Book Review: Dogwood by Lindsay Parnell // Being a Ninja Book Box Reader

Dogwood - Linsay Parnell.jpg

As well as a book review, I’ve got some exciting news to share with you today…. I’m an official Ninja Book Box reader… but more on that after my review of Dogwood.

From the back cover:

“You’d think she was an angel if she wasn’t always flying so close to hell.”

Released from prison on probation, 19-year-old Harper Haley returns to the brutal, sweaty, dogwood scented landscape of her youth. Chronicling her homecoming and struggle for rehabilitation, this is the story of one girl’s sin, guilt and resurrection.

At the heart of the novel is the dangerous, obsessive sisterhood between Harper and her childhood friends Collier, a seductively destructive debutante, and Caro, a jaded dreamer yearning for escape. As Harper backslides into a violent cycle of sex, drugs and abuse, the sisterhood at the core of her identity, and of the story, begins to unravel.

Climaxing in the confession of the act that irreversibly altered her life and those closest to her, Dogwood is Harper’s story, the one she can’t forget and the one she cannot speak.

My Thoughts:

When I read the blurb for this book, I thought it sounded like my kind of read, however, my connection with this book ended at the blurb.

Firstly, I couldn’t connect with the structure and writing style – the rawness of Harper came through as did the nature of Collier and Caro but the story felt somewhat stunted. It did jump back and forth between the childhood friends at different ages and that was okay, the prose itself just felt stagnant and prevented me from ever really getting in the flow of reading it.

Interspersed throughout the novel is Harper’s letter to her younger brother, Job, these were my favourite parts of the novel because it was the only time the character of Harper came across as genuine and somewhat likable.

In one way or another, the characters in this book are damaged but this did not read as “the story of one girl’s sin, guilt and resurrection.” It was more a tale of three girls consistently drinking, popping pills, throwing up and people hitting each other. The tenderness that should have been at the core of this story, the bond of sisterhood, was missing for me. I didn’t feel the friends compassion for each other at all. The only element of compassion I saw were from Harper to her little brother, Job, and that’s why her letter to her brother was my favourite part of the novel.

I could see the potential in Dogwood, the vulnerability, the raw beauty the narrative voice was meant to portray but unfortunately, it was all overshadowed by the constant drinking and vomiting, it was just too much – give me a book full of bloody murders any day over these excessive descriptions of young girls throwing up!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

*My thanks to Ninja Book Box for providing me with a copy of this book*

Ninja Book Box:

Ninja Book Box Logo

Ninja Book Box is a quarterly book box subscription:

“Each box features titles from independent publishers across a variety of genres including (but not limited to) contemporary fiction, graphic novels, science fiction, mystery, historical fiction and fantasy. If you’re not sure what we mean by independent we posted about it. We aim to bring you the new favourite authors you didn’t know you were looking for, along with an immersive reading experience enhanced by the additional items in each box. Each quarter your box will contain one independently published book plus at least 2 gifts and additional items and an invitation to join our private book group and talk all things bookish!”

So what does it mean to be an Ninja Book Box Reader:

Ninja Book Box want to ensure they deliver the best books in their boxes and this means reading a whole lot of books! To ensure they cover the range of literature from Independent publishers, they have taken on board 2 ninja readers and I am lucky enough to be one of them. Each month I will read one or two books provided by them and feedback on whether or not I think the book is box-worthy. If I think it is, I send it back to them to read and it may or may not end up being selected for one of their boxes.

I hope to post about all the books I read on my blog but depending on whether the book is being considered for the box or their book club, will depend on the time-frame in which I share my review as I will NEVER spoil the book for subscribers.

More information about Ninja Book Box can be found at:


Instagram: ninjabookbox

Twitter: @NinjaBookBox

Facebook: Ninja Book Box

I would like to thank Ninja Book Box for this opportunity and I’m looking forward to discovering some great books!

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Dogwood by Lindsay Parnell // Being a Ninja Book Box Reader

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