Mad Honey

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan Book Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Alternatingly heart-pounding and heartbreaking. This collaboration between two best-selling authors seamlessly weaves together Olivia and Lily’s journeys, creating a provocative exploration of the strength that love and acceptance require.”—The Washington Post

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 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.

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan Book Reviews

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Excellent! I couldn’t put it down. It also makes you think a lot about a certain subject.

Loved this story, the main character, and the struggles she faced.

The story opens the eyes of the reader to help understand the struggles of a trans person, but more importantly than that, it shows that loving someone based on who they are, not what they are is what life is about. Couldn’t put the book Down.

Great premise and great characters but became repetitive within the story. Absolutely interesting to read in the first person their individual views of life, just not that compelling after about the first half of the book. The ending was completely not plausible, bottom line, waste of money to buy but if you can get from the library, go for it.

A great book. Wonderful character and story development.

Jodi tells this story from two characters starting on the day of a life changing event. Olivia goes forward in time and Lily goes back. A truly insightful and compelling story that is portrayed through the lens of the character. This book will absolutely change your perspective. Thank you Jodi

Will recommend it

Very interesting book!!

Why I love Jodi so much, you hear a topic in the news, you are in high school when an active school massacre happens and you think you know where you stand on these topics. Until you read a novel of the other side and you find yourself questioning where do you really stand? These days people are so closed minded and you’re afraid to even voice your opinions for fear of resentment or arguments yet Jodi has the ability to make you question yourself and see a different side and fall in love with each character. This is why I love her stories. There’s also ALWAYS a gasp as I read them. Some crazy surprise you were not expecting and always tears, happy and sad. Thank you for pushing the limits and always providing a different side and making me question which side I’m truly on. It makes me grow as a human and gives me new found respect for someone else, every time.

A little boring at times and a very unrealistic ending.

Good story with a well done perspective. But, the ending was so hurried that it didn’t get its due justice.

I learned a lot about the experience of being gender different and how it can affect someone’s whole existence. I found the book to be very interesting and helpful.

You learn to love all the characters in this story and you’ll turn the pages quickly to find out how everything unfolds. The ending you truly won’t see coming but it will pull everything together to make so much sense.

Made it easy to empathize with hurdles transgender people constantly have to conquer. Educates regarding the many diverging paths sexual orientation can have, not just male or female. Too many bee keeping details. Anita Anita

I had no idea what this book was going to be about and was beyond stunned by all the twists and turns. Absolutely AMAZING and should be read by everyone. I couldn’t recommend it more.

I wanted a murder mystery…..this book’s purpose is to raise Trans support of children. A quote”luckily my mother allowed me to start testosterone blockers at age 14” Synopsis is purposely misleading.

If I would have, I would have passed on the book. But I thoroughly enjoyed learning about bees. Ms. Picoult is an excellent writer. I just didn’t care for the subject matter.

Amazing. As always. Jodi never disappoints. I loved simultaneously learning about bees and beekeeping while following along to this beautifully tragic story that happens all too often. 12/10 couldn’t put it down

Great story. So prevalent to where we find ourselves today in this world. This was a sad, heartbreaking story of hope. When the story ends, the reader has been educated on the intricacies of gender and what it truly means.

Loved this book and the unexpected turns it took. Did not want it to end!

Well worth your time. The knowledge that is bestowed regarding people who are transgender is so worth the read despite the parts that seem too long and repetitive. You will also learn a lot about honey, the wonderful kind, as well as about the mad kind which seems to manifest itself in abusive human males.

I loved every moment of this story and couldn’t put it down. I loved the characters, but I especially loved Lily. I’ve learned so much about what it means to be trans gender, and I now have an ever growing and much deeper understanding of a community of fellow humanbeings striving to be true to themselves, with this author’s revealing glimps of what they battle each day in order to do so.

I admit that while I pride myself in being open and accepting, I’m not infallible. I am unable to see or truly understand something that I’ve never been part of or having known someone trans. I cried so much, learned so many things and enjoyed the different perspectives of these characters! Two authors who created a story that so beautifully intertwined together, that I couldn’t stop reading until it was finished. Loved every page of this book!

What I love about all of Jodi Picoult’s books is the layering of subjects. It’s like reading several genres in one novel.

This book has a lot of potential. The plot was good. The characters were good. The settings and everything was good. The only thing I absolutely hated was the amount of information in the book. I was here for the mystery and court room drama part of this book… I was noooot here for the manuals of information on bees and the lgtbq+ life. I skipped through soooo much of this book to actually read the plot.

