Gardenia - Kelsey Sutton

Kelsey Sutton, winner of a Best Teen Book Award from Kirkus, pens a suspenseful, heartfelt young adult novel, perfect for the readership of Rachel Ward and Kimberly Derting.

Seventeen-year-old Ivy Erickson has one month, twenty-seven days, four hours, fifty-nine minutes, and two seconds to live. Thoughtful and brooding, Ivy has been harboring a secret her entire life—she can see countdown clocks over everyone’s heads, watching their life grow closer and closer to the end with each passing second. She can’t do anything about anyone else’s clock, nor can she do anything about her own, approaching a zero hour before she even graduates high school. A life cut short is tragic, but Ivy tries to make the most of it. She struggles emotionally with her deep love for on-again, off-again boyfriend Myers Patripski. She struggles financially, working outside of school to help her mom and her sister escape the realities of trailer park life. And she struggles to discover who murdered her best friend, another life she couldn’t save. Vanessa Donovan was murdered in the woods, and everyone in town believes it is Ivy who did it. In what time she has left, Ivy must put her own life in order as she pieces together the truth of who ended Vanessa’s.


This book was a lovely excuse to not get out of bed all afternoon, though I did have Nickelback's Savin' Me stuck in my head the entire time...


A delightful mystery, I found myself in suspense through most of the book, which was quite realistic despite the supernatural elements. Ivy's bitter cynicism was ironically a breath of fresh air and I found her voice to be quite unique, for YA. She showed herself to be secretly, underneath it all, optimistic, and I felt like she'd be someone I'd really want to get to know in real life.


The romance was thrilling. I didn't analytically think it would be good due to my detesting of instalove, but the way Ivy talked about her significantly-more-off-than-on boyfriend Myers had my stomach in butterflies. Their history comes out slowly, but it's clear that the emotions Ivy feels are incredibly deep.


I loved the setting of this book. I loved that Ivy lived in a trailer park. I loved that her sister ran a website for men in order to have an income. I loved the nitty gritty elements of the family struggling yet, in one scene, each taking a day off to go bowling together. (Also, they have a parrot. Many kudos to the parrot.) I loved Ivy's art and the role it played.


A true suspense, I didn't see the ending coming until it happened. This was a mystery alongside a coming-of-age story and I was intrigued to read about how Ivy found clues and eventually came to the conclusion she did.


This was solid. Not spectacular, and I felt like there were some deaths that were glossed over, but a solid way to pass an afternoon, and I recommend for YA fans.


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.