Review: Burying the Honeysuckle Girls

By: Emily Carpenter


Blurb: Althea Bell is an addict with a troubled past and a dying father. There’s a mystery surrounding her trouble mother’s past, and it may be the key to unlocking her own troubles. With a little car theft, a bit more lying, and a lot of help from her childhood friend, this is a dangerous race against the clock ticking towards her thirtieth birthday.

Trigger Warnings:

Ableism, Animal Abuse, Blood, Blackmail, Bullying, Child Abuse, Death, Drug Use (Illicit), Drug Use (Prescription), Elder Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Food, Gore, Gun Violence, Infidelity, Mental Illness, Murder, Off Screen Infidelity, Off Screen Sex, On Screen Sex, Poor Coping Mechanisms, Racism, Suicide, Theft, Unsafe Lifestyle, Unsafe Sex, Violence, Violent Imagery

Body Count: a lot

Overall review:

  • Thoughts:
    • I have to admit, I didn’t want to finish reading this. There was a lot of triggering material in this. Discussion of murder, suicide, drug abuse, underage sexual abuse…the list goes on. The main character, Althea, is a spastic, rather hateful and selfish person who I know I’m supposed to be sympathetic towards. The flashes between first and third person and time jumps made it a bit jittery to read. I kept wanting to root for her, but never actually got there. This is a twisty story, but not one I would actually recommend reading.
  • Was it engaging?
    • Room for improvement
  • Favorite Character:
    • Dove
  • Least Favorite Character:
    • Althea

Rating out of five: 2.0 out of 5

To Read or Not To Read (Again):

Definitely not.

The Technical Specs:

  • Genre
    • Technical Genre: Occult Suspense, Ghost Suspense, Occult Horror
    • Theo Genre: Murder Suspense, Poor Life Choices Fiction
  • Page count: 320 pages
  • POV: Multiple, 1st and limited 3rd
  • Publication information:
    • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B017LGAKEG

Representation, Morality, and Sexism in Media Tests:

  • Bechdel–Wallace Test: Pass
    • Do two female characters talk about something other than a male character?
  • Deggan’s Rule Test: Pass
    • Are there at least two non-white human characters in the main cast in a story not primarily focused on race?
  • DuVernay Test: Pass
    • Are there fully actualized characters of color?
  • Ellen Willis Test: Pass
    • Would two related characters still work to carry the story if their genders were reversed?
  • Mako Mori Test: Pass
    • Is there a female character that gets her own arc?
  • Mary Sue/Gary Stu Test: Pass
    • Is the main character completely flawless and persecuted by other characters needlessly?
    • Take a Mary Sue test here!
  • Sexy Lamp Test: Pass
    • Would the plot fall apart if the female character was replaced by a sexy looking lamp?
    • Post-It Note Caveat:
      • Would the character be able to be replaced by a Sexy Lamp with a sticky note on it for information conveyance?
  • Tauriel Test: Pass
    • Is there at least one woman in the story who is competent in her chosen occupation and not immediately shown up by a newcomer male character?
    • If she has or develops a love interest during the story, either implied or explicitly stated, does she suddenly abandon her job and/or chosen path to support or pursue said love interest?
  • Topside Test: Fail
    • Are there two or more trans characters in the story that know each other and do they talk about anything other than medical transition procedures?
    • I acknowledge that most common media lacks decent trans representation.
  • Vito Russo Test: Fail
    • Is there a character on the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum spectrum who is a character beyond their orientation and do they actually affect the plot and are something beyond a punchline?
      • What does that stand for? Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual/Biromantic/Bigender, Transgender, Queer/Genderqueer, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic/Agender, Pansexual/Panromantic

You can read more about the various Media Tests I employ in my reviews at or by clicking the header on the individual test. Why include all these? Because I can, because representation matters, and because I’m neurotic.

Review format updated 27 April 2020

One thought on “Review: Burying the Honeysuckle Girls

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s