, and then immediately reread when you've finished because it was just lovely 😂❤  Things I Loved: • The writing style! Jen Marie Hawkins has a beautiful way with words, it's the kind of poetic and enthralling writing style that makes you want to savour and hold onto every word.• For me, romance in books is very hit or miss, and this was definitely a hit. I often found myself laughing, squealing and shouting (in a good way 😂) at the INTENSE attraction between Evie and Oskar. I think the romance was beautiful, and portrayed flawlessly ❤• The characters were completely fleshed out and so humane and relatable, it's unbelievable. The author has a rare ability to allow us to feel every emotion the characters were feeling. I cried with Oskar, and laughed with Evie... it's just everything 💕There wasn't anything I disliked, and I do think this book was an amazing read. I cannot wait to get my hands on a physical copy! If you like contemporary books with hints of Magical Realism and beautiful, poetic writing as well as a romance that'll make you laugh, and cry and 'Aww' multiple times then definitely give this a go 😁
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  • jules
    January 1, 1970
    I just want to tug myself in bed and cry for the rest of the day. ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
  • Thelma
    January 1, 1970
    What a wonderful and magical experience!!!! The Language of Cherries is a story that will make you feel everything in a very powerful way, a story that will make you feel alive and even wants to start paying attention more and more to those details we usually don't stop to look around.The Language of Cherries is the story of Evie a teenage girl who was feeling very lost in her life. she felt alone, her parents were very consumed with life problems and egoisms that she really didn't understand What a wonderful and magical experience!!!! The Language of Cherries is a story that will make you feel everything in a very powerful way, a story that will make you feel alive and even wants to start paying attention more and more to those details we usually don't stop to look around.The Language of Cherries is the story of Evie a teenage girl who was feeling very lost in her life. she felt alone, her parents were very consumed with life problems and egoisms that she really didn't understand making her feel even more like she didn't belong, she only felt safe with her Abuela the only person in this world who truly saw her from who she was.. until life happened and everything she ever knew started to change, making her finally see and feel for the first time.Oskar lost so much when he was just a boy, he feels like nothing is going to be the same, and lives his life secluded from the world just keeping himself busy with house chores to forget. but everything happened for a reason and life is about to show him all the magic he has been missing.Oskar and Evie's story allows us to live and grow with the characters as the story continues to evolve, the secondary characters are amazing as well giving so much depth to the main characters. I really love Agnes, she was always a beacon of light between Oskar and Evie..I really don't have enough words how much I loved this book, it is hard to translate my feelings but is a story that gives you so much hope, that makes you believe in second chances, in magic and that there's still good people in this world.Overall it was a magnificent story I'm looking forward to spreading the love of this book and read more books by Jen Marie, Thank you for the magic.
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  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    Received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for a fair reviewThe Language of Cherries, by Jen Marie Hawkins (Owl Hollow Press), is a sweet, passionate romance between two young, lovable characters, Oskar and Evie. Its an easy, light read, but also touching some dark themes with a bit of a paranormal twist.Written in a lyrical, evocative prose that suits the subject and also matches the ethereal, supernatural beauty of Icelands landscape, the aurora borealis, druids and cherry orchards, the story Received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for a fair review“The Language of Cherries”, by Jen Marie Hawkins (Owl Hollow Press), is a sweet, passionate romance between two young, lovable characters, Oskar and Evie. It’s an easy, light read, but also touching some dark themes with a bit of a paranormal twist.Written in a lyrical, evocative prose that suits the subject and also matches the ethereal, supernatural beauty of Iceland’s landscape, the aurora borealis, druids and cherry orchards, the story features a yummy hero, who suffers from an endearing stutter, and an incredibly affectionate and giving heroine. Both are artists and the author’s take on the creative process is very interesting.I thought the issue Oskar was hiding took too long do reveal, yet I liked that there was no drama about it in the end. Some parts made me laugh, others I found heart-wrenching and poignant, but, all in all, this is an enjoyable tale about young love, handling themes of family, loss and grief and caring for ageing beloved ones, too.
