Author: Yvonne Ventresca
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Her father died before she was born, but Ella Benton knows they have a supernatural connection. Since her mother discourages these beliefs, Ella keeps her cemetery visits secret. But she may not be the only one with secrets. Ella’s mother might be lying about how Dad died sixteen years ago. Newfound evidence points to his death in a psychiatric hospital, not as a result of a tragic car accident as her mother always claimed. After a lifetime of just the two of them, Mom suddenly feels like a stranger.
When a handprint much like the one Ella left on her father’s tombstone mysteriously appears on the bathroom mirror, at first she wonders if Dad is warning her of danger as he did once before. If it’s not a warning, could her new too-good-to-be-true boyfriend be responsible for the strange occurrences? Or maybe it’s the grieving building superintendent whose dead daughter strongly resembles Ella? As the unexplained events become more frequent and more sinister, Ella becomes terrified about who—or what—might harm her.
Soon the evidence points to someone else entirely: Ella herself. What if, like her father, she’s suffering from a breakdown? In this second novel from award-winning author Yvonne Ventresca, Ella desperately needs to find answers, no matter how disturbing the truth might be.
Black Flowers, White Lies begins days before Ella’s mother is going to remarry. Ella’s father died before she was born, but she still feels a connection to him. He was her father after all. But Ella’s new step father is a nice enough guy, and he has a charming, attractive, son that Ella meets days before the wedding. It is because of the marriage that Ella starts learning secrets about her father, maybe he wasn’t the great veterinarian everyone thought he was? This question sends Ella down a path full of twists and curves. It turns what could have been a troupe filled story into a psychological thriller that I loved!
Ella is a character you can’t help but root for. She works at her mother’s bookstore, is trying to be a good friend, and LOVES cats! Honestly, LOVES, she wears cat themed shirts for most of the book, which made me like her even more.
The new step-brother, Ella’s best friend, and Ella’s new love interest round out the main cast of characters. And, as more and more creepy things begin happening, you are left to question whether Ella’s father is communicating with her from beyond the grave, Ella is losing her mind, or if these characters are hiding something.
My favorite aspect of Black Flowers, White Lies is that it starts off in one place and ends in a completely different one. What I thought was going to happen was completely wrong. It begins as a troupe-filled parent getting remarried story, morphs into a bit of a romance, and ends like a psychological thriller. I’ll be frank, the ending actually left me a bit scared.
Overall, this was a genuinely good read. I picked this novel up on a whim from Edelweiss and it has become one of my favorites so far this year. If you like a good psychological thriller get this book right meow!
Fun Fact about Black Flowers, White Lies
Yvonne lived in Hoboken, the setting for Black Flowers, White Lies, for many years. She used to walk to the Stevens Institute of Technology to admire the New York City skyline and enjoyed writing the scene that takes place there with Gavin and Ella. They have a beautiful day in chapter 14, but the view is pretty even in the rain.
Her debut YA novel, PANDEMIC, won a 2015 Crystal Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. In PANDEMIC, a teen struggles to survive not only a deadly outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons. Ventresca's other works include the short story “Escape to Orange Blossom,” which was selected for the dystopian anthology PREP FOR DOOM, along with two nonfiction books, PUBLISHING (Careers for the 21st Century) and AVRIL LAVIGNE (People in the News).