Lady Cordelia #CBR5 Review #58: The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell

Unknown15-year-old Marnie and her younger sister Nelly live in a rundown housing estate in Glasgow, Scotland.  When they discover their parents dead, they bury them in the garden to cover it up from the authorities.  However, it’s not too long before an odd neighbour realizes they are on their own and starts to connect with them.

This story is not as dark as it sounds.  Sure, it is pretty bleak but the subject is handled lightly and focuses more on the relationship between the two sisters as they try to keep it together while pretending their parents have merely gone away on a spontaneous holiday.  However, as their absence begins to be questioned, a more disturbing picture of the family comes to light.

I wanted to like this book more than I did.  There were certain elements that I enjoyed but on the whole it left me quite cold.  The setup was great and the chapters told from Marnie’s perspective flowed really well.  But Nelly, as the “quirky” sister, had a voice that was just plain irritating and her character simply felt inexplicable to me, except for the fact that she was there to be “quirky”.  The sense of characters being forced into particular behaviours or speech patterns so they can fulfill a particular role was rife, and the characters acting as one-dimensional tools was what really ruined this story for me.

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