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  • Caroline Bertaud
    January 1, 1970
    From the first few pages, I knew that I was going to like this book. Turns out I loved it. It's not lyrical, per se, or maybe it is, but more so in the storytelling than the prose itself, which is fresh and well-versed. The Language of Cherries is filled with magical elements I'm not particularly keen on, but it features a whole set of characters, all more lovable than the next, and beautiful Icelandic settings. Its a solid and impressive debut novel. I look forward to reading more from this From the first few pages, I knew that I was going to like this book. Turns out I loved it. It's not lyrical, per se, or maybe it is, but more so in the storytelling than the prose itself, which is fresh and well-versed. The Language of Cherries is filled with magical elements I'm not particularly keen on, but it features a whole set of characters, all more lovable than the next, and beautiful Icelandic settings. It’s a solid and impressive debut novel. I look forward to reading more from this writer.Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Mary Ann Marlowe
    January 1, 1970
    This beautiful book gave me all the feels. The writing is seductive, and the Icelandic setting is stunning. I fell in love with all the incredible characters, but especially Oskar whose narrative comes through his poetry as he's more comfortable writing than speaking, and what he writes is so emotionally evocative, it so often brought me to tears, in the very best way. I just love this book so much, and can't recommend it enough.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    There are not enough words to express how much I loved this book. From the writing, to the characters, to the hints of magic that stuck with me long after the last page, it was perfection. I am beyond lucky to have read an early copy, but I can't wait to hold the real, live book in my hands. I envy everyone reading it for the first time.
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  • Anna Birch
    January 1, 1970
    I read an early version of this book, and I am SO EXCITED to finally hold a copy in my hands! Jen's writing is breathtaking, and this story broke my heart in all the best ways. I can't wait to write a proper review when CHERRIES is released!
  • Jenna
    January 1, 1970
    This was a book I couldn't put down. I didn't think twice when I first downloaded it, but I really enjoyed this one. It's a poetic, moving book in a setting of Iceland which I haven't read about before but fell in love with. The way the author wrote, and how fleshed out Oskar and Evie were, it felt like a real story. I haven't read magical realism before, but I felt like it was perfectly incorporated in the story as Evie painted the pictures that helped Oskar to ultimately grow and open up more. This was a book I couldn't put down. I didn't think twice when I first downloaded it, but I really enjoyed this one. It's a poetic, moving book in a setting of Iceland which I haven't read about before but fell in love with. The way the author wrote, and how fleshed out Oskar and Evie were, it felt like a real story. I haven't read magical realism before, but I felt like it was perfectly incorporated in the story as Evie painted the pictures that helped Oskar to ultimately grow and open up more. Their love story was heartwarming as well, as they fall for each other despite the barrier between them. This definitely tugged at my heartstrings and resonated with me as a story of growth, and leaving things behind in the past. This is probably one of my new favorite contemporaries, and I look forward to what the author may write next. Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC.
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  • Sonia Hartl
    January 1, 1970
    Where do I even begin on this gorgeous book? I was so incredibly lucky to read an early copy of this and a piece of my heart will always be in that Icelandic cherry orchard. The relationship between Evie and Oskar is so beautiful, and the skill it took to develop a deeply passionate and intense love story through mostly body language is nothing short of brilliant. This is the kind of book that grabs you and doesnt let go. The kind of characters that stay with you long after the first page. I Where do I even begin on this gorgeous book? I was so incredibly lucky to read an early copy of this and a piece of my heart will always be in that Icelandic cherry orchard. The relationship between Evie and Oskar is so beautiful, and the skill it took to develop a deeply passionate and intense love story through mostly body language is nothing short of brilliant. This is the kind of book that grabs you and doesn’t let go. The kind of characters that stay with you long after the first page. I have so much love for this amazing story and can’t wait to see what Jen does next.
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  • K.A.
    January 1, 1970
    I was blessed enough to read an early version of this book, and I cannot express how beautiful the story is, how deeply it resonated, how swoony the author's poetry is, or how much I loved the characters within the pages of this powerful book. It is dear, and cherished, and I cannot wait for you to meet the love of my life, Oskar. :) Also . . . DID I MENTION THERE WAS PIE???????????????
