Bullet Point-Review: The Girl and the Grove, Eric Smith

Happy Friday, friends! I’m back today with another mini review of a fun book… that somehow didn’t manage to meet all of my expectations. Let’s get to it!

The book

Eric Smith, The Girl and the Grove, Published by Flux, May 8th, 2018.

goodreads-badge-add-plus-fad3b68d35050280ea55d50f17c654b5Teenager Leila’s life is full of challenges. From bouncing around the foster care system to living with seasonal affective disorder, she’s never had an easy road. Leila keeps herself busy with her passion for environmental advocacy, monitoring the Urban Ecovists message board and joining a local environmental club with her best friend Sarika. And now that Leila has finally been adopted, she dares to hope her life will improve.

But the voices in Leila’s head are growing louder by the day. Ignoring them isn’t working anymore. Something calls out to her from the grove at Fairmount Park.




  • Our main character, Leila, was really endearing and I loved her right from the start. She is passionate, fierce, determined, but also insecure at times and I wanted to root for her and hug her all along. Also, diverse! characters! poc! rep! for!the!win!
  • I love that this story has an adoptee as a main character just as well. In this family for a couple months, we get to see how Leila grew accustomed to her new parents, her struggles to finally start calling them “mom” and “dad” and everything was just so adorable. Also this is an #ownvoices book for that soo YAY.
  • This brings me to my third point: I NEED to talk about how cool the parents were and their relationship with Leila. They were protective, understanding and also really fun (mention for Jon, the dad, who made me laugh a lot). I’m all for great parents-children relationship and that one just warmed my heart. I loved the focus on family that way, especially unconventional families, as Leila was adopted.
  • We also got an amazing and strong female friendship between Leila and her best friend, Sarika. I loved how they supported each other all the way and all of their interactions were gold.
  • The Girl and the Grove has such a great focus on the environment, something that I also found quite original and really enjoyed seeing in the book.



  • While I really enjoyed the idea of the story overall, I felt like it missed a little something for me to be completely captivated. The fantasy/magical elements were there, yet I felt like they could have been a bit more developed, like the atmosphere, the trees, the woods, everything, could have used a little bit more work to really stand out and give this book really magical vibes. It had tons of potential, yet I felt a bit disappointed by the execution.
  • I enjoyed the side-characters, but they felt a bit superficial to me, at times. I wanted to know more about them, about the best friend, about the love interest, about the mean-girl of the story who, unfortunately, felt a bit two-dimensional. It was a great cast, but once again, it missed a little something.
  • Lastly, and I don’t know if it’s just me, but the blurb promised me representation of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), something I really was looking forward to… but maybe I missed it somewhere??! The only mention of that happened at the start of the book, but it isn’t explored more and…. I’m sad. Sorry. That was a bad pun. (Maybe I did!! I’m not excluding that I didn’t see it, but… I don’t know, there should have been more?)


The Girl and the Grove was a really refreshing story, with great, endearing characters and a premise with loads of potential. If it failed to meet my expectations a little bit, I would still recommend it if you’re looking for a fun read, a focus on family and environment with a touch of magic.

Final rating: 3 drops!

The biggest thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for sending me an ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, affect my opinion and this review.

Trigger warnings: let me know if you found some, so I can add them to this.

Do you want to read The Girl and the Grove? Why, or why not?

Do you know other stories talking about the foster-care system and adopted main characters? Let me know in comments!

Posted by

Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

34 thoughts on “Bullet Point-Review: The Girl and the Grove, Eric Smith

  1. Interesting review, Marie! I heard about this book a couple of weeks ago, and I was intrigued by the SAD rep as well – I don’t know too much about it and I haven’t read a book about it before. It’s weird that they would mention it in the blurb and then not really focus on it in the book. This might just be me being cynical, but it sounds like a using diversity for marketing sort of scenario…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I have to admit that this kind of disappointed me – maybe I missed it while I was reading, but I was really eager to read this book because of that and felt like it didn’t deliver its promises there. I just needed to actually see some of it and not just havin it mentioned in a couple sentences…. :/
      Still, I hope you’ll want to give this a try, it was still an entertaining read 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never heard of this book, but now I’m definitely intrigued. What really got my attention was the magic element (which you say is underdeveloped so, sad face). Also, great job with this review. The bullet-point format is really cool and I might do something like it in the future 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was a bit sad, I thought that this part of the story had so much potential 😦 Still, it was a really interesting read and I really hope you will give it a try 😀
      Thank you so much – and I am very happy to hear you like that reviewing format 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Really great review!! I like the sound of the focus on family and the strong female friendship in the book 😀 Shame the fantasy elements weren’t as developed as they could have been. And pity that the side characters weren’t as well developed as they could have been.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hmm, thanks for your thoughtful review Marie! I think I’ll save this for a day when I’m looking for a contemporary read. It would have been nice to have SAD explored more (especially since it affects so many people) and the side characters as well. I love the focus on friendship and family though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that part kind of disappointed me, I expected the SAD aspect to be explored a bit more, we too rarely read about it in books :/ still, it was an interesting read and I hope you’ll give it a try 🙂
      Thank you so much 😀 x


  5. Yours is the first review that I have read for this one. I am not sure that if it is one for me, but I love that it features an adoptee. The SAD aspect is interesting as well. I am glad that you enjoyed it, Marie. I love your quick, to the point review. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t read this book yet, but I totally get what you mean about side characters not being developed enough. I just finished reading a book and I felt like the side characters had no purpose in the book at times. Personally I feel that side characters can be just as important as main characters at times. It’s the little things in books that I find really make a great book.

    Love the fact that this book has a good parent-child relationship, they’re always so enjoyable to read about!
    Lovely review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I have to agree with you, it’s the little details, the way that some side characters feel like three-dimensional characters with their own lives, as well, that make me fall in love with an entire cast in a book 🙂
      Definitely! I love reading about families and that part made me SO happy 🙂
      Thank you so much, Kristin! 😀


  7. Overall this sounds like a good book; the fact that it has a diverse main character, and well developed families and female friendships really makes it seem like my kind of book. 🙂 It’s a shame about the fantasy elements though, the world building is always a big part of books for me so this is something that would have let me down as well.
    Great review Marie. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much, Beth! Yeah, I feel like you would feel the same way about this, knowing your taste and your love for a great fantasy. Still, I’m glad the other elements did not disappoint 😀
      Thank you!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I haven’t heard abou this book, but I think now I can simply pass this? I can understand your main concerns and well, I am more like you 😜 So these things would definitely bother me too.

    But as you said, this story had a great potential, I wish the author has focused much on the SAD part. But atleast we got the nice parents, roght? Often in YA, the children-parent relationship is shown as the flawed one. But I am happy that it was well presented here.
    I hope you love your next read 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This story definitely had a great potential, I’m still a bit sad about the SAD aspect and how it was not more explored. I really missed that and was eager to see it in a book, I’m sad I didn’t have it at all :/
      Still, this book was entertaining and the relationship with the parents was amazing 😀
      Thank you so, so much, Sim! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.