By: Bren MacDibble
Genre: YFA - Classic fiction (Children's/Teenage)
Published by: Allen & Unwin
Published: 27/04/2017
ISBN: 9781760294335


Sometimes bees get too big to be up in the branches, sometimes they fall and break their bones. This week both happened and Foreman said, 'Tomorrow we'll find two new bees.' Peony lives with her sister and grandfather on a fruit farm outside the city. In a world where real bees are extinct, the quickest, bravest kids climb the fruit trees and pollinate the flowers by hand.

All Peony really wants is to be a bee. Life on the farm is a scrabble, but there is enough to eat and a place to sleep, and there is love. Then Peony's mother arrives to take her away from everything she has ever known, and all Peony's grit and quick thinking might not be enough to keep her safe.

How To Bee is a beautiful and fierce novel for younger readers, and the voice of Peony will stay with you long after you read the last page.


Set in a ‘near-future’ world, where bees are extinct and people struggle to survive after a famine, our main character Peony is a shining light.

She lives on a fruit farm outside the city with her sister and grandfather. And even though life is tough, they have a roof over their head, just enough food to eat, and endless amounts of love. Her mother works in the harsh, unforgiving city trying to earn a living. So when she decides that Peony should join her, Peony uses all her fierce grit and determination to try and stop this.

Unsuccessful in her bid to stay on the farm, Peony finds herself working with her mother at the sprawling home of the rich Pasquale family. They have a daughter Esmeralda, with whom Peony eventually forms an unlikely bond and friendship with.

Peony is a young girl who is street smart and far wiser than her years, and you will fall in love with her. The story is at times confronting, and you will find yourself cheering Peony on against those who want her to do things that she doesn’t want to do.

A wonderful read for those 9+.

Reviewed by Sam