…This was not just an engaging novel, it’s a heart-and-mind opening guide to understanding that every cis person should read. Thank you for writing it, thank you to the friend who recommended it. 💙

This book was informative where bees were concerned. A bonus! Was enlightening to learn how children, as well as adults, grapple with family and friends’ reactions to their lifestyle. It was heartbreaking and loving. I will not reveal the surprising twist in the book as other reviewers have. I just recommend this book highly. As a grandparent, I learned how to react, speak with (should the need arise) to my grandkids if/when they are confronted with this type of situation with themselves or their friends. As a Christian, I will not judge, I will simply listen, accept and love.

If I could give it 0 stars I would. I was not looking for a political agenda

First, this book (as you learn at the end from the 2 authors) comes from both women wanting to speak their truth with a truly talented co-author. Their final, layered story will not only challenge whatever you think you know about other people’s choices and why they make them. The interwoven thread of bees lives and the use of their honey is fascinating! A must read!

I read the reviews for this book after I had already bought it. And as a Christian, I had concerns about the transgender aspect of the book. However, I decided to try to read it anyways. I was pleasantly surprised when I fell in love with the book and ALL of the characters. This book perfectly portrays how we should love others for WHO they are and not WHAT they are. Highly recommend to any and all people.

A wonderfully told story that drew me in and kept me engrossed from beginning to end. To talk about the specifics would be to give away the plot, so I will say no more.

The half about the bees/honey could be left out IMO. thought the twists were exciting. Slightly woke. Wouldn’t read if you’re conservative

I learned so much about Transgender in this book! It was well researched and explained in a compassionate way! With 12 grandchildren and 3 great-grands it’s good information to have so you can help dispel ignorant opinions about people who are different! Thanks to Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Boylan for writing this! Elaine I Hampton NH

I generally like Jodi Piccoult, and I did enjoy the deep dives into beekeeping and transgender issues, however, the resolution in this story is beyond incredulity. Totally out of left field to have the “best friend” of both main characters not only be the killer but to remain silent while her “best friend since I was six” gets arrested and tried for murder. Just No.

Hard to put down. I’ve never had a book make me want to cry when it’s finished until this. Loved all the bee facts as well.

I’m a fan of Jodi’s work and often grab her latest without reading the blurb, like I did with Mad Honey! It was super interesting and unputdownable from the fist sentence; and me having no knowledge of its subject matter made THE pivotal moment even more impactful! Really great characters and definitely a book club discussion must-read!

Transgender is main topic. Whole story line ends up revolving around it. I

Mad Honey started out well, but was ruined by the woke, regressive, political agenda of transgenderism. It’s no surprise that “transgender” was not mentioned in the book summary as the authors and publisher knew it would not appeal to the authors’ primary audiences. The deceitful attempt to force and normalize this lifestyle on unsuspecting consumers is not only sickening, it’s evil. At least have the decency to give consumers the choice before they waste their hard earned money on a political agenda they don’t agree with or support.

I loved this story so much I couldn’t put it down.

It was a good story, with important points, but I caught multiple spelling or grammar errors and it threw me off. I didn’t fall in love with the characters or anything, it was just intriguing enough to keep reading though.

Such a good book. Couldn’t wait to get back to it every night. The ending seemed a little lame, but overall is was excellent.

If learning about a new subject (to me at least), I would give this book an A+. Unfortunately I had the feeling that I was also reading a teenage romance novel. Since the main characters are teenagers, maybe that is to be expected. But I would have enjoyed learning more about Ava’s angst (Lily’s mother) learning that her son identified with being a girl at a young age and the decision to have surgery.

Book became a lecture about the LGBT community halfway and touched on so many different social issues that it didn’t resonate or seem realistic. Just felt forced.

Was getting good until it took the transgender turn. Couldn’t read anymore after that.

This book started out really strong and had a great twist mid-way. But the timeline felt choppy and repetitive as it progressed, and the ending was unsatisfying and unrealistic.

I was enthralled, a beautiful story about love……and revealing truths

I devoured this story over the course of 2 days. Great characters, engaging plot! One of the best books I read this year.

It was ok. Kinda dragged a bit and too many topics in one book. Jumped all over the place. I dragged to finish it.

Really made you think about what people will do to survive. Enjoyed the compelling storyline.

Kind of boring, and you’ll learn more about honey bees than you ever wanted to know. I started skipping over the bee tending parts.

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What a wonderful experience it was to read this book. Be prepared to learn some things not only about beekeeping but also about human beings (including yourself) Don’t miss the authors’ notes at the end. It makes the story that much more amazing!

