Book Review

Review: Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin



Rating: 5/5
Audience: Juvenile+, no language, no violence, focus on mental health (specifically schizophrenia)
Length: 245 pages
Author: Cindy Baldwin
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: July 3rd, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Twelve-year-old Della Kelly has lived her whole life in Maryville, North Carolina. She knows how to pick the softest butter beans and sweetest watermelons on her daddy’s farm. She knows ways to keep her spitfire baby sister out of trouble (most of the time). She knows everyone in Maryville, from her best friend Arden to kind newcomer Miss Lorena to the mysterious Bee Lady.

And Della knows what to do when the sickness that landed her mama in the hospital four years ago spirals out of control again, and Mama starts hearing people who aren’t there, scrubbing the kitchen floor until her hands are raw, and waking up at night to cut the black seeds from all the watermelons in the house. With Daddy struggling to save the farm from a record-breaking drought, Della decides it’s up to her to heal Mama for good. And she knows just how she’ll do it: with a jar of the Bee Lady’s magic honey, which has mended the wounds and woes of Maryville for generations.

She doesn’t want to hear the Bee Lady’s truth: that the solution might have less to do with fixing Mama’s brain than with healing Della’s own heart. But as the sweltering summer stretches on, Della must learn—with the help of her family and friends, plus a fingerful of watermelon honey—that love means accepting her mama just as she is.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —


This is a quick-read of a realistic fiction of mental health. At moments it was a bit hard to get through because I personally don’t know how that situation would feel. My heart was in continual pain for the entire Kelly family.

The book is simple in its nature but highlights a struggle that can be found in varying degrees in the world. I thought it was poignant, and that it’s important for books like this to be available for a younger audience.

Everyone has their own degree of mental health triumphs and fears. Della voicing those fears shredded my heart strings. A 12-year old facing so much in loving her Mom, and needing her Mom, but having to act as a Mom herself too often for her age.

A book that is full of topics that need to, and should be discussed. No language and no violence.


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