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The Language of Cherries

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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.

260 pages, Paperback

First published February 11, 2020

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About the author

Jen Marie Hawkins

2 books54 followers
Jen Marie Hawkins is a nurse-turned-writer. She writes books for young adults and the young at heart. She is a creative writing coach for Author Accelerator, and her short works can be found in literary magazines including the Decameron Journal. Three of her novel-length manuscripts have been finalists for the YARWA Rosemary Award, the RWA Maggie Award, and the SWFRWA Joyce Henderson Award.

Originally from South Carolina, she now resides in the Houston, Texas area with her husband, two sons, and enough animals to qualify her home as a wildlife center. When she isn’t reading or writing stories sprinkled with magic, you can find her cuddling her boys and daydreaming about traveling the world.

Jen is represented by Kate Testerman of KT Literary Agency.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 156 reviews
Profile Image for Jasmine.
436 reviews704 followers
January 27, 2020
***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 Liar
2. Calum Scott-You Are The Reason
3. Lost Frequencies-Reality
4. Julia Michaels-Hurt Again
5. Kodaline-Wherever You Are
6. SHY Martin-Make Us Never Happen
7. 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).*
Profile Image for Michele.
1,182 reviews
February 10, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Katrin (readwithkatrin).
200 reviews12 followers
July 27, 2022
Note: Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC
"'Tis a good reminder, lass. When you believe in something, it bears fruit."

Wow. I am actually really surprised at how much I like this. I've tried reading it several times and I just couldn't get past the first chapter. Not that it was terrible, it just didn't grab my attention and maybe I wasn't in the mood. But I'm really trying to read all my ARCs and this one was next on the list so I sat down and just read it. Then, I just couldn't stop reading it.

I love the writing style. It brings out the magical aspect of the book.
I like the characters. Their chemistry is undeniable. Questionable choices were made, especially on Oskar's part, but it can't be perfect. A character talking to another character thinking they don't understand them is always amusing.

Evie, her paintings, and the connection with Oskar and his family are all very intriguing. I really liked the chapters with Oskar's journal writings.

Overall, very unputdownable once you start reading it. It just has this certain charm that I don't think I'm capable of describing.

Profile Image for Elly.
Author 9 books1,965 followers
December 19, 2018
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.
Profile Image for hafsah.
332 reviews77 followers
December 13, 2021
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 😁
Profile Image for jules.
192 reviews67 followers
January 27, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Fall-Out-Book-Nerd.
532 reviews55 followers
April 4, 2020
I know I am in the unpopular opinion here but I just found this book okay... And I am so disappointed by that. Both the synopsis and the first couple of chapters had me hooked, I loved the magical realis and I was intrigued by how the characters were connected. Then I just found the rest forgettable, even with the short chapters I just found myself not wanting to pick it up and when I did I would skim read, especially Oskar's chapters, even though the writing was beautiful there was whole paragraphs for things that probably could have been said within a sentence.

If you are looking for more of a real contemporary set in a beautiful Icelandic orchard this is a fast read you could pick up.
Profile Image for Thelma.
706 reviews32 followers
February 14, 2020
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.

Profile Image for Maria.
1,664 reviews30 followers
November 29, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Caroline Bertaud.
Author 9 books36 followers
November 23, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Mary Ann Marlowe.
Author 10 books337 followers
December 19, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 19 books1,320 followers
December 29, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Anna Birch.
Author 1 book32 followers
December 25, 2018
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!
Profile Image for Andrea.
113 reviews6 followers
December 5, 2019
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.

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.
Profile Image for Brooke.
212 reviews24 followers
May 18, 2020
When Evie Perez is forced to move to Iceland for the summer, she goes to the picturesque cherry orchard behind her guesthouse and stains her lips with stolen cherries and paints a boy she’s never met. Oskar is startled to discover Evie in his family’s orchard, but too ashamed to reveal his stutter, he remains silent as Evie returns day after day, painting and spilling confessions she wouldn’t even tell her priest.

I don’t really read much contemporary, especially when romance is involved. But my gosh, I’m so glad I didn’t let myself miss out on this book! Once I started this book, I was immediately hooked. I couldn’t put it down and I couldn’t stop turning the pages. I could’ve never anticipated loving this story as much as I did.

The writing in this book was very poetic and expressive, and books that are written this way can so often lose their story in the overwhelming flowery and figurative style… but this book perfectly balanced the symbolic and the realistic in a way that keeps the reader both present and spirited away. I loved Oskar’s POV from his poetically written journal; not being a big poetry reader, I was shocked at how much his words touched me.

I loved every single one of the characters. Each one was exactly unique and complex as they should be. My favorite part was the relationship between Evie and her grandmother: it was so pure and real. And the romance portion, for someone who doesn’t particularly love romance plots (unless it’s fantasy), I found was written as beautifully as I could have hoped for. I felt so many different emotions reading this book and discovering who Evie and Oskar truly are inside, and their past that made them that way. I laughed to myself, I cried, and I found my heart full and aching when I finished this book. This story was irresistible and charming inside and out.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
799 reviews577 followers
May 22, 2020
Oh goodness. This book was just quietly lovely and magical. I thought it was so beautifully and tenderly written and even though there was some sadness there… It overwhelmingly just made me happy to read it. What a gem.
Profile Image for Jenna.
36 reviews
December 21, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Sonia Hartl.
Author 11 books266 followers
December 19, 2018
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.
Profile Image for K.A..
Author 5 books248 followers
December 30, 2018
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???????????????
Profile Image for azaad.
100 reviews76 followers
February 3, 2021
read this review and others on my blog here !