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  • Pooja (Penningtales)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsWow, this book gave me all the feels! Going in, I didnt expect it to be so deep and heartfelt, so thought provoking. Not to mention, having a hint of magic so cleverly woven into the plot points. That title makes so much sense now, but I dont want to say more or else Ill give it away!Sixteen year old artist Evie is angry with her father for upending her life. By moving them to Iceland for the summer, shes cut off from all her friends, thanks to shitty wifi, and her beloved grandmother 4.5 starsWow, this book gave me all the feels! Going in, I didn’t expect it to be so deep and heartfelt, so thought provoking. Not to mention, having a hint of magic so cleverly woven into the plot points. That title makes so much sense now, but I don’t want to say more or else I’ll give it away!Sixteen year old artist Evie is angry with her father for upending her life. By moving them to Iceland for the summer, she’s cut off from all her friends, thanks to shitty wifi, and her beloved grandmother who raised her and is now in an assisted living facility back in Miami. Evie finds comfort in a picturesque cherry orchard behind her guesthouse and after snacking on a few cherries from an old tree, starts painting a portrait of a handsome boy she’s never meet. Then something magical happens: she meets the boy she painted. Oskar isn’t happy to find Evie trespassing and snacking on the cherries from his tree. But his strong stutter stops from his voicing his thoughts, though he make his feelings clear. Evie assumes he cannot speak English and he lets her. But as they continue running into each other at the cherry orchard, Evie begins sharing her thoughts and feelings about her life, thinking he doesn’t understand, he feels trapped by his lie. And her paintings, they capture moments of a time and people he had long lost. How did she know about them?I won’t lie, Evie did annoy me at the very start. She was bitter and angry towards her father, who she chose to live with over her mother. But as I read on, I began to understand where she was coming from: She was lonely. Her friends back home were moving on without her, her grandmother’s mental health was deteriorating, her mother had bailed on her, and her father was constantly busy with work to spend time with her. But as she formed relationships with Agnes and Oskar, we got to see her open up, be more daring and cheerful. Her freely flirting with Oskar thinking he didn’t understand her was as shocking and amusing to us, the readers, as it was to him. So much that I was okay with the lack of banter. I liked how being with Agnes reminded her of the home she left behind in Miami with her grandmother. I especially loved how deeply she loved and cared for her grandmother, despite the distance between them. Oskar’s POV is written as a journal entries, in a verse format which I found so clever as the only time he’s able to speak without a stutter is when he’s singing. He’s tired of people looking at him in pity because of it and seeing Evie look at him differently, he was afraid to change that. A decision he comes to regret as their feelings for each other deepen over the summer. I really felt for him, not only does he struggles coming clean to Evie, he struggles coming to terms with what happened to his family five years ago and Evie’s painting don’t help. I loved seeing his mother/son bond with his aunt Agnes, the only surviving close family he has left. We can really see how much she cares and worries for him throughout the story, how she wants the best for him. The main theme of this novel is forgiveness and moving on. The author, Jen Marie Hawkins portrayed that beautifully, surreally through Oskar and Evie with their respective storylines. And their romance! It was a slowburn, enemies to lovers done extremely well. I did not want to put the book down, needing to know how it would all unfold. I was that hooked. And the story does satisfy! I felt their pain, their anger, and also their comfort and their deep understanding in one another. Their love was truly beautiful and I was rooting for their happy ever after.Thank you so much Owl Hollow Press and Jen Marie Hawkins for giving me a chance to read this! Please note: I received an advance digital copy of this book through NetGalley from Owl Hollow Press in exchange for a honest review. This does not influence my opinions in any way.