Title: Black Flowers, White Lies
Author: Yvonne Ventresca
Pub. Date: October 4th, 2016
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Goodreads || B&N || Amazon.ca
Her father died before she was born, but Ella Benton knows they have a supernatural connection. Since her mother discourages these beliefs, Ella keeps her cemetery visits secret. But she may not be the only one with secrets. Ella’s mother might be lying about how Dad died sixteen years ago. Newfound evidence points to his death in a psychiatric hospital, not as a result of a tragic car accident as her mother always claimed. After a lifetime of just the two of them, Mom suddenly feels like a stranger.
When a handprint much like the one Ella left on her father’s tombstone mysteriously appears on the bathroom mirror, at first she wonders if Dad is warning her of danger as he did once before. If it’s not a warning, could her new too-good-to-be-true boyfriend be responsible for the strange occurrences? Or maybe it’s the grieving building superintendent whose dead daughter strongly resembles Ella? As the unexplained events become more frequent and more sinister, Ella becomes terrified about who—or what—might harm her.
Soon the evidence points to someone else entirely: Ella herself. What if, like her father, she’s suffering from a breakdown? In this second novel from award-winning author Yvonne Ventresca, Ella desperately needs to find answers, no matter how disturbing the truth might be.
Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readers—picture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft; stories told with LEGO bricks; books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
Black Flowers, White Lies follows Ella as she struggles to accept her new family, her failing friendships, and how to distinguish what is real. This is a novel that centers on psychological affects and succeeds to be realistic and scary.
Ella my not have met her dad, but she cares for him a lot. No one could replace him, which makes it that much more difficult for Ella to accept Stanley and his son, Blake. To make matters worse? Blake is handsome, and kind, and pulls her out of all these lies because he can’t stand to see Ella fall for something so fake. So maybe she can accept him after all. Especially since he’s so helpful when all these mysterious and terrifying things keep happening to her. Ella learns however, that not everything is as it seems, and that perhaps not everyone is who they say they are.
“I know this even though I never met him. He died before I was born…” (Pg 1)
Ella is a strong believer in the paranormal world because she whole-heartedly believes that her father is watching over her. Ghosts, karma, fate, the universe; they all have possibilities that Ella believes in. She doesn’t tell many people because no one seems to share her belief, until Blake listens and fails to mock her for it. Ella is naive and honest and far too trusting. She is easily freaked out and manipulated, easily pulled in by a kind smile or love for animals. She is an easy target in this novel, and someone takes advantage of that. They twist her world into something dark and dangerous, they frame her and deceive her. Through it all, her belief in the paranormal never seems to waver.
“I can’t help feeling like something momentous has transpired. I’m a believer in karma and fate and the mysterious workings of the universe. As I watch Beautiful Boy walk away, I hope that meeting him again is meant to be.” (Pg 7)
Blake is nice and seems to always be there for Ella when she needs him. But what do we really know about him? He is her step-brother, he’s good looking, he is seriously into psychology, and he has a girlfriend. How is it that the author makes us feel like we know him so well when we really don’t?
Grace is a rather horrible friend. To Ella at least since they have little in common. I was actually glad when we didn’t see much of her after Blake’s introduction.
The writing is smooth and connects perfectly with our main character as it comes off naive just like Ella, and honest and innocent. It helps readers connect with the character and fully see ad understand how her mind works. For the most part, it works well with the story, but at times it seems a tad too childish. As for the plot, it didn’t really pick up until the end where the thrill really comes into place to give us a high-powered ending. Some parts were predictable and others seemed rushed.
Overall, Black Flowers, White Lies is a thrilling, mysterious tale that reads quickly.