This Poison Heart – Kalynn Bayron
This young adult urban fantasy by Kalynn Bayron is influenced by Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel The Secret Garden and takes inspiration from Greek mythology. The main character, Briseis, inherits a neglected estate in rural New York from her aunt, who has recently passed away. Part of this rural estate is a hidden garden full of poisonous and deadly plants. Briseis has the magical ability to grow plants from tiny seeds all with a single touch, and she hopes to fully harness her gift during her stay at the house over the summer.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, especially how Bayron tackles themes such as racism, LGBTQI+ identities (Briseis’ two mothers) and family secrets. Not only does Briseis inherit the family estate, but she also inherits family secrets that have been preserved over many generations, and this is where the Greek mythology mostly comes into play. Bayron’s writing is engaging and evocative, bringing each character to life.