ARQ's are Advance Reading Quotes; quotes from an advance reading copy.
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Jessamine Luxson lives with her father, Thomas, an apothecary, in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle. Thomas’s pride and obsession is his locked garden full of dangerous plants, which Jessamine is forbidden to enter.
When a traveler brings an orphan to their cottage, he claims the boy has special gifts that Thomas might value. Jessamine is drawn to the strange but intriguing boy, called Weed. Soon their friendship deepens into love. Finally, Weed shares his secret: He can communicate with plants. For him they have distinct personalities—and some are even murderous. From the locked garden the poisonous plants call to Weed, luring him with promises of deadly power.
When Jessamine falls inexplicably ill, only Weed’s relationship with the Poisons can save her. But Thomas is determined to exploit Weed’s abilities, even if it risks Jessamine’s life—or drives Weed to the brink of madness.…
"The raven screams in fury and takes flight, circling around and swooping low over my head. I fall to the ground and curl in a ball, covering my face with the shawl.
Go ahead, wicked bird, I think, try to peck out my eyes if you can. Even blinded, I will grab you by the throat and never let go. I am that angry an reckless now, and I care nothing for what happens to me...
...Finally I let myself feel all the fear and sorrow in my heart, and my tears are set loose once more."
"What is wrong?" I cry. "What do you hear?"
He shakes his head and lets out a sharp cry of pain. I am afraid, what on earth is happening to him?
"Enough; we will go home," I say, pulling him away from the gate. "You must be exhausted; it is too much for your first day out. Can you make it to the cottage?"
He nods and lets me wrap a supportive arm around his back as he rests his arm upon my shoulder. In this way we make slow progress. With each step we make away from the gate he regains strength.
I am distraught to see him suffer, but there is something thrilling about the way he leans upon me as we make our way home. Even after we enter the cottager and he is nearly himself again, the weight and warmth of Weed's touch seems to linger on my skin."