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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.
A Note From the Publisher
“Jennifer Hawkins’s debut is a brilliant and unique take on the timeless YA themes of communication, empathy, and first love—and all of their attendant and perennial obstacles. Evie and Oskar’s relationship is spun in gorgeous, unexpected lyricism; even the setting (friendless and freezing and diametrically opposed to Evie’s Miami home) infuses the novel with a surreal and mythic quality: every detail weighs on her discovery of Oskar’s secret. THE LANGUAGE OF CHERRIES is impossible to forget; for me, it reads like the classic it deserves to be.”
– Daniel Ehrenhaft, author of Ten Things To Do Before I Die (Delacorte, 2004) and the Edgar Award-winning Trust Falls (HarperCollins, 2002)
“THE LANGUAGE OF CHERRIES is a lush, heady, magical book, much like first love itself. Evie and Oskar are unforgettable characters with passions and desires who, despite their initial language barrier, deeply understand and support each other. The vibrant writing and unique Icelandic setting, combined with an inventive structure, make this book a YA standout reminiscent of Anna-Marie McLemore and Sarah Addison Allen.”
– Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone (S&S, 2018) and Our Year of Maybe (S&S, 2019)
“THE LANGUAGE OF CHERRIES is unlike anything I've ever read. I immediately fell in love with the premise, the characters, and the world. 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. I adore this book!”
– Elly Blake, New York Times bestselling author of the Frostblood Saga (Little, Brown).
“Come to THE LANGUAGE OF CHERRIES for the irresistible premise of a girl believing the boy she’s falling for doesn’t speak her language, and stay for the lyrical, magical tale of two people daring to reach for their dreams. Hawkins' memorable coming-of-age romance is infused with the same wit, charm, and originality as Joanne Harris’ Chocolat, and likewise will leave readers deliciously satisfied.”
– Kes Trester, author of A Dangerous Year (Curiosity Quills)