Juniper, Gentian & Rosemary

Juniper, Gentian & Rosemary

Book - 1998
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The lives of three sisters become complicated when they encounter a mysterious young man who asks for help with a complex science project.
Publisher: New York : Tor : Distributed in the U.S. by St. Martin's Press, 1998
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780312860042
Call Number: SF Dean Pam
Characteristics: 350 p. ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary


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Sep 06, 2017

When a new house suddenly goes up in the vacant lot next door, Gentian and her sisters Juniper and Rosemary are naturally intrigued. Though the three are initially excited that something interesting is happening in their Minneapolis neighborhood, they're gradually disillusioned as the only person to emerge from the house is Dominic, a weirdly off-putting teenage boy, who chooses to speak only in literary quotes. To make matters worse, Gentian's treasured attic telescope begins to malfunction, displaying images of the house next door rather than the heavens.

There were a number of things that irritated me about this book. Foremost, though they attend a "progressive" school and Gentian's parents are admittedly somewhat offbeat, the profound behavior, interests, internal monologues, and conversations of this collection of kids in their early teens require a serious suspension of disbelief. Also disorienting was the author's writing style and choice of phrase, which felt foreign (British?) though the author, like me, hails from Minnesota (to be fair, perhaps she isn't a native). Ultimately, very little of interest occurred until the final 50 pages of the story, and even then the "twist" ending was weird, vague and unsatisfactory.

Interestingly, I experienced a case of synchronicity or what I've decided to call Literary Baader-Meinhof Phenomena while reading this book: Though published in 1998, on page 187 Gentian makes a reference to the 2017 solar eclipse, and I just so happened to read that page just four days after observing the 2017 eclipse myself.


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