When life becomes unbearable, four teens turn to one another for support in this emotional drama.
Unloved by her wealthy parents, depressed teen Chloe Campbell decides to take her own life. The suicide attempt is unsuccessful but does result in placement at the branch of Sacred Heart group homes reserved for teens dealing with trauma. There, she connects deeply with the other three residents who are similarly unwanted, uncared for, and misunderstood, and they quickly dub themselves the Wildflowers as a nod to their persistence and capacity for growth. The adolescents encourage each other to work through their pain and overcome struggles with frequent inspirational lectures. A will-they-won’t-they romance blossoms against all odds but is tested when the Wildflowers experience a devastating loss. The resulting turmoil brings new opportunities for trauma into the mix, and the teens face their most difficult season yet. Shining a light on mental health issues and structural abuse is important, but readers are left to puzzle over unanswered questions. The dialogue is wooden and peppered with curse words in a futile attempt to make the characters sound more authentically like teenagers. The Wildflowers are assumed white; one of them is gay and was rejected by his homophobic parents.
A strong message of hope in the face of adversity is overshadowed by stilted prose and a contrived plot. (letter to the reader) (Fiction. 14-18)