Jodi Lynn Anderson,
Love & Peaches
(HarperTeen, 2008)

Jodi Lynn Anderson's Love & Peaches is, in a way, sort of like eating a peach: it doesn't take long to finish, but the process of doing so is both juicy and sweet. The third in the series (preceded by Peaches and The Secrets of Peaches), Love & Peaches is a welcome entry that reunites best friends Murphy, Leeda and Birdie after a year separated from one another. At home in Darlington Orchard, Georgia, they must actively pursue a balancing act with their past and present selves.

Murphy, Leeda and Birdie all have their separate stories to tell, their situations narrated by their own unique personalities and perspectives. Leeda has been enjoying both her new life as a college student in New York and her perfect college boyfriend. Now she must leave them both to take on a large home responsibility, as well as a dangerous family secret, that she neither expected nor asked for. Murphy also must leave her exciting New York City life to return to face the only boy she has ever loved, the same one she ran away from. Birdie returns to her family orchard, fleeing a potential marriage in Mexico, only to discover her family's plans of selling the orchard.

In essence, this novel is focused on the concept of change, and when transformation happens whether it is best to hold on or let go. It is about three distinct individuals, and the thread to friendship that ties them together.

Love & Peaches is the third installment in the series, but that shouldn't deter anyone new to the books from picking it up. It serves as a great stand-alone novel, but there are a few parts that hint back to previous circumstances, and in order to know the whole story, it would probably be best to pick up the previous two novels as well.

review by
Justin Tenley

1 May 2010

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