Book Review

Gardenia – Kelsey Sutton

Book Title: Gardena


Author: Kelsey Sutton

Goodreads Link: Click here


Star Rating: gold stargold stargold star empty star empty star– Good YA mystery with a twist.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from Netgalley in return for an un-biased review.

Seventeen-year-old Ivy Erickson has one month, twenty-seven days, four hours, fifty-nine minutes, and two seconds to live. – Goodreads

Life really sucks for Ivy Erickson. Not only does she have a short time to live, but she knows it.  Ivy can see a digital clock ticking above every persons head, including her own. Slowly the time counts down to the moment that person will die. As if that wasn’t bad enough, young girls, starting with her own best friend, are being murdered in Ivy’s town and she feels compelled to solve those murders before her own clock reaches zero.

For me, the mystery part of this book is secondary to the larger dilemma. How would it feel to know when the people around you are going to die? Time would be present in a way that normally we don’t understand. Seconds, minutes and hours usually slide by so quickly, we hardly notice. Worse yet, we trade our time away. We waste the moment we are in right now because we are impatiently waiting for the weekend, or for our favorite tv show to start, or something else equally unimportant.

I recognize this more since I’ve become a parent. It seems like just yesterday that my boy Jay, was a 6 year old little boy who I was dropping off at elementary school. He was wearing holes through the toes of his shoes at an alarming rate and it drove me nuts. I couldn’t wait for him to grow out of that habit. I couldn’t wait until he was old enough to play video games with me. Until he was big enough to get on the big rides at Disneyland. Until a million different things. Suddenly, he’s 16 and all that time is gone. All too soon he’ll be out of school and making his own life. I can see that without a clock above his head telling me exactly when he will become old enough to move on. If I could see it, would that make the intervening minutes more important, or less?

Ivy is greatly affected by seeing The Clock. She is constantly aware of how many seconds it takes to walk through a room, or for a person to respond to a question, and of how quickly the lives of people around her is passing by. I liked that about the book. Being a teenager she didn’t always respond in a healthy way, but that’s completely understandable. It made for an interesting approach to her character and to her interactions with others.

Don’t let me and my ruminations scare you away though. This is not a deep, existential novel. It’s a fun and interesting YA mystery. Not too heavy for consumption, but can still provide enough texture to let your mind chew on. I enjoyed it.

Song for this book: What Time Do You Call This – Elbow


2 thoughts on “Gardenia – Kelsey Sutton

  1. Thank you for asking the critical question! Knowing when people are going to die? This sounds terrifying. I can’t imagine dealing with The Clock. Psychologically, that would be traumatizing to me, I would be concerned with all the remaining seconds I have with those I love, and wondering how they were going to die. Particularly for people who had shorter than average clock times.

    I’m glad this was enjoyable, even if it wasn’t the best book you’ve read. Great review!

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