The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden by Karina Yan Glaser

Here I am reading the sequel before I've the first in the series. I was going to wait for a library copy to arrive and finish it first, but decided to see if it would stand on it's own. I recieved my digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Here's the synopses from GoodReads:

Return to Harlem's "wildly entertaining" family in this funny, heartwarming sequel. When catastrophe strikes their beloved upstairs neighbors, the Vanderbeeker children set out to build the best, most magical healing garden in Harlem—in spite of a locked fence, thistles and trash, and the conflicting plans of a wealthy real estate developer.

While Isa is off at sleepaway orchestra camp, Jessie, Oliver, Hyacinth, and Laney are stuck at home in the brownstone with nothing to do but get on one another’s nerves. But when catastrophe strikes their beloved upstairs neighbor, their sleepy summer transforms in an instant as the Vanderbeeker children band together to do what they do best: make a plan. They will create the most magical healing garden in all of Harlem.

In this companion to The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, experience the warmth of a family and their community as they work together to bring a little more beauty and kindness to the world, one thwarted plan at a time.

I am charmed by the Vanderbeekers, a biracial family living in Harlem. The children, Oliver, Jesse, Hyacinth and Laney are stuck at home for the summer while Isa is away at orchestra camp. When Mr Jeet, their elderly upstairs neighbour, has another stroke and ends up in the hospital, they come up with a plan to rejuvenate the church garden as a surprise. Triple J, the pastor, said he thought a garden would be a good idea, so they sort of have permission. Unfortunately, while he is away on a family emergency, nefarious plans are afoot. 

The Vanderbeekers are a delightful collection of quirky characters. There is an abundance of love all around them.  I love the connection between generations. I love that although there is some tension between Oliver and Herman Huxley, a boy in the neighbourhood, this is resolved positively. I adore that both Hyacinth and Herman are knitters. Fans of the The Penderwicks are sure to enjoy this. 

My only quibble with the book is that Black Eyed Susan seeds are sown and bloom in less than 18 days. This scientific impossibly irked me because the story would have been satisfying enough had they only been shown to germinate: a far more plausible reality. Nonetheless, I'm still looking forward to reading the first in the series. 

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