Title: Peaches (Book 1 in Peaches Trilogy)
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publisher: HarperTrophy – HarperCollins
Release Date: June 1, 2005
Murphy McGowen has bright green eyes, a reputation as the wildest girl in Bridgewater, and a way of getting out of all the trouble she gets into. But when she’s caught stealing from the Darlington Orchard, she’s forced to repay her debt picking peaches in the hot Georgia sun.
Leeda Cawley-Smith has professionally whitened teeth and the softest skin her boyfriend has ever touched. Unfortunately, Leeda’s parents aren’t too keen on her being touched anymore. Now Leeda’s country-club summer is out the window — she’ll be getting a serious sock tan working at her uncle’s peach orchard instead.
Birdie Darlington used to dance around her family’s orchard picking peaches for fun. But now that her parents are getting divorced, Birdie would rather spend the summer in the A/C eating Thin Mints than pick another peach — too bad she doesn’t have a choice.
Thrown together at Darlington Orchard, Murphy, Leeda, and Birdie discover what it means to find a real soul mate, and that sometimes cute boys know a lot about peach cider. And, of course, they learn the trick to picking a perfect peach. One thing’s for sure — it’s going to be a juicy summer.
Despite the fact that it took me an unusually long time to read this book, I did really enjoy it. There were some parts that almost lost my interest in the middle, and made this a not-so-fun read, but it definitely recaptured my attention. Even though this book was really only O.K., it was a good book.
The characters were very unique and personal. I liked each one of their stories and how they intertwined and affected one another. Even the adults and other characters, not just the three main ones, were decidedly different in terms of the books that I usually read. The chemistry between the three friends was fun to read about too, especially all the mischief and antics that all of them cook up at one point or another. I liked the family dynamics – the Cawley-Smiths, Darlingtons, and McGowens. Leeda’s “perfect family” and her not so clear niche, Birdie’s love for her home and her parents, and Murphy’s odd-woman-out attitude that she derived for herself to escape all add up to a wonderful adventure in an old peach orchard for three girls to explore, grow, and eventually understand.
The romance aspect was minimal; it was definitely more of a coming of age story. However, with most coming of age stories, there is a high school crush or some such involved, and this tale was no different. Enrico and Birdie’s cautious tiptoeing around each other was sweet and innocent, and endearing to read. Leeda and Rex was more of a learning period for both of them, and Murphy’s exploits was definitely eye-opening for her at the end. I liked how all of this helped each of them grow as individuals as well as together, as friends.
Their misadventures and sadness and mischief and youth all came together in this book to tell a wonderful summer tale. I do recommend this book – it was a very enjoyable read, especially at the end. It was stylistic, and the plot was pretty good. I think many people will share the girls’ experiences through the book and laugh and cry and enjoy themselves with it in hand. I hope that I get to read the rest of the trilogy soon!
**Note: This book is not recommended to ages 12 & under due to sexual references and inappropriateness.