Mitchell Morrison and Josie Sedgwick have spent their whole lives at the Indian Paintbrush Community Village, a commune full of colorful characters tucked in the mountains of North Carolina, and they aren’t particularly close–at least, not anymore. Josie wishes she could spend all of her time at Paintbrush planting tomatoes, hiking the trails, or throwing giant communal birthday parties, while Mitchell can’t wait to escape the bizarre spiritual sharing and noisy community dinners. Luckily for both of them, high school graduation is just around the corner.
But when Mitchell’s mother makes a scandalous announcement that rocks the close-knit Paintbrush community, and Josie’s younger sister starts to make some dangerously bad decisions, the two find themselves leaning on each other for support – and looking at each other in a whole new light. Their childhood friendship blossoms in to something more as they deal with their insane families, but as graduation approaches, so does life in the real world, forcing Josie and Mitchell to figure out what, exactly, their relationship is – and if it can survive their very different plans for the future.
An ARC has been kindly provided by Blaze Publishing, via NetGalley.com, in exchange for an honest review.
4 charming stars
Charming: : ˈtʃɑːmɪŋ :adjective: charming: very pleasant or attractive. Synonyms: delightful, pleasing, pleasant, …
Well, this story is the epitome of charming. There is just this “little something” that kept me interested and immersed in this sweet story of coming of age.
Paintbrush is Hannah Bucchin’s first published work and I must confess I swooned over the pretty cover. I’m a cover junkie and this was the first trigger.
The second reason why I requested this book was the blurb. It mentioned “a commune full of colorful characters tucked in the mountains of North Carolina”. I love stories talking about tight knit communities and colorful characters. I can read books without big plot as long as the characters are so well portrayed and interesting that they are the stories. I also love “feel good” books from time to time. They give me hope and energy for days! Just to compensate for all the gloomy news we are drowned in every day.
I can now honestly say Paintbrush fit the bill to the T.
Paintbrush is not an action packed/fast paced/intricate plot/high angst read.
Paintbrush is a charming story built around the budding romance between two childhood friends Josie and Mitchell. They know each other since they were toddlers and live in the same community filled with quaint, earthy characters.
“People watching is a prime activity at the Indian Paintbrush Community Village for Sustainable Living”
A few weeks before graduation Mitchell’s mom will make a scandalous announcement that will turn Micthell’s world upside down.
So far Josie and Micthell were just friends but Mitchell’s ordeal will change perceptions.
The authenticity of the story was what I loved most. It broaches topics we all encounter at one point in our lives:
– the path we have to choose for our future;
– the choice to blend in or remain true to who we are;
-forgiving people who hurt us with the hope to heal and not become bitter;
– accepting diversity and respecting other in their choices;
-how to raise your children either letting them make mistakes or controlling their every moves,…
I could go on and on.
Mitchell has always wanted to blend with his school’s crowd. To be “normal” and not some freak living in a “hippie” community. At school he is the Golden Boy, captain of the swimming team, joking with everyone, easy going. He can’t wait to finish high school and leave for college. Leave the community life behind. Even if he loves his people he wants to be “normal” whatever normal is.
“It’s not that I’m embarrassed I like to read books. Or that I’m embarrassed to be seen with Josie. It’s just that I’ve spent my entire life working so hard to be normal. I’m captain of the swim team, I plan pep rallies and dances, and I take as many advanced classes as my schedule will allow.”
Josie was totally different from Mitchell.
She loves her community, loves the lifestyle and does not hide where she comes from. She does not wear make-up has her hair in a braid and outdoor work clothes are her favorite right alongside flowing gowns.
“High school is where people can find their place, when they can find out how to fit into the puzzle. But I don’t have a place, and I don’t have a thing. All I know is that when I’m inside the school walls, the only place I really want to be is outside in the sunshine, gardening with my hands in the dirt, breathing in the fresh air. “
She loves her family, her neighbors, her mountains and does not know what to wish for her future. Would it be so bad to stay at Indian Paintbrush Community? This indecisiveness was a stress in itself when Josie witnessed all her friends preparing to depart for a new beginning.
And when Mitchell’s mom does something shattering his world to pieces he is so angry with her.
Here comes the path to forgiveness. Do we know why others make some choices? As long as we did not walk in their shoes we can’t judge. It is also easier to hold a grudge than forgiving but is it the better choice?
I relished in the characters gallery all very well portrayed and adding layers and colors to the story. Between our two main characters you have Josie’s sisters with Libby being the typical rebel teenager. You have the nature freaks practicing naked yoga every morning for all to see. Grumpy old men smoking weed or polishing their rifle or the couple with seven kids etc. They all help to make the story so vibrant and interesting.
Last but not least the budding romance was very sweet. Mitchell and Josie were touching, both somewhat clumsy in their first love. You’ll have no-dates-dates under starry skies, at the lake, eating junk food in the middle of nowhere. Beating hearts and heads filled with “what if”.
Oh and Mitschell’s speech at graduation day made me really, really want to listen again to “Long Live” by Taylor Swift Long Live
This is one of those perfect stories to charm you when on holiday at the beach or in the mountains.
I hope you’ll give it a chance.