Mad Honey: A Novel


Unabridged Audiobook

Ratings
Book
502
Narrator
172
Release Date
October 2022
Duration
15 hours 12 minutes
Summary
GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • A soul-stirring novel about what we choose to keep from our past and what we choose to leave behind, from the New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here and the bestselling author of She’s Not There

Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising their beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined that she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in and taking over her father’s beekeeping business.
 
Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start. 
 
And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can trust him completely. . . .
 
Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in Ash, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.
 
Mad Honey is a riveting novel of suspense, an unforgettable love story, and a moving and powerful exploration of the secrets we keep and the risks we take in order to become ourselves.

*Includes a downloadable PDF of recipes from the book
Reviews
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Anonymous

The description of the book is misleading. If I had known all the topics covered in this book, I would not have read it. I thought this would be an interesting book to listen to with my 13 year old son. Even he rolled his eyes and said, “here we go again.” Why do certain topics have to be forced upon us? Other than that, most of the storylines were good. It could have been a phenomenal book without the trans/gay parts

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Anonymous

Pushing a narrative not impressed

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Charessa S.

** spoiler alert ** It took me a long, LONG time to figure out my feelings for this book. I eventually decided that it just wants to be too much all at once and overall it just frustrated me. It has good social commentary but only a decent story and poor execution/structure. But that social commentary also feels like someone recently researched social justice issues and wants to perform being a good ally by showing just how much they learned all in one go--like I'm reading someone's lecture notes at times, which is so strange given that one of the authors is a trans woman herself. So much has been crammed in that is frankly superfluous and I lost the plot so many times with all the fluff (so much random trivia, a really weird-almost-fetish-y fixation on Lily's body and her sex life with Asher, and the whole subplot of Olivia's romance with Mike; I'll forgive all the beekeeping info-dumping because that was genuinely fascinating). It was like they were desperately wanting some epic tome to come out of this story with that hefty 15-hour listening time. The synopsis alludes to a typical murder mystery that should be cut and dried but I found myself getting to key plot points where there should be immediately-gratifying flashback reveals and wondering "just what the heck is there left to write about that there is THIS MUCH left to read??" It didn't help that Lily's chapters jumped all over the place and some of it didn't feel at all relevant to figuring out her murder. Much of it should have been given to us first, so that we could better understand and empathize with her character and THEN be shocked that she is suddenly dead and we have no idea if it was Asher who killed her or if it was an accident. Just because it's a murder mystery doesn't mean we can't spend time getting to understand our characters first instead of receiving disjointed anecdotes about their life in asynchronous flashbacks intermittently throughout the murder trial that feel way too much like plot convenience instead of genuine character development (which feels disingenuous to the intent to raise awareness about the humanity and authenticity of trans people--particularly trans women). I also just plain hated the ending. It was so unsatisfying, did not match expectations given prior evidence, and was anticlimactic. It felt like an "oh, right, we have to actually reveal how she died" kind of an ending after spending literally 14 hours trying to "solve" it. If the point is to raise awareness about transmisogyny, then why make something so convoluted and contrived? Why was Lily's identity revealed later for shock value, seemingly out of nowhere? Why was it not outright stated that this was about a trans victim in the synopsis--did the writers maybe feel like they didn't want to alienate people before they had a chance to read? Why was literally every single conversation and topic about being trans brought up in this fictional murder mystery instead of just directing readers to (or even writing) a nonfiction title about it since that's what I felt like I was reading at times? I know it was mentioned in the authors' notes that the idea from this book came from a literal dream, but I just feel like there had to have been a better way to structure this story that was easier to keep up with and didn't lose me every other chapter. It's so utterly frustrating, because there is some seriously great commentary here--it's a conversation that desperately needs to be had! It was all just so very poorly executed and I was quite disappointed. If readers came out of it with a better understanding of trans issues, that's wonderful, but I'm worried that the poor structure of it will turn off so many before they get a chance to even get to all the educational info-dumping. As for the narrators, Olivia's was the best of the two in terms of acting and interest. Superb characterization in the voicing! Lily's, while having a lovely voice, was mostly monotonous and I found myself feeling the lull of sleep because I feel their voice is more suited for cozy readings than dramatic ones. Not bad, just not the right fit.

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LCaldwell

I enjoyed the book and it was well written. I do think some of it was needless and could have been shorter. Maybe 10-11 hours instead of 15.

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Hillarie B.

I did not like the subject this book was based on and found the description of the book misleading.