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you so much to Owl Hollow Books for giving me an ARC of The Language of Cherries by Jen Marie Hawkins via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Its summer, and Evelyn is whisked away by her father, against her will, to Iceland. Shes leaving her beautiful, hot Florida life to the cold but never ending sunshine of Icelands summer. She resists falling to the wonders of the foreign country, until she meets Icelandic boy Oskar, who will give heat to her Icelandic summer. The Language of Thank you so much to Owl Hollow Books for giving me an ARC of The Language of Cherries by Jen Marie Hawkins via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.It’s summer, and Evelyn is whisked away by her father, against her will, to Iceland. She’s leaving her beautiful, hot Florida life to the cold but never ending sunshine of Iceland’s summer. She resists falling to the wonders of the foreign country, until she meets Icelandic boy Oskar, who will give heat to her Icelandic summer. The Language of Cherries is a perfect book to be read at the start of the Christmas season; it has enough heat and cold to start the month of December. It’s a story of forgiveness, of moving on, of discovering your own capabilities, and of accepting and being true to yourself. It’s a story that can definitely tug young adults’ hearts.(view spoiler)[”Our bodies and souls inhabit this earth a short time in the grand scheme of forever, but our art is as immortal as our wounds.”One of the things I loved the most in this book is the two protagonists’ point of view and how their voice and personality was delivered into words. Evelyn is a painter, and through Hawkins’ crisp prose, we get to touch her paintings. Oskar is a lyricist and a musician, and through his point of view we get to hear him sing and strum his ukelele and guitar. The contrast on the delivery of the two protagonists’ point of view was fascinating and something I have never seen before.This book also made me anticipate and squeal every dialogue Oskar has. Never had a book made me that crazy on a single-sentenced dialogue. Oskar rarely speaks due to his stutter and fear of others degrading him. And every dialogue Oskar has is as sweet as the cherry in their orchard. His inability to speak is a recurring problem in the book. The book built up this whole suspense of him trying to speak to Evie, and clues for Evie to find out. However the ending kind of fell flat after that build up. Evie knew of the truth through Oskar’s journal, and they had a nice reunion on the end, but I kinda wanted the truth to be revealed in a more grandiose confrontation, not just finding (and prying) to someone’s journal the morning after you slept with the owner of that said journal.Another thing I find unrealistic was how can you trust someone, foreign, and who didn’t even utter a word to you, to the point you will sleep with them. I understand telling everything to him, as you were led to believe he wouldn’t be able to understand. It became a way for Evie to release what she’s feeling, but to the point that she would sleep and fall in love with him? Crush maybe, but falling in love? Though, teenager hormones.The story also dabbles into a bit of magic. It’s the setting stone why everything happened. But the book never really explained well the magic of the cherry orchard, another thing that kind of irked me. Though it could just be me and my fantasy-enthusiast self who always seek answers on the how and why of fantasy elements in every story. (hide spoiler)]The Language of the Cherries showcases and delivers two different cultures perfectly. It teaches us that there is more beyond words, that language is never a barrier when it comes to family and love. I enjoyed reading this book, it got me going just after 3 chapters and I could barely put it down if not because of school. I will give this 4 stars and highly recommend it to readers who love summer escapade in Europe, and themes of discovering oneself.
