Lemon Drop Falls

Lemon Drop Falls
Publisher Name
North Star Editions
Age Range
Release Date
February 13, 2022
Brave the sour to taste the sweet. Morgan is devastated by her mother’s sudden death. Before, Mom’s amazing organizational skills kept the family on track, and her bowl of lemon drops was always on hand to make difficult conversations easy, turning life’s sour into sweet. After, there’s no one to help Morgan navigate her new role caring for her younger siblings, her worries about starting junior high, and her increasingly confusing friendships. All she can do is try to fulfill her mother’s final request: Keep them safe, Morgan. Be brave for them. Help them be happy. When Dad insists on taking the family on their regular summer camping trip, and Morgan’s efforts to keep her promise to Mom seem doomed to fail, Morgan’s anxiety spirals into a panic attack, and Dad treats her like she’s impossibly broken. Unable to share her fears and needs with Dad, and desperate to prove she’s got the strength to hold the family together, Morgan sets off alone to hike a flooding canyon trail. But somewhere on that lonely and dangerous journey, Morgan will encounter the truth about the final words her mother left her, the power in finding her own voice, and the possibility of new beginnings.

Editor review

1 review
A tender story of grief and friendship
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
Grief is a major topic as Morgan struggles to fill the role of her deceased mother. Morgan feels it’s her responsibility to keep the family safe and happy and she is very concerned about adding stress to her father’s life. Her mother always created ABC plans to keep homelife organized and Morgan tries to maintain that level of structure. Hiding her true feelings inside puts her under tremendous pressure but she can’t let anyone, especially her father, think she’s having problems.
The author shares past events and the present by using the mother’s death as an anchor point. Some chapters are labeled “Before” while others are labeled “After” to differentiate their focuses. The author uses an interesting technique to connect them by starting many chapters with phrases or words that are repeated from the last sentences of the preceding chapters. The flashbacks show how Morgan’s mother holds the family and friends together so her loss is especially devastating. Clues are dropped that indicate all is not well with her and there are other vague references to events preceding her death. Something happens between Morgan and her mother but readers must speculate about the details until much later in the book.
The story takes place as Morgan is preparing to start middle school and seventh grade. Her mother’s death complicates the transition but relationships with Morgan’s two closest friends are changing too. Morgan isn’t happy with how a new girl is influencing her BFF, Keilani, as their interactions become more strained. Also, Hrishi might be liking Morgan as more than just a friend and she isn’t sure how she feels about that. Her mother’s not there to counsel her on natural “girl” things, like buying a proper bra, and her dad seems too overwhelmed to notice. Many middle-grade female readers should be able to find connections with Morgan’s character.
What didn’t work as well:
The author has written a tale full of feelings as Morgan struggles to make sense of the changes in her life. There are pleasant memories from the past until she remembers her mom is dead. This results in a melancholy tone throughout much of the book until Morgan realizes Plan B doesn’t need to last forever.
The final verdict:
The author tenderly deals with Morgan’s emotional trauma as readers accompany her on the trials of moving forward in life. Lemon drops and the battle with anxiety are drawn from the author’s life experiences and her range of feelings are incorporated clearly into the story. She compassionately addresses sensitive topics and I recommend you give this book a shot.
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