“Their strength and ferocity stem from below the surface where their roots are forever tangled, interwoven in such a way that for the remainder of time they bloom together, and when winter finally prevails, they perish as one…until spring brings them to life once again.”
No one loves them, no one cares about them, no one even sees them until they end up in Mary Rodriguez’s home, an outpost for Sacred Heart’s troubled youth program. It is within these walls that the four teens forge unlikely friendships. They experience the intensity of first loves, share secrets, and suffer losses, vowing to make the world a better place in spite of their personal battles with addiction, depression, loneliness, and abuse. But when the unthinkable happens, those friendships are tested in ways they never could have imagined.
Will they find strength enough to survive or will their bonds be too fractured to heal them yet again?
As an English teacher, the symbolic nature of titles and their multiple meanings and interpretations are aspects of language that make my nerdy heart so happy to analyze, and while I may read into things a bit too deeply in some situations, it’s clear that L.B. Simmons’ newest release, We, the Wildflowers was created with the qualities of wildflowers and the seasons that change them in mind as Simmons worked to tell Chloe, Lukas, Adam, and Genesis’ story.
While the story is told solely through Chloe’s perspective, each one of these characters has their part to tell and they do so in their words and their actions…in the idea that each individual’s plight is not the same, but a common bond can be found, and once that connection is forged, it becomes essential in all ways possible, proving that it’s more than okay to lead on others when you find the people who teach you the true meaning of home and family.
Simmons presents all parts of the four main characters stories – their pasts, their presents, and what they hope will be their futures, and through it all, it remains clear just how much the events that they had to endure and the obstacles they had to surpass and continue to go through help to define who they are and not only how they see themselves but how they see life in general.
The Wildflowers’ emotions resonate from the pages of the book and help to illustrate just how much pain they’ve had to wade through, just how low their lowest points were, and as their struggles seem to ebb and flow with life circumstances and maybe even the seasons, as if they are the embodiments of wildflowers, readers can’t help but want to shield them, to care for them, to protect them in a way that they can continue to grow and never risk being uprooted again.
Readers’ emotions will run the gamut, which, in my opinion, is a testament to the way the story is told. In a young adult romance, teens’ feelings as well as their individual personalities are not only fickle but still developing, which means that there are going to be missteps, both by chance and by choices. I can’t tell you how destroyed I was by one single event in the tex; it crushed me and my heart hurt so badly after I read it, but even in what seemed to be the darkest hour, the Wildflowers endured…and even if it was difficult and they wanted to give in and get lost in the shadows, the sun still shone and it gave them the smallest amount of hope to continue on.
This reading experience is unlike any that I’ve had in quite some time, and it’s because of the way Simmons presents the characters’ stories, the way she allows readers to feel EVERYTHING they feel, the way she helps us to truly understand their plight and their struggles, the way she works to help us cope with the highs and lows her characters work through made this much more than a solitary escape.
This book is a true masterpiece of the human condition in all of its wonder and at times horror. Because Simmons provides readers with a front row seat to all that Chloe, Lukas, Adam, and Genesis fight through and endure, we’re able to see firsthand just how powerful a bond these four characters share, just how much better and stronger they are when they’re together, and the fact that they would sacrifice their own happiness just so that the others can see and feel just how amazing they truly are, regardless of anyone else’s recriminations or mistreatment, is a testament to what lies in their hearts and souls and just how selfless they all can be.
This is a book you will be thinking about long after you are finished reading it. It’s a book that should be experienced by everyone! It’s a book that speaks to every readers’ heart and its lessons make us want to be better people, better listeners, better in all ways that matter, not just for ourselves, but for those suffering in silence, for those who are too afraid to speak. Because when it comes down to it…we are all wildflowers…we just grow in different places and experience different things.
5++++ Poison Apples
After graduating from Texas A&M University, L.B. Simmons did what any biomedical science major could do. She entered the workforce as a full-time chemist. Years later, never in her wildest dreams would she have imagined herself a USA Today Bestselling contemporary romance author as well.
What began as a memoir for her children, ended up being her first self-published book, Running on Empty. Initially it was written to chronicle their actions, their phrases, and their silly arguments so that when they were older, they would always have those memories. The memoir soon began to take on a life of its own, morphing into the story of a single mother with three little girls finding love when she least expected it. Soon after, her girls were given reoccurring roles in the remainder of what became the Mending Hearts series.
That’s how her journey as an author began, and she hopes to God it never ends.
L.B. Simmons doesn’t just write books. With each new work, she attempts to compose journeys of love and self-discovery so she may impart life lessons to readers. Several novels later, she’s tackled suicide, depression, bullying, eating disorders, as well as physical and sexual abuse, all the while weaving elements of humor into the storylines in effort to balance the difficult topics. Often described as roller coaster rides, her novels are known for eliciting a wide range of emotions in each story she tells.