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  • Winterbookbee
    January 1, 1970
    The Language of Cherries | Jen Marie HawkinsThis book really surprised me. Before starting it, I wasn't really convinced that it was my cup of tea, but I really enjoyed it!I had to get used to the writing style a bit as it wasn't my favorite, but after like 100 pages it really got more interesting and the characters developed. Both MCs (it's written from two POVs) are a bit slow and naive sometimes, but overall solid characters. I really liked the personality of Oskars aunt.And one thing I The Language of Cherries | Jen Marie HawkinsThis book really surprised me. Before starting it, I wasn't really convinced that it was my cup of tea, but I really enjoyed it!I had to get used to the writing style a bit as it wasn't my favorite, but after like 100 pages it really got more interesting and the characters developed. Both MCs (it's written from two POVs) are a bit slow and naive sometimes, but overall solid characters. I really liked the personality of Oskars aunt.And one thing I really looked forward to while reading was the fact that through the whole book there where little bits and bobs of scottish, icelandic and spanish, which was so fun.It also got a little bit mystical, what I found really refreshing and interesting because I didn't expect it to play a role and it really became one of my favorite parts about the book. I quite liked how the characters were (despite of having creative talents in which they were both really good) not perfect in every way, as it is often the case in YA books. This was a little bit different and I loved it.Overall it was really cute sometimes maybe a bit slow, but I liked how the author dealt with topics like grief and anxiety as well as relationships in any way.I enjoyed the book and would recommend to read it.😊[AD | ARC]Rating: 3,5⭐
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  • Amelia
    January 1, 1970
    The Languages of Cherries is one heck of an addictive and phenomenal book. I could not put this down! Its so beautiful in every possible way.The book is temperamental but in a good way. I loved every moment of it. The story begins with a girl called Evie whos father has forced her to spend the summer away in Iceland. Evie thinks she is being treated as a prisoner by her father, but with unstable friendships, an ill Abuela and a psycho mother she had no other choice but to stay with him. Once she The Languages of Cherries is one heck of an addictive and phenomenal book. I could not put this down! It’s so beautiful in every possible way.The book is temperamental but in a good way. I loved every moment of it. The story begins with a girl called Evie who’s father has forced her to spend the summer away in Iceland. Evie thinks she is being treated as a prisoner by her father, but with unstable friendships, an ill Abuela and a psycho mother she had no other choice but to stay with him. Once she gets to Iceland she finds an orchard and begins to paint the remarkable landscapes, all while slowing falling in love with a mysterious boy, who can’t even speak the same language as her.Jen Hawkins has done an amazing job in making this book not too heavy on the romance but just enough to make it perfect. I loved how both Oskar and Evie had their own personal problems but intertwined into each others lives just when they needed someone the most.I really do hope Jen writes more books because this was such a breathtaking and sensational read.Stars ~ 5
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved this touching story that shows us you don't always need words to fall in love; you can also communicate through art, music, and yes--cherries. Written in two viewpoints, one lyrical and one prosaic, The Language of Cherries unfolds slowly against the backdrop of Iceland in summer, which is beautifully described. Evie and Oskar, teens who are each struggling to figure out their next steps in life, meet in Oskar's family's cherry orchard. Evie, straight from Florida and still I absolutely loved this touching story that shows us you don't always need words to fall in love; you can also communicate through art, music, and yes--cherries. Written in two viewpoints, one lyrical and one prosaic, The Language of Cherries unfolds slowly against the backdrop of Iceland in summer, which is beautifully described. Evie and Oskar, teens who are each struggling to figure out their next steps in life, meet in Oskar's family's cherry orchard. Evie, straight from Florida and still experiencing culture shock, tries to introduce herself, but Oskar just wants to be alone, so he pretends not to understand English. He expects that will be the last time he has to see the beautiful girl he doesn't want to talk to. However, Evie, tired of being lonely and drawn to the cherry trees that somehow enhances her ability to paint, keeps finding excuses to return to the orchard. What could just be another classic boy-meets-girl tale is elevated by the complication of Oskar's silence as well as by the touch of mysticism that winds its way through the book--just enough to complement the sense of wonder and magic at falling in love for the first time. The ending, too, was very touching and struck just the right chord--pun intended. I will definitely be following this author, and I can't wait to see what she comes out with next.
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  • Kristin Wright
    January 1, 1970
    I was so lucky to get to read an early draft of this book and I'll openly beg you to read it. First off, the setting is astonishing: Iceland generally, but in particular a cherry orchard. The two main characters have instant chemistry, even though Oskar doesn't speak to Evie. We see his thoughts through the poetry in his journal and it is spare and heartbreaking. Not a word is wasted. Evie's point of view is instead beautiful and evocative prose. This author paints landscapes with her words. I was so lucky to get to read an early draft of this book and I'll openly beg you to read it. First off, the setting is astonishing: Iceland generally, but in particular a cherry orchard. The two main characters have instant chemistry, even though Oskar doesn't speak to Evie. We see his thoughts through the poetry in his journal and it is spare and heartbreaking. Not a word is wasted. Evie's point of view is instead beautiful and evocative prose. This author paints landscapes with her words. You'll see color as you read: red from the titular cherries in particular. Though this is a romance and the relationship between the two main characters is the centerpiece, there's also a really compelling subplot about the difficult relationship Evie has with her parents, separately. It's a great parallel to the real difficulties teens have both loving their parents, but needing to let them go in order to grow into adulthood. Overall, the book is stunning with brilliant use of language and a conflict that never lets go. Five enthusiastic stars.
