Welcome to my stop on the TBR and Beyond Tours Book Tour for The Secret Garden on 81st Street: A Modern Graphic Retelling of The Secret Garden by Ivy Noelle Weir. The art style looked cute and I’m excited to tell you my thoughts on this modern retelling. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to see the tour schedule for other content creators and their thoughts.
Thank you to Ivy Noelle Weir and Little Brown Books for Young Readers for providing me with an ARC for this review.
Ivy Noelle Weir is a writer of comics and prose. She is the co-creator of the Dwayne McDuffie Award-winning graphic novel Archival Quality (Oni Press), the upcoming The Secret Garden on 81st Street (Little, Brown for Young Readers), and her writing has appeared in anthologies such as Princeless: Girls Rock (Action Lab Entertainment) and Dead Beats (A Wave Blue World). She lives in the greater Boston area with her husband and their two tiny, weird dogs.
About The Book
Title: The Secret Garden on 81st Street: A Modern Graphic Retelling of The Secret Garden
Author: Ivey Noelle Weir
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: October 19th, 2021
Page Length: 256
Genre: Graphic Novel | Contemporary
Age Range: Middle Grade
The Secret Garden with a twist: in this follow-up to Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, this full-color graphic novel moves Mary Lennox to a New York City brownstone, where she and her very first group of friends restore an abandoned rooftop garden…and her uncle’s heart.
Mary Lennox is a loner living in Silicon Valley. With her parents always working, video game and tech become her main source of entertainment and “friends.” When her parents pass away in a tragic accident, she moves to New York City to live with her uncle who she barely knows, and to her surprise, keeps a gadget free home. Looking for comfort in this strange, new reality, Mary discovers an abandoned rooftop garden and an even bigger secret…her cousin who suffers from anxiety. With the help of her new friends, Colin and Dickon, Mary works to restore the garden to its former glory while also learning to grieve, build real friendships, and grow.
Top 5 Reasons to Read The Secret Garden on 81st Street
Content Warning: Grief, panic attacks
I thought this was a going to be a nice cute read – I wasn’t wrong, but it was also so much more. I haven never read the original The Secret Garden, but I don’t think you needed to in order to enjoy the story. I found the characters cute and I could see myself enjoying their story as a younger child.
I think this is a perfect read for a younger audience who many be dealing with a lot of grief or anxiety. I found Weir did a great job at explaining how anxiety and panic attacks can feel. She also did a great job at explaining grief and how every person experiences grief differently. I think this is an important message for this age group – most haven’t experience loss and may not know how to handle their first loss; or they may not understand why another person is dealing with grief differently than them. Both of these are important messages to include in more middle grade material.
I enjoyed the different aspects of gardening in the book. Little tidbits were scattered throughout, plus we learned while Mary learned – although it does not go into great depth, I think it could spike gardening interest in a younger reader – for example, showing the ugly bulb a Lily starts from along with the beautiful flower.
Overall, I thought this was a great graphic novel. It touched on harder subjects and I found myself emotional at times, but the message in the end makes this a great read for the middle grade audience (and others experiencing grief or anxiety).