“This novel is a powerful testimony—inspiring and tear-jerking at times—to the plight of refugees looking forward to a new life while attempting not to forget those they met in the journey and had to leave behind. Poignant.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“The Garden may be Meghan Ferrari’s first book but she draws on her expertise in Social Justice Education to tell a convincing tale about one teen’s experiences in the Syrian War, in a Lebanese refugee camp and as a new immigrant to Canada. Elias’s disquieting realities, living in fear, with memories of the past and with his prospects for the future, are palpable, drenched in grief and trauma. Fortunately for Elias, a garden was and is his salvation, taking his story from one of war and loss, and culture shock and bullying, to the beginnings of healing, and Meghan Ferrari makes sure to let us observe Elias on his odyssey.
— CanLit for LittleCanadians
“The chapters alternate in setting, first between Syria and Canada, then between a refugee camp in Lebanon and Canada. One might expect the Syria and Lebanon sections to be presented in the past tense, with the Canadian sections in the present, but the entire novel is in the present. Switching back and forth from then to now is a smart narrative choice, not only because it allows for cliff-hangers that make readers want to read on, but also because it gives readers a respite after chapters full of action, drama and tension.
— CM Magazine
“This novel, for all its brevity and simplicity of prose style, is emotionally hard-hitting. . . This is an excellent debut novel, and, it is to be hoped, a forerunner of more to come from this powerful new voice in Canadian YA literature.”
Rating: E – Excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!
— Resource Links
“The Garden is a poignant yet inspiring young adult novel. . . A deftly written, entertaining, thoughtful and thought-provoking novel, The Garden is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to school and community library YA Fiction collections.”
— Midwest Book Review
“What did you like about the book? The drama of being a new kid at school is very realistically portrayed (the poor kid even finds himself the victim of bullying), and there is even a bit of humor to moderate the seriousness of the story.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? This one is for kids age 12 and up who are comfortable with the realistic portrayal of war.
Rating: 4 or 5″
— Youth Services Book Review
Average Amazon Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and Inspiring
This powerful story challenged me to consider the past and present hardships faced by newcomers to Canada. The author has created a compelling narrative that unfolds chapter by chapter, alternating between Elias’s experiences fleeing the civil war in Syria, and his parallel struggles upon adjusting to life in Canada. Though written for young audiences, I believe the novel will provoke important discussions within classrooms, around dinner tables, and at book clubs. Its 120 pages hold a great deal of emotion and insight into the human capacity for nurturing one another amidst adversity.