A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Who knew reading about grub lichen, Virginia creeper, and sunflowers could be fun? The joy Mimosa's character takes in her sharing her knowledge of plants and flowers is infectious. A serious storyline in The Secret of a Heart Note involves Court's life-threatening allergy to bees and nuts. Readers are shown what needs to be done if a friend goes into anaphylactic shock.
Finding your own path in life doesn't mean you're betraying the people who love you.
Positive Role Models
Mimosa's proud of her artsy science nerd side and isn't about to change simply to fit in at school. As the story begins, Mimosa's best friend, Kali, is afraid of what her classmates will think if they find out she's gay, but gathers her courage and decides on a very public coming out.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A few kisses.
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Products & Purchases
A limited number of discreet mentions of products like Doritos and Tylenol.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Stacey Lee's The Secret of a Heart Note is the story of 15-year-old Mimosa and the extraordinary gift she shares with her mother. They are the last in a centuries-old line of aromateurs, women whose hypersensitive sense of smell lets them create elixirs that help people fall in (and out of) love. Unfortunately, family lore holds that if an aromateur falls in love herself, she will lose her gift. This presents a heartrending conflict for Mimosa, who wants to be a normal high school student hanging out with friends, playing sports and most of all, having a boyfriend. A diverse cast of characters (African-American, Asian, Latina, and Samoan) is seamlessly woven into the story. Mimosa's passion for plants and flowers is certain to engage even science-hating readers. This is a coming-of-age romance with no sex, violence, profanity, drinking, smoking or drugs. As with Lee's previous novels, Under a Painted Sky and Outrun the Moon, the female characters are both relatable and empowering.
Is It Any Good?
This offbeat and engaging coming-of-age novel is an utterly captivating and sometimes zany mixture of romance, fantasy, and the challenges of contemporary teen life. While a plot line built around magical elixirs may seem a bit far fetched, the story is grounded by the smart and relatable character of Mimosa. Readers who are fans of fantasy will love elements like the potion Mimosa sprays on boys to keep them from falling in love with her. Readers looking for a darker story that tackles issues around drugs or teen sex should look elsewhere.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.