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Where the Lilies Bloom
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Where the Lilies Bloom

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  1,511 ratings  ·  149 reviews
Mary Call has promised her dying father to keep her brother and sisters together forever on the mountain, and never to take any help from strangers. She is determined to keep her word. No matter what. At first she is sure she can manage. Romey, Ima Dean, and Devola help gather herbs to sell in town; the riches of the mountains will surely keep the family clothed and fed. B ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 18th 2001 by HarperTeen (first published 1969)
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Best Books Set in Appalachia
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,532)
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HeavyReader
Jan 22, 2012 HeavyReader rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of stories about orphans
Shelves: young-adult
I can't believe I have been on GoodReads for over a year and just remembered this book! I read it so many times when I was in middle school-it was one of my favorites!

I loved books like this one that were about kids who had to make it in the world alone because their parents are absent for some reason. (In this book, the parents were absent because they were DEAD!) I think I was drawn to that plot line because I just wanted my parents to leave me along. (Not that I wanted them dead. I didn't par
...more
Linda Lipko
Written in 1969, this incredible YA book received numerous awards including a National Book Award finalist, New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year, School Library Journal Best Book, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, and the ALA Notable Children’s Book.

This is a touching, moving, realistic portrayal of poverty in the Trail Valley of the Appalachian Great Smokey Mountains of NE North Carolina.

Mary Call was 14 when her father died, leaving her with unrealistic promises to fulfill and three sibling
...more
drowningmermaid
This was required reading in grade school. The descriptions of poverty were evocative, but somewhat long-winded. What I remember most is that the TEACHER despised the book, and gave us as little work from it as possible. Validation for my feeling of dull.

What I found the most irritating was the resolution: the retarded older sister suddenly becomes well enough to see the need of her family and take charge.
Tahleen
I read this for a book report assignment over the summer before sixth grade. I liked the setting for the book, very rustic; plus, I love mountains and all that. And looking back on it I really like how strong a character Mary Call is. She does whatever is necessary to keep her family together and healthy. Another book I might have to revisit one day.
Suzanne Moore
I saw this movie years ago (1970s?) and never realized it was based on a book until I taught middle school and found the book. Of course I had to read it with students, since I loved the movie so much! I think part of the attraction was the setting, the Appalachian Mountains, but in the movie I fell in love with Mary Call. Mary Call is a 14 yr-old girl who is left to care for her siblings after her parents die. Before her father passed on he made Mary Call promise to keep the family together and ...more
Kristi
I have a memory of this book burned into my mind from grade school. It must have been my favorite book (though I'd forgotten the plot completely), but I could remember the picture on the cover and it's exact location in my school library. I have memories of me going to it's location and just staring at the cover. So I decided now, in my 40's, to re-read the book.
For 3/4 of the book, I kept thinking, "what did I see in this book? It's so dumb." The parents of 4 Appalation children are both dead,
...more
Rhapsody
I read this when I was a kid. Probably I loved it so much because it had such a strong female protagonist. I honestly can't remember the details of when and where, but you have a group of siblings who for whatever reason have no parents but are still living in their small house in an isolated area. The land lord wants to marry the oldest daughter, who's beautiful but a bit simple. The second oldest girl is the one in charge, and you get to see her struggle to keep her family together and continu ...more
Valerie
I got this while attending a book fair and they gave away a bunch of books that had been donated, there were at least ten thousand. I got this book after seeing the movie many years ago. I hate to say it, i likeed the movie better. But overall it was a good book and I felt some pity towards Mary Call, knowing what it was like to be in that situation but me doing a thousand times worse than what she did. I also felt some comptent towards Romey and Devola especially who were either carefree or whi ...more
Erin O'Riordan
I originally read this in grade school - some time around the sixth grade - and I remembered liking it very much. I misremembered some of the details - I'd thought Roy Luther was a coal miner rather than a sharecropper. I enjoyed reading it again as an adult, although I now realize the quality of the writing isn't as good as it possibly could be. Still, this is a fascinating story of a 14-year-old Appalachian girl in North Carolina trying to keep her siblings together after their father becomes ...more
Paula
This was one of my favorites when I was a young teen. Interesting how the story has changed since then :)
Melinda
This one probably deserves 3.5 stars. It was a re-read for me; I remember reading it as a kid and seeing the movie. I like the strong central female character who IS NOT an ignorant hillbilly. The descriptions of rural poverty and the beauty of the NC mountains were very good. Interesting descriptions of wildcrafting as the kids try to support themselves by harvesting medicinal herbs, roots and bark. Kids who have been through tough times will find an accurate mirror to their own experience here ...more
Jordan Anderson
I know that "Where the Lilies Bloom" is quite a ways from my normal reading material. But when you're a creative writing student on his last quarter until his BA, sometimes you get stuck with assignments that involve reading old-school, and more modern day classics.