"Music is my only refuge, because when I sing, my strings aren’t broken."

rep :
❄️ cuban-american mc
❄️ mc / li with a stutter
❄️ side cuban-american characters

tw : off-page death of a family member, drugs.



honestly, i'm slightly confused about this one because on one hand there are so many elements i appreciated about it and on the other, there were some bits that i would have rather gone without.

firstly, i just wanted to say that the author can weave together sentences really well. the writing is lyrical for the most part, but not redundantly so. some of the lines which convey such normal activities are infused with a particular kind of magic when the author writes them. for instance, when our mc, evie, eats a cherry, this is how it's described : "silky flesh separated under her teeth, and the pulpy middle melted on her tongue, perfectly ripe and alive with possibility." further, the atmosphere that the writing provides makes it feel like we're in a cold, quiet place, just like evie is.

i really liked reading from evie's point of view ; reading about her relationship with her abuela, her understanding of her own relationship with her 'friends' as the story progresses and of course, her romance with a boy she presumes does not know english but falls in love with anyway. she wasn't stupid or extraordinarily brilliant. she was just your everyday girl with your everyday issues, and that makes a lot of aspects of her personality relatable.

oskar, the other mc and the li, was strictly speaking, okay. he's got a stutter which makes it hard for him to communicate with other people for the fear of being negatively judged. this means that he pretends to not know english just so that evie would stick around for a while longer. in the beginning, it's easy for the reader to empathize with him. but later, when evie — who's feeling pretty lonely and down and — starts pouring out her emotions by speaking in english, he goes on with his charade by pretending to not know what she's talking about. that makes me a little mad, because boy, he drags it on for a long time. not to mention the fact that when his aunt tells evie about oskar's background, he conveys that he doesn't appreciate it. i get that the gravity of what happened with him is, in a sense, worse. but after she showed him her vulnerable side, the least he could have done was to let his guilt make him be okay with his aunt telling evie about where he was coming from, too.

i did love the fact that evie questioned the concept of talent : is our talent really for us ? or is it for others ? the purpose of talents, mostly artistic talents, is often implied to us to be meant for the consumption of those other than the self. i find this logic flawed and i'm glad that this book touched upon that.

i do not know if the author is a cuban-american or latinx herself, but it was nice to read about evie narrating how her abuela adjusted to the American way of living and of her description of her abuela's pastelitos as well. her culture was evident in the way she lived and spoke, in a most realistic manner.

would recommend if you're looking for a short, lyrical read about how magic shows up in the most unexpected places.

// 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Pooja (Penningtales).
323 reviews61 followers
February 22, 2020
4.5 stars
Wow, 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.
Profile Image for lena ☀️.
135 reviews19 followers
March 8, 2020
Thank you to Owl Hollow Press for providing me an ARC of this for review!

This one was really hard to rate for me. This feels like a 3.5 but I've been trying really hard not to give half stars anymore. There was a lot of beautiful writing, and I definitely felt wrapped up in it while I was reading but in between I didn't feel a strong pull to keep reading.

I enjoyed the incorporation of so many cultures, as well as the exploration of creativity, especially creativity for yourself and not for the world. I think grief could have been explored better but I do lack experience with it.

I don't have too much to say about this really. It was a quick read but I think it would have benefited from being just a tad longer, exploring the characters relationships with their families a bit more. Things wrapped up fine but I think a couple familial relationships could have been fleshed out a lot more.
Profile Image for Winterbookbee.
62 reviews10 followers
February 17, 2020
The Language of Cherries | Jen Marie Hawkins

This 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⭐
46 reviews3 followers
January 25, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Milly.
154 reviews24 followers
August 18, 2021
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 in Iceland. She believes she is being treated as a prisoner, 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 spends her days painting the remarkable landscapes, all while slowing falling in love with a mysterious boy, who can’t even speak the same language as herself.

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
Profile Image for Karyn.
122 reviews13 followers
March 21, 2020
The book is a beautiful love story set in Iceland.

The author has defined, both sides of the love between Oskar and Evie. Its like a silent one sided story where evie talks her heart out and oskar just watches and notes down his feelings.
Unable to express and yet in love.

The lines I liked in the story were , " within these pages lives my solace. Its the only place I can share my thoughts without having to avoid sounds that seize in my throat or get caught on repeat"

"All her worries were like the distant stars. she Knew they existed but somewhere far away. nothing mattered in that moment ...."

This one really touches you : " I think the wounds are always there, no matter how much time passes. sometimes, someone comes along and becomes a balm, a distracting anaesthetic."

The relationship between evie and her granny is very touching, and special, nothing like the passive relation she has with her father and mother.

Everything about the cherry orchard and the mysticism surrounding the heritage of Agnes and Oscar makes a very good read.
Profile Image for Albertina.
102 reviews22 followers
January 10, 2020
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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