Middle Grade Monday: Where the Watermelons Grow | Cindy Baldwin


Where the Watermelons Grow
Cindy Baldwin
HarperCollins, 2018
Hardcover, 245 pages

Trigger Warnings: Mental health

About the Author: Cindy Baldwin is a fiction writer, essayist, and poet. She grew up in North Carolina and still misses the sweet watermelons and warm accents on a daily basis. As a middle school student, she kept a book under her bathroom sink to read over and over while fixing her hair or brushing her teeth, and she dreams of writing the kind of books readers can’t bear to be without. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and daughter, surrounded by tall trees and wild blackberries.

“The one person who needed Mama healed more than anybody, the one person who couldn’t bear the idea of turning thirteen next year and becoming a teenager without a healthy mama to guide her, the one person who didn’t have anybody else to worry about—that was me. It was up to me now. It was all up to me.”

On a farm in Maryville, North Carolina, Della Kelly’s dad grows the best watermelons around. Sweet, juicy, and crisp, they are Della’s favorite food to eat—until one night she finds her mama painstakingly picking out every single seed from the watermelon in their kitchen.

It’s Mama’s job to keep Della and her baby-sister Mylie safe, but she’s been struggling with schizophrenia for a long time. Some days are easier than others, and it’s been easy for a long time, but now it’s hard and Della has to be strong.

There are some things that the Quigley’s magic honey will never be able to cure. Mama’s schizophrenia is one of those things. In Cindy Baldwin’s debut novel, Where the Watermelons Grow, readers will be confronted by the bittersweet taste of honey that helps you find strength in others when you lack strength of your own. Even in a small town like Maryville, you never have to worry about going through things alone.

PRR Editor, Cheyenne Lopex