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Anonymous

If I had know what exactly this book was about I would not of spent my money on it.

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Elena C.

This book is incredible. I have a short attention span and I can’t put my phone down. Highly recommend!

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Susan M.

Not my favorite of hers

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Shannon D.

I did not like this book at all.

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Anonymous

Did not enjoy.

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Anonymous

This book was terrible. I couldn’t even bring myself to finish it.

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ReneeDominic

I think Jodi Picoult is an excellent writer, but I was thoroughly disappointed with the normalization of what I believe to be a profound mental, emotional and spiritual disorder. I believe I speak for most readers when I say both authors did a great job of depicting "Lily" in such a way that one could not help growing fond of him (as a teacher, I would have loved this child). Nonetheless, as a Biology/Health Educator who cannot be manipulated into believing that hormones and surgical mutilation can actually change someone's sex, I resent that most who do not have such a background (and even some that do) will buy into the narrative that was so eloquently played out in this book. I made the mistake of starting this book before reading the review or I would not have entertained it. I felt the readers were sucked into a great who-done-it only to find out midway it was really about an agenda. Once the sexual identity of the main character was revealed, the remainder of the book then became a textbook of transgenderism in story form.

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Joni T.

I don’t feel the description of this book is honest about what this is about. I feel like it was well written and they did a good job of educating on being transgender. You should tell people that this is what the book is about so they can make a choice if they want to pay for this. Were you afraid if you included that a major focus was transgender that you wouldn’t sell as many.

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Anonymous

As a mother of a son named Asher with a daughter who plays cello; as well as new keeper of bees, I related to so much in this book. The topics that teens are encountering are very relevant as well. Hopefully I learned from this book in addition to enjoying the writing.

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Molly G.

Well, if I had been aware of the story line before purchasing, I wouldn't have. I absolutely love Jodi Picoult books, Im always waiting for the next read. The story line in this book is not my thing. I did fast forward through a lot of it because I was not interested in details pertaining to the story. However, as always her books are very well written.

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Ed P.

always keep you guessing. and bring perspective

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Patricia M.

good characters. interesting story. too didactic. final ending was gratuitous.

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Carly P.

Great story and narration!

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Kelly P.

great book

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Jan D.

I loved this book! I learned so much and couldn’t put it down.

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Anonymous

This book was predictable.

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NikiCl

I was really counting on this book to be good. It was recommended since I have finished reading The Giver of Stars. This book is nothing like The Giver of Stars so I’m perplexed by the supposed connection. It felt like a mix between a teen romance novel gone wrong and a Law & Order episode.

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Anonymous

The topics in this book are extremely important, but the way it was written felt very repetitive and forced, especially Olivia's inner-monologue. Not to mention, I predicted the ending by the middle of the book. Lastly, I liked the narration for Olivia, but Lily's narration felt line an itch I couldn't scratch. Mildly annoying.

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Anonymous

Unrealistic, bad characters, and makes light of the true depths and struggles of mental illness as if they are temporary and fleeting emotions that can be corrected at whim. Incredibly disappointing that such a well known author would degrade such an important discussion with bee jokes and funny musings rather than talking about what it’s actually like to go through the real issues.

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Anonymous

I feel like the only reason this book has good ratings is because of the agenda that it is pushing. Not impressed at all with the story, especially the ending

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Todd N.

Great book, well written and well read. I enjoyed Mad Honey more than a few of the audiobooks I have listened to lately.

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Rachel E.

An audio book I wanted to do more exercise to continue listening too. Well read. Good plot twists. Enjoyable listen and I learnt a bit too, which is always an added bonus.

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Diana G.

Excellent book club read.

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A.D. Lee

truly amazing!!! I never saw it coming

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Valerie P.

Excellently written and narrated. This book explores the struggles of spousal abuse and transgender people. It explores both issues on a macro and micro level revealing the internal pain and external pains endured. MAD HONEY is a good book to explore and begin to understand the myriad of issues faced by transgender people.

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Patricia C.

Loved this book. Important topic to bring light on. Keeps you guessing until the end. My first audio book. I'm hooked.

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Joni S.

Fantastic listen.

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Kaitlin M.