Generally speaking, I don't enjoy assigned texts. Aside from "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Great Gatsby" (which I fell in love with many years AFTER high school), most things that the literary geniuses think are great works of art
...more
Gregory
"Where the Lilies Bloom" is one of my favorite films of all time. So, that merit alone speaks the volume of how I regard this incredible book. I am blessed by the touch left by the film and always takes the pride in knowing this book and its brilliant adaptation. Obviously I love the film more than the book, but I can tell you that the book is by itself absolutely a gem, so original and masterfully crafted, shunning commercial glory and glow, that which eventually became the lasting inspiration ...more
Lisa Lindman
This was one of my favorite books as a kid!

My dad lived in a small town in north Florida and I would visit him every Summer. They didn't have a lot going on in this town- the hottest hang out was a 7/11- but they did have an old library in a white Victorian. I found a tattered copy of "Where the Lilies Bloom" and was whisked away from the first page. I probably read that same copy thirty times. My ten year old self admired Mary Call's ability to handle life and make things go right. At fourteen
...more
Michelle Talbot
This was a very touching story. It lets you get a close up view of poverty and the struggle to survive that the people in the Smokey Mountains might experience. This family tried to stay together even with so many things going against them. They fear losing their farm and their house and each other. It is the 14 year old girl who has to take over the responsibility for this family and she is remarkable in her resourcefulness.

You certainly get a respect for self reliance in the face of terrible
...more
Lily Dunn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cece Devaney
I did not fully appreciate the significance of this novel's themes until it came to a conclusion. The plot was very tedious, making it difficult to accept the importance of events which would eventually lead to a meaningful and general moral. Although the story moved slowly, it exemplified a realistic situation which compels a reader such as myself to be grateful for the good fortune he has. I would recommend "Where The Lilies Bloom" to any individual who enjoys a well-written nonfiction, which ...more
Debbie Hoskins
I just reread this as an adult when it fell off the library shelf, after I reread Harriet the Spy recently. I remember it as a favorite.
Where the Lilies Bloom fell off the library shelf. I've checked this edition, because I'm pretty sure this is what I read as a kid. The edition I read from the library has illustrations by Jim Spanfeller. They're delicate and pretty, but I don't think publishers would publish them today.

I found the story to be poignant and poetic. The setting has a timeless feel
...more
Natalie
This was my favorite book when I was in about 3rd grade. I recently remembered it and had to order from amazon so I could read it again. I don't remember why I liked it so much, it was probably the very strong main character - Mary Call. Possibly also how hopeless everything seems and then all is resolved by the end. I think I must have also seen the movie because I have a strong image of the 2 older kids hauling their dad's body, and the picture in my mind isn't quite the same as what's describ ...more
Denise
Started this last night then woke up early this morning and finished it. I had such concern for this family I kept turning pages until I knew what would become of them. It was an excellent story that kept me interested not only with how the family was coping but with the natural beauty and wonders of the Smokey Mountains. I enjoyed hearing the numerous names and medicinal properties of the plants. It has been something I've been interested in for years. What a gift it would be to wildcraft in su ...more
Shelley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carrie
Jul 06, 2011 Carrie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Shelves: books-i-own
When Roy Luther dies his four children become orphans. Mary Call, who is 14, obeys her father’s wishes and becomes the new mouth piece taking on the responsibility of raising her siblings. Not only is the daily task of making ends meet hard, but so is hiding the fact that Roy Luther is dead. If the Luther’s Appalachian neighbors and town’s folk found out, the children would be separated and sent off to group homes. Can they work together gathering mountain herbs to sell while hiding their secret ...more
Beth