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  • Tracie Martin
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, where do I get started with this gorgeous book? Jen's lyrical style shimmers like Iceland itself, and her deft understanding of the power of love and family and that gorgeous, dangerous boy full of secrets and soul will sweep you away. I adored Evie and Oskar: if you think you've read every kind of YA relationship, think again. If these two don't make you fall in love with love all over again, well, there's no hope for you! And get ready to have a very very very strong craving for cherry Oh, where do I get started with this gorgeous book? Jen's lyrical style shimmers like Iceland itself, and her deft understanding of the power of love and family and that gorgeous, dangerous boy full of secrets and soul will sweep you away. I adored Evie and Oskar: if you think you've read every kind of YA relationship, think again. If these two don't make you fall in love with love all over again, well, there's no hope for you! And get ready to have a very very very strong craving for cherry empanadas.
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  • Wren Michaels
    January 1, 1970
    This book will give you ALL THE FEELS. I was honored to read an early copy of this. Hawkins is a master with words and the way she can turn a phrase will leave you in awe. She captures your heart with words, pulls you into the story until you have a book hangover for days wanting more of these characters. Rich world building and characters you root for and relate to make her a master storyteller. I can't wait for the world to read this and fall in love with Hawkins words.
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  • Summer Spence
    January 1, 1970
    I was so lucky to get to read this gorgeous book pre-pub. The language is stunning, the setting breathtaking, and the romance absolutely magical. If you want to be swept away, this is the book for you!
  • Ana Filipa Leite
    January 1, 1970
    The Language of Cherries, an apparently simple romance story with a pretty cover written for teenagers, is a wonderful story that portrays the way loss, in spite of being terribly painful, might sometimes bring you positive change. It also showcases the beauty with which cultural barriers can be overcome. The action of Jen Marie Hawkins first novel (published by Owl Hollow Press on February 11, 2020) is set in an Iceland cherry orchard, which is one of the most unique and appealing aspects of The Language of Cherries, an apparently simple romance story with a pretty cover written for teenagers, is a wonderful story that portrays the way loss, in spite of being terribly painful, might sometimes bring you positive change. It also showcases the beauty with which cultural barriers can be overcome. The action of Jen Marie Hawkins’ first novel (published by Owl Hollow Press on February 11, 2020) is set in an Iceland cherry orchard, which is one of the most unique and appealing aspects of this book. It’s full of beautiful Nordic sceneries.Evie Perez is a Latin-American 17-year-old who has to leave her life in Miami behind to spend the Summer in Iceland with her dad, who’s working on a project for US Geological Survey. She’s missing out on the opportunity to have a real summer with her dear Abuela, whose degenerative illness is only getting more worrisome, and with the first boy who’s shown an interest in her. She’s even missing out on sleep, thanks to the Icelandic midnight sun. What can a girl do in a place where she knows no one and where everything is so different?She can paint. Evie’s paintings are usually inspired by the music she listens to and she only paints in the Winter – she can’t paint without music, nor can she do it in the Summer. However, in the orchard near the house where she’s staying, her painting hand takes on a life of its own and paints things she’s never seen, while her other hand puts cherries in her mouth. She paints a blond teenage boy who’s stupid cute and who soon shows up in front of her, a real person with a symbol tattooed on his arm – a symbol which she had included in her painting and that keeps showing up everywhere. Is it related to Icelandic magic? What secrets are the boy and the orchard hiding?In alternate chapters, the book is written from both Evie and Oskar’s points of view. His chapters are part of his journal, which is written in a straightforward manner and in verse. He writes what he doesn’t tell the American girl. He refuses to talk to her, since she must suffer from the same “American mentality” as the tourist who killed his entire family (except for his aunt, who runs the orchard) in a car accident. He leads Evie to believe he doesn’t know any