Laurel, 14, is a new student at her recently deceased mother's alma mater, a Virginia girls' boarding school. She prepares a presentation on the Victorian language of flowers for her English class and finds that she has a special affinity for the subject. Strong flower scents, some of them undetectable to anyone else, suddenly make her feel "spinny, dizzy, and tingly." If she recites a little verse her mother used to say, "Bright cut flowers, leaves of green, bring about what I have seen," the flowers seem to actualize the sentiments they are meant to symbolize. This is a fine thing when the tussie-mussie Laurel makes for her class presentation apparently causes her teacher, known to the students as Spinster Spenser, to fall in love and marry, but not quite so benign when the bouquets she makes for classmates fall into the wrong hands and attract or repel unintended recipients. Sylvia Suarez, a science teacher, keeper of the school conservatory, and Laurel's mother's onetime classmate, gradually informs the teen that they are both part of a society of "Flowerspeakers," a group that also included Laurel's mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. For centuries, these women have possessed powers similar to Laurel's and will now help her learn to use her own gift. Although the fantasy elements of this novel are not convincing or successful, the book will appeal to fans of boarding-school stories and gentle teen romances.—Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA
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