A POCKET FULL OF POSIES, by Shawn Sarles, Scholastic Press, Sept. 6, 2022, Paperback, $10.99 (young adult)
A teen finds herself at the center of a town’s annual festival in Shawn Sarles’ creepy new YA novel, A Pocket Full of Posies.
Ring around the rosie
A pocket full of posies
We all fall down
The scent of the town engulfs Parker in its perfume the moment she enters the gates. So much so that she nearly forgets all about the life that she left behind and the best friend she abandoned.
Coronation is a place where she and her parents can have a new start. And as soon as Parker gets there, its peacefulness puts her at ease. Everyone is nice. The tennis team immediately accepts her. Even the boys are easy to talk to. The only thing that she can’t quite understand is the town’s history ― its devotion to the saint, Rosamund, who helped the original town settlers survive their first winter all those years ago.
But she isn’t the only skeptic. Whatever you do, hold on tight. Don’t fall down, the boy tells her frantically before the town’s yearly Spring Festival ― thrown in Rosamund’s honor to encourage the harvest. But Parker can’t help it. The vibrant festival immediately draws her into the gardens, the rows of flowers, the food, the laughter. Linked together with the other girls, Parker finds herself spinning with the other girls, struggling to stay in sync. Tilting forward, it’s as if her balance has been taken from her.
Because Rosamund has been waiting. Parker has been chosen. Coronation’s next Rose Duchess has been crowned, destined to fulfill her role unless she can find a way to uncover the truth. —Synopsis provided by Scholastic Press
A Pocket Full of Posies is a sort of “gentle” horror story for teens. Author Shawn Sarles focuses on suspense and mystery rather than gore, and you sort of know where the story is going — minus important nuances — from the beginning.
At the center of the novel is Parker, who’s not very likeable to begin with but grows on you as her story plays out. And while you gain a better understanding of Parker as the book progresses, there is little development in the supporting cast. This treatment, however, appears to be a deliberate choice and plays out well at the climax.
One of the highlights of A Pocket Full of Posies is the town of Coronation. This is where Sarles’ world-building shines. All the senses come alive through the author’s prose. Like Parker, you are suddenly dropped into a Stepford Wives-type town where everything and everyone seems like perfection.
A Pocket Full of Posies is a fast-paced, eerie read that’s perfect heading into the Halloween season.
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