I’ll admit, at first my opinion resonated with a lot of the reviews on here. I felt that there was opinions being pushed on me (not that I have anything against transgender women, just simply wasn’t prepared for it), but I stuck it out and was pleasantly surprised. The book does a great job of covering the topic of transgender women while also remaining true to the story line. I also was touched and heartbroken to learn Lily’s story of upbringing with her dad. It did a good job of teaching others about the trials, tribulations, and wins of transgender women. I learned a lot that I wasn’t aware of going into the book versus after I read it. While I don’t know that it’s for everyone, if you are someone willing to go into things with an open mind it’s worth the read.

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Anonymous

A bit surprised about Lily out of the blue; that was unexpected. A lot of inessential trans/ cis/ queer info; I would’ve loved hearing more about the bees and that relationship!

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Michelle S.

Good engaging book. Plot twist

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Stephen H.

I must say that it took some time before I really got grabbed by this story. The moment Asher was arrested is when I started being interested as I have always loved a good courtroom drama. However I really fell in love with this story when we discover Lily was a trans. This topic was pretty informative for me and opened my eyes to the differences in the lingo during the conversation with the music store owner and I realized I might have dated a trans before without knowing it. What really stood out though and that's what is most important about this story is that when you love someone, it doesn't matter who you are, who they are, where and how it happens. What matters is that love transcends everything, if you will not fight it. I really loved this story and the audiobook version with the different actors telling each point of view story so well. This is one of my favourite novels in the past 10 years and will always be remembered and cherished lovingly.

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Amy C.

Very well written and narrated. I learned so much about honey, love, life and transsexualism.

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Rekha Mungra

likes it a lot. good storieline. loved the characters. the message to the book wqs really nice. love the mysterie and didnt see the ending coming

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Judy P.

Excellent book. The author sure had me fooled up until the last bit of the book. I love a book that totally fools me !!!!

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Anonymous

ok read

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Heidi G.

I couldn’t put it down. Tragic and heartwarming.

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Anonymous

I loved it! It was so well written and it kept me constantly interested

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Anonymous

Great written book

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Anita G.

There were 2 narrators and I liked the adult one but did not like the teen narrator.

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Christine L.

Sad story, good book. Page turner!

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Jami L.

Great book. Jodi Picoult does a great job writing the story! A must read.

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Anonymous

I had no expectations and had no knowledge of the theme. I enjoyed it very much. A wonderful narrator.

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Anonymous

Enjoyed this book!

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Jean F.

Beautiful book. I couldn't stop listening. Even though I have been done with it for a couple of days, I'm still thinking about the characters.

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Cindy I.

Loved this book. Informative and heartfelt

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Claire A.

I really liked this book. it was nice to get some trans representation

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Amanda D.

I’m glad I chose the audiobook or I likely would have never finished this. It was mediocre but just felt like a run on story back and forth. Could have been shorter.

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Anonymous

Great book, surprise plot, learned a lot. Loved all the little details about bees and the life of a beekeeper

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Cheryl Phipps

I am not usually a fan of Jodi Picoult's books, but I loved this one! It dealt with the reality trans people and those who love them face every day, and it dealt with the reality of being a victim of domestic abuse. It also reminds us what can happen when the justice system decides who is guilty of a crime before investigating all the facts. Blockbuster!!

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KateinSD

I loved everything about this book. The depth of the characters, the switching of times and the great writing and narration all came together so well. One of my favorites!

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Anonymous

Loved it. Great book

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Anonymous

Highly recommend for teachers and healthcare providers. The narrator knocked it out of the ball park! Excellent book!

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sylmcan

Although I should be respecting everyone’s opinion, I am having trouble to understand when someone says this wasn’t a good book. Everyone should read/listen this book! Highly recommended!

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Anonymous

Excellent novel with lots of surprises. I learned a lot about bees and about people and their reactions to differences in others.

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Sue &.

Really enjoyed this book. Found the information on bee keeping fascinating, especially the explanation of mad honey. Narrators were both excellent.

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Susan Y.

Loved it. Totally was expecting a different twist right till the end

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Mary F.

One of the best books I have ever listened to

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Karen H.

I haven’t read a Jodi Picoult I’m a long time. This book was excellent. Such an insightful look at Lily’s life as a transgender. It was written with respect and the story kept me listening, I wasn’t able to put it down. Narrators we’re excellent! Definitely worth it.

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Katie W.

One of my favorite books this year, loved the narrators and the story “behind the story. Highly recommend.

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Dawn M.

Jodi Picoult does it again! This book was beautifully written, and I could not put it down until I finished reading it. As a mother, I felt every emotion the mom in the book was feeling and agonized right along with her!

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