I love Appalachian fiction, and this book ranks among one of my new favorites. The authors do an excellent job of depicting the proud, stubborn, and loyal people of the region through the main character Mary Call. Even though it's hard, she does what is required for the survival of her family, and she keeps her promises to her father at all costs. Her pride is almost her downfall, but Mary Call maintains her dignity. Even in the end, she and her siblings continued to forage for herbs and roots t
...more
Carlyna
I happened upon this book at the library. Logan and I went so that I could have a "good" experience there and want to go back. I'm not much for libraries! The books I went there to get were checked out which was annoying, but then I came up with a plan. I would go to the teens section and pick out a book at random.

So I strolled down the isles and saw this book. I liked the title so I thought, why not? This is a great book for young readers. It kept my interest and was a fast read. Success! The
...more
Natalie
This book and the experience reading it was so important to me as a kid. I think it might have been the first time when I realized that books could be written by people like us, about people from here, and that it could be good, and compelling, and mean something. What I really remember is that Mr. Cox, just out of college, had the opportunity to teach an Appalachia class (I have no idea why they actually let him do this...it had to be his idea) and I was lucky enough to be in that class. I'd st ...more
Kristin
This book just popped into my head randomly this morning. I read this as part of the school curriculum in 6th grade, back when teachers still taught "classics" at all costs in school. I remember liking it, but unfortunately it was so long ago that I can't say for sure what kind of lasting emotional and psychological impact it left on me, so that's why it gets three stars. Given all the current fascination in children's literature with books about poor rural areas, the depression and the dust bow ...more
Tuesdi
This book is about a family who lives up in the Appalachian mountains. The mother has died, the second daughter, Mary, has taken over her responsibilities and their father barely scrapes by to support his family. Then he gets sick and dies as well and Mary does what she needs to to keep her family together.
I chose to read this book for one of my Young Adult Literature classes. I enjoyed it because it portrayed a young girl determined and capable enough to do some very hard things. Children are
...more
Sonya
Vera Cleaver presented life in the mountains for this family well. As the oldest of children, Mary Call watched their dad give up on life and die. She finds strength,not giving up, but in keeping her dad's wishes, even to burying him without telling the town's people. At fourteen, she struggles with making money and keeping the town's people from knowing they are without any parents to watch them.

Their struggles get harder.
You hold to her strength as she tries not to cry when her younger broth
...more
Kelly
My son had to do a book report so I told him I would read the book along with him... He felt it was too girly ! It took him six weeks and I finished it in one night.. guess who is helping with the book report now ! I enjoyed this book very much the struggle the main character goes through and the awakening of everyone when the oldest sister came into her own was lovely
Sharon
I read this book when I was a kid and I remember really liking it. I recently found this book - the exact edition I had read - on sale at the library and picked it up. Upon re-reading, I can see how my preteen self enjoyed the book. As an adult reading through the last part of the book (in which the Luthers, with no parents and no money were trying to survive winter in the mountains)I was grateful that I have a nice warm house where I can comfortably look at the snow falling outside my window. I ...more
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After her first book, The Nurse's Dilemma (1966), most of her magazine articles and 16 novels for children were written with her husband, Bill.

Together, they produced more than a dozen novels for young adults. Their subject matter reveals a particular interest in mountain children who have both physical and mental problems. The Cleavers were three times nominated for the National Book Award, and t
...more
More about Vera Cleaver...
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