My Review: Loved!!!!! It definitely lived up to all the hype. It was hands down my top read of the year. Maybe even ever!!!!! I don’t know how any author is going to top this one. So, I want to start off by saying that Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite writers of all time. I just love her books so much. I have read many of her books and they all have been such a joy to read. Whenever I pick up one of her books I get so lost in them. I lose all track of my surroundings and time. Like a tornado could hit and I wouldn’t even notice. I also have to make sure I have everything done beforehand otherwise nothing will get done until I’m finished with the book. Let’s talk about this book for a minute. What a brilliant story. The characters were all phenomenal and they blended so well together to make this a fantastic and beautiful read. Jodi Picoult took a hard topic and wrote it with such a gentle touch. I was in tears and very emotional during most of this book. Tissues were by my side during most of this read. This book was part mystery, part love story, and part learning who you are all wrapped up in one. This book had it all. Once again Jodi Picoult writes a gripping and compelling read that I would totally recommend. In conclusion, the plot, the characters and all the twists in this book made this book an enjoyable read. I would definitely recommend it and happily give it 5 Hearts❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Very disappointed in this book. Read for entertainment and instead felt that someone was pushing their agenda on me. Not interested in transsexuals and recipes for honey.

This is a very thought provoking book. Without giving anything away it opened my eyes to the journey many people face regarding their true self. However, the ending felt very unjust and I felt angry about the final lack of accountability for one character. She destroyed so many lives and basically faced no consequences while the lives of others were permanently changed in a heartbreaking and permanent manner.


This book is about Olivia, who has divorced Asher's father due to domestic violence. Olivia is worried that Asher could have inherited his father's tendencies. This book is about Asher who falls in love with Lily, who is found dead from a traumatic fall. This book is about Lily and her mother, Ava. Ava, who only wants her child to have a meaningful life and relocates the both of them to get away from Lily's father. This book is about a murder trial with Asher facing a lifetime in prison and the secret that Lily and her mother have kept from the community. This book dropped me in my tracks, completely surprised me and I barely caught my jaw before it hit the floor. Using a mix of past and present, the events that lead up to Lily's death is parceled out to the reader, resulting in a very suspenseful read. Not only is it suspenseful but it is also a book that educates. Once again, the author tackles a volatile issue that is prominent in the United States today. I give kudos to the authors for opening my eyes and "hearing" what needs to be said in regards to our world today. I have written an honest review in exchange for the DARC I received from Penguin Random House and NetGalley.

Disappointing ending. Usually the endings of Picoult’s books leave you thinking—this one was flat. But after Chapter 4, how much more plot excitement could there be?

This is a must-read book. I am amazed at the nuance with which both authors discuss these topics. I was in tears reading about these complex, beautiful characters. 5/5 from me. Everyone should read this.

Definitely better than her last 2 books, but it’s still not on the same level as a lot of her older books. Maybe it has to do with this one having a coauthor. Gerald a decent read, just not my favorite.

Olivia and Asher move back to her family’s farm in New Hampshire after her father died of a heart attack. She has to take over the bee hives as no one else in her family has the knowledge. When Asher is a senior in high school, he dates Lily. Asher as a Christmas present for Lily surprises her with her estranged dad. Lily is upset, is offended, and can’t believe he has done that. After that meetup, Lily is out of school because she is sick and refuses to respond to Asher’s text. When Asher goes to check on her, he finds her dead at the bottom of the stairs. But is it what it appears? Did he really kill her or was he the one who just found her? Will he be accused of murder? A deeply emotional story that will have you turning pages to find out Asher’s fate. Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan take heavy hitting/controversial topics and weave them into a powerful story. It’s not an easy read and very emotional. Not a book that everyone would enjoy, but would make for a great book club pick!

Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan - Mad Honey Comments

About Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan Wiki

Jennifer Finney Boylan (born June 22, 1958) is a bestselling author, transgender activist, professor at Barnard College, and a former contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. Early life and education Boylan was born in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, and graduated from The Haverford School, a private prep school in Haverford, Pennsylvania, in 1976. She graduated from Wesleyan University in 1980, then completed graduate work in English at Johns Hopkins University. Career Boylan was on the faculty of Colby College from 1988 to 2014. In 2000, she was named "Professor of the Year" at Colby College. She moved to Barnard in 2014, where she is both Professor of English and Anna Quindlen Writer-in-Residence.Boylan has written thirteen books, including novels, collections of short stories, and her memoir. Her 2003 memoir, She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders was the first book published by an openly transgender American to become a bestseller and was described by The Advocate as "a ....

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