The Best of the Best Books for Social Change We Read in 2022: Mad Honey By Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

Want to meet characters you’ll never forget? Read this book. Want to open your mind and heart and challenge your thoughts and preconceived judgements? Read this book. Want to explore current, relevant, important worldly topics to educate yourself and challenge bias? Read this book. Want to feel something and be forever changed? Read this book~Lindsay

Jodi Picoult is no stranger to her books being banned for those “hot current topics” that stir up some intense emotions in people. The kind I love to delve into, making Jodi Picoult one of my favorites. While she is commercialized and mass produced that can be a put off and she often is overlooked for the messages she creates in her stories. She is outspoken, does her research and is well informed about the topics she writes about. Does she always get it right or wrong according to an opinion is not the point. It’s all about how she gets people thinking and talking, seeing something different than you did before.

In Mad Honey she teams up with Jennifer Finney Boylan and they create an emotional driven thought provoking, informative story that challenged Lindsay’s and my thoughts on a very timing social topic. One that Jodi Picoult is sure will be added to that list of banned books. While it should invoke compassion and understanding, will liking spread some hate as well.

It all started with a tweet by Jennifer Finney Boylan about a dream she had of co-writing a book with Jodi Picoult. I am not familiar with Jennifer Finney Boylan writing and at first was confused as to what “hot topic” or if there was one as it is not revealed till the halfway mark. While I am not a fan of hot topics being used as a twist, there is a reason this is done. Unfortunately not one everyone will pick up on. ~ Brenda

Jodi Picoult is a long time favourite author of mine. When I heard she was co-authoring this latest novel, I was somewhat hesitant as I felt it couldn’t possibly be a seamless piece of work and completely live up to her standard. Lucky for me, a gorgeous gifted finished copy landed in my mailbox from the publisher which gave me the push I needed to read it. Two words: Life changing! ~ Lindsay

Lindsay’s two cents

Shocking and emotional. Heartbreaking and eye-opening. Thought-provoking and inspiring.

I won’t comment on anything to do with the synopsis other than bees and beekeeping are a subtopic. The beekeeping world held very little appeal to me before reading this, so if you feel similar to me, please don’t let that deter you from this highly impactful and truly unforgettable story. In true Jodi Picoult style, I was fascinated by the beekeeping facts and amazed at how it could be related to many life topics. There are several heavy and sensitive topics explored within these pages but these topics need the reader to be unaware going in. Not for shock factor, but simply so the reader can grow with the characters in the story instead of knowing what to expect.

Upon finishing this novel, my heart is full, sad, open, hopeful. I didn’t want this story to end. Bottom line: this is a must read book that is a top 2022 read for me. It’s a highly controversial and incredibly important read.

Brenda’s thoughts and more than my two cents

While I didn’t reveal too much to spoil anything, if you don’t want to know more, skip my thoughts below.

Mad Honey check all the boxes for me while reading a story on social change/justice

A social problem that can divide us, such as gender, race, rights, class prejudice or sensitive topic and is dramatized by how it affects the characters. 

It opens a door through which we can see how social evils affect people.

We see how the past and current events constrain the characters, how that shapes their lives, and how they break free. We see them change with a thread of redemption that shifts the evils against the characters. 

It gives me hope for change, acceptance, justice, compassion, love for everyone, and understanding.

It deals with a sensitive topics in an especially impressive or unique way

The author brings their own voice to the story

Themes: A few themes are going on, acceptance/belonging, love/hate, reinventing yourself, and privacy. However, they are all related and just like real-life complex. The themes open up complex questions that challenge our thoughts, like what things should be kept in the past, what we choose to leave behind, what things about ourselves to keep private and what to share with others, and what can be harmful to others. There is a lot to see here if you open your heart and mind.

Jennifer Finney Boylan brings an interesting structure to the story with chapters from Lily’s perspective by going backward in time. At times I was confused, which distracted me from keeping the timeline of events. Paying attention to Lily’s voice, the clues Lily gives us, and how her story unfolds, the reveal is not as shocking as it might seem. The reveal challenged my assumptions and how I felt about the characters before and after the reveal.

The crime itself and the trail was the weakest part of the story and most of that didn’t add for me and I was starting to lose patience. It dragged longer than it needed to.

Overall: If you love to delve into timely hot topics, challenge your assumptions, and challenge yourself to see something different, this is for you!! 

1 thought on “The Best of the Best Books for Social Change We Read in 2022: Mad Honey By Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan”

  1. I just got the audiobook from my library last week and am trying to fit this one in. After reading your review, I am going to do that this week, for sure. Excellent review ladies and no spoilers!


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