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The Bee Tree by Kenneth Fenter

Saturday, July 30, 2011
The sequel to The Ruin begins a week after Cliff emerges from the Anasazi cliff dwelling with a sense of purpose and dignity to resume his place on the family farm. After a year of solitude, he is eager to make friends. He reaches out to a neighbor, Angelina Martinez, who has befriended him in the past. Their mutual interest in bees lead to the capture of a monster swarm from a bee tree.
As they monitor the tree and prepare to capture the swarm, Angelina tells Cliff of her coming of Age ceremony, the Quince AƱos, and jokingly asks him to be her escort. He accepts in the spirit of the invitation. However, Cliff's father refuses to let him attend because it is a religious observance. In anger, Cliff returns to the cliff dwelling. While there, he is warned in a dream that Angelina is being stalked and is in danger.
Cliff';s newfound confidence, survival instincts, spiritual concepts and personal values are tested to the limit as he struggles to keep Angelina away from a man who intends to destroy them both.

Good Reads Summary

This novel is easily as good as the first in the series, The Ruin.  The reader meets Clifton, aka Cliff, again as a newly changed person.  He has learned much since living for a year in an Anasazi cliff dwelling. 

The author inserts several mini-lessons in the novel for his reader.  The reader will learn more about the Native American way of life and bee-keeping and bee lives.  These will likely interest a reader who enjoys learning new facts and absorbing new information, but it may irritate a reader who would prefer to stick to the general plot line. 

Cliff befriends Angelina, one of his neighbors as well as one of the few people who attempted to befriend him before.  She is an interesting character; she appears quick to forgive and accepting, a perfect friend for Cliff who has more rough edges.  The scenes with Cliff and Angelina are sweet and endearing, it will be obvious to the reader, through the author's careful maneuvering, that Cliff cares deeply for Angelina.  When he has a vivid dream of Angelina in danger from his former bully he goes immediately to help her and keep her from harm's way.

Larry, the antagonist, is mean, nasty, and not likable in the slightest.  The reader will not like this character; however, the author did not mean for this character to be sympathetic.  Larry is essential to the plot as well as to Cliff's life lessons throughout the novel. 

This book is well-written, the characters are all carefully chosen so as to portray the author's message clearly.  The dialogue is interesting enough, the plot is unique, and the characters fit nicely into the plot.  This novel is recommended for adults/young adults who enjoy reading novels containing hard, realistic issues. 

4 Stars