English and cannot therefore understand her. But there’s something instantly attractive about her… She makes him feel like writing songs again, something he hasn’t done since the accident. And how is she able to paint scenes from his past family life in such detail? Will he be able to come out of this lie and talk to her?This book really shows how true and healthy love stimulates and encourages creativity – instead of draining it, as unfortunately happens in many romanticized toxic relationships in Young Adult novels. Evie gets Oskar to get back into his art again after a traumatic event, and he makes her paint in a new, freeing way, fearlessly and without restrictions or criticism. This story also shows how love can help you get over terrible loss and helps you believe that life goes on and you don’t have to let the bad stuff get the best of you forever. The complexity of family dynamics is also very well-developed: the relationship between the two survivors of an accident which took all their loved one, the relationships between a daughter and her absent parents and between a sick grandmother and her granddaughter.Finally, the presence of different cultures and the existence of characters who simultaneously belong to two different cultures – Evie is an American of Cuban ancestry and Oskar is the son of an Icelandic man and a Scottish woman – also make this book special. The Spanish and Icelandic words throughout the book get the reader more involved in those cultures without making the reading experience confusing (thanks to some lovely footnotes). The stories of both protagonists’ families’ past also don’t take away from the main story for too long and they create a good sense of their backgrounds. That way, the book becomes more than a one-dimensional heterosexual romance between two white, American people (yes, this is Nicholas Sparks-directed shade).I have no negative things to say about this book. I’d just like to have read The Language of Cherries as a teenager, when I would have felt even closer to the story and the teenagers’ feelings. Jen Marie Hawkins’ prose comes off as that kind of invisible writing style, perfectly correct and simple, that allows the actual story to shine through, and she wrote a very well-thought-out one, that’s moving and stands out. I will for sure follow her career.A digital copy of this book was given to me by the publisher (via Netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    This. Book.I haven't had a book bring me to tears in a while. Heart-wrenching tears, joyful tears, laughter DURING the tears... I cannot say enough good things about The Language of Cherries.The most powerful thing about this book is the characters. It's a perfect example of how much caring about the characters matters, because I am currently reading another book that I will probably DNF, not because the story isn't cool or exciting, but because I simply don't care about the characters. They are This. Book.I haven't had a book bring me to tears in a while. Heart-wrenching tears, joyful tears, laughter DURING the tears... I cannot say enough good things about The Language of Cherries.The most powerful thing about this book is the characters. It's a perfect example of how much caring about the characters matters, because I am currently reading another book that I will probably DNF, not because the story isn't cool or exciting, but because I simply don't care about the characters. They are dull and uninteresting and I don't care what happens to them. In The Language of Cherries, however, I fell in love with the two main characters and wanted to know everything about them and everything that would happen to them as soon as I met them. Then all the side characters came to life as well and made me care about them just as vividly - every single one (even the douches). They are all real people to me and I know they will be the kind of characters I find myself thinking about when I fall asleep at night.I lied in the previous paragraph because the setting, exploration of language, ROMANCE, and perfect amount of magic and lore were just as powerful in this book. I felt like I was in both Iceland and in some made-up, enchanted land every time I picked up this book. The ideas about language and love and loss and communication explored in the story are both refreshing and timeless. The romance was the perfect amount of slow-burn/satisfying explosions, and the magic woven into the plot was both grounded in fascinating lore and enthrallingly original. I haven't written a review this long in a while because I haven't read a book that made me adore it this much in a while. If you want a romantic trip to an exotic, dreamlike place that makes you laugh, swoon, and cry, this book is for you.
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  • Albertina
    January 1, 1970
    Evie Perez, a seventeen year old girl from Miami, finds her summer in hot pieces when she's forced to go to Iceland with her dad. In Iceland she knows nobody, spends her days indoors and thinks about her friends and grandma in Miami. However, one day she decides to go to a cherry orchard to paint - only to discover a strange force at hand and a handsome guy among the cherry trees.Oskar doesn't utter a word to the enigmatic girl, afraid that she'll judge him for his stutter. Thinking Oskar Evie Perez, a seventeen year old girl from Miami, finds her summer in hot pieces when she's forced to go to Iceland with her dad. In Iceland she knows nobody, spends her days indoors and thinks about her friends and grandma in Miami. However, one day she decides to go to a cherry orchard to paint - only to discover a strange force at hand and a handsome guy among the cherry trees.Oskar doesn't utter a word to the enigmatic girl, afraid that she'll judge him for his stutter. Thinking Oskar doesn't understand her, Evie spills her darkest thoughts to him and an unique bond forms between the two. Sometimes words are not needed.I had no clue what to expect when I found this book on Netgalley. Thought it sounded like a cute read, and it really was. It was difficult to get into the story at first, the prose was too intricate with the detailed descriptions, it sometimes made it difficult to read without stopping every now and then to try and comprehend what had just happened. This is a common issue among writers I think. Because this is something I myself do to make my prose more exquisite. Yet, too much of this kills the prose. As the story unfolded, the prose got much better and had hints of exquisite sentences. I sometimes would stop and reread these sentences and think "what a beautiful sentence". And that is what makes a book so great, when you stop and admire the author's work.I liked this story more than I originally would've thought. And seeing as it is the author's first book, I'm very excited to see what she will write next. This was a beautiful story and I can see it becoming a huge summer read.
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  • Jantine
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review.After the first book I finished this year, I longed for a more quietly paced book. 'The Language of Cherries' turned out to be the perfect choice for that. I liked the surroundings, and the way old words were spilled throughout (and explained at the end of every chapter). I also liked how Oskar's journal entries were like poems. Sometimes the language was just a bit too simple and childish to my taste, especially when I take I received a free copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review.After the first book I finished this year, I longed for a more quietly paced book. 'The Language of Cherries' turned out to be the perfect choice for that. I liked the surroundings, and the way old words were spilled throughout (and explained at the end of every chapter). I also liked how Oskar's journal entries were like poems. Sometimes the language was just a bit too simple and childish to my taste, especially when I take the themes of the book into account.I would recommend reading this book to a couple of readers I know, of whom I know they would love this book. I cannot say that I did, but I did enjoy it.
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  • Nadia
    January 1, 1970
    What a wonderful book. And I loved the theme of cherries. Makes me want to get myself a cherry tree. The characters and themes were beautifully written. I couldnt put it down once I started the book. Got this free book via Netgalley in return for an honest review. What a wonderful book. And I loved the theme of cherries. Makes me want to get myself a cherry tree. The characters and themes were beautifully written. I couldn’t put it down once I started the book. Got this free book via Netgalley in return for an honest review.
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  • Michelle Garrett
    January 1, 1970
    "The Language of Cherries" by Jen Marie Hawkins was such a beautiful story, and, as only appropriate, a book about language has beautiful language in both prose and verse. It was a semi-unique format where the male protragonist, Oksar's POV was entirely in verse, representing he struggled to speak through his stutter but was only able to fully express himself through song lyrics. It was also supposed to be what he wrote in his journal. But it was beautiful and so easy to read, and contrasted "The Language of Cherries" by Jen Marie Hawkins was such a beautiful story, and, as only appropriate, a book about language has beautiful language in both prose and verse. It was a semi-unique format where the male protragonist, Oksar's POV was entirely in verse, representing he struggled to speak through his stutter but was only able to fully express himself through song lyrics. It was also supposed to be what he wrote in his journal. But it was beautiful and so easy to read, and contrasted with the female protagonist, Evie's straight prose it was easy to follow the narrative and get sucked right into their sweet story. Both had their share of tough heartbreak and Oskar's particularly was so poignant and his revelation toward the end was absolutely moving. These two had the sweetest, most heart-wrenching romance that made this book hard to put down, especially toward the end. I highly recommend this book about what connects us as humans and why it's worth it despite the pain.
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