Did you know that flowers have their own special meanings? It’s true! And after learning about the language of flowers in Erin A. Craig’s new book House of Roots and Ruin, we’re inspired to share these YA book recommendations paired with different flowers and their meanings (with a few quotes from the book just for fun). So pick a flower, any flower, and we’ll tell you which YA book you should read. Can’t pick just one? Then consider this a build-your-own bookish bouquet!
Alexander shifted in his chair, leaning in close over the arm, giving the illusion of a private conversation. “There’s an entire language to flowers.”
“A language?” I repeated, instantly intrigued.
“If you knew their meanings, we could have an entire conversation between us without ever having to say a word."
If you like cistaceae (a.k.a., rock-roses), we recommend reading House of Roots and Ruin by Erin A. Craig.
Meaning: Of this I am most certain.
We are most certain you’ll enjoy reading House of Roots and Ruin! It’s got a little bit of everything—Gothic, thriller, and fantasy elements; a doomed love story; a curse; ghosts! Not to mention all the cool and sometimes creepy facts about plants scattered throughout the story for any budding botanists and struggling plant-parents alike.
The book offered only one definition.
“Cistaceae,” I said, and traced its phrase, a smile growing deep in my heart. “Of this I am most certain.”
He was certain.
I felt all of the anxieties that had spent the afternoon building within me drop away, like racing water falling over the edge of a cliff.
He was certain.
If you like starwort (a.k.a. aster or frost flower), we recommend reading House Party edited by Justin A. Reynolds.
Meaning: To welcome a stranger
We welcome you, stranger, to read House Party edited by Justin A. Reynolds. It’s the story of the most epic house party that takes place before a group of seniors graduate, and it’s written by a host of your favorite YA authors! Consider this your formal invitation.
"Like”—he pointed toward the bouquet at the center of the table—“the bright white flowers near the top? Those are called starworts. They’re meant to welcome a stranger.”
Dauphine nodded. “I had one of the gardeners add them in once I knew you’d be joining us tonight.”
If you like heliotropes, we recommend reading Didn’t See That Coming by Jesse Q. Sutanto.
We think you’ll fall for the story of budding love and devotion in Didn’t See That Coming by Jesse Q. Sutanto where two devoted video gamers finally meet IRL.
“And those purple flowers?”
“Those are heliotropes,” Gerard explained. “I picked them myself this morning, for Dauphine.” He gave her a wink.
“They’re meant to show devotion.”
If you like Euphorbia marginata (a.k.a., snow-on-the-mountains), we recommend reading The Wicked Unseen by Gigi Griffis.
Flower: Euphorbia marginata
Fans of poisonous plants such as euphorbia will dig The Wicked Unseen by Gigi Giffis where a tenacious new girl in town goes deep into her town’s secrets and occult mysteries to find her missing crush.
“What does Euphorbia mean?” I whispered to Alex as I ran my finger over the cursed soup spoon. I wish I’d never even mentioned those little spangled flowers.
He patted the corner of his mouth with his napkin, hiding his response. “Tenacity.”
If you like gardenia jasminoides (a.k.a., Cape jasmine or gardenia), we recommend reading Fake Dates and Mooncakes by Sher Lee.
Flower: gardenia jasminoides
Meaning: You are so lovely. I too am happy. Joy. A most tender love.
You’re looking for a light-hearted love story that leaves you with butterflies, so Fake Dates and Mooncakes by Sher Lee is just the book for you. It’s a joyful rom-com about a chef who starts fake-dating his handsome new customer.
I looked up the gardenia first, remembering Alex had mentioned them the night I’d first arrived at the manor.
“‘Gardenia jasminoides,’” I read aloud. It had several possible meanings. “‘You are so lovely,’” it began. “‘I too am happy, joy, a most tender love.’”
I pressed my nose to the creamy blooms, breathing in their sweet scent.
If you like nerium oleander (a.k.a. oleander), we recommend reading Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen.
Flower: nerium oleander
Meaning: distrust, warning
Oleander may look beautiful, but this poisonous shrub sends a message that appearances can be deceiving. However, Violet in Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen is well practiced in the art of lies and deception. In fact, she’s perhaps a little too good at it. Now that she’s awakened a curse, she’ll have to choose whether to use her talent for prophecy to either save herself and her kingdom, or doom them all.
I studied the artwork before me, certain there was a secret passage concealed behind it.
I brightened when I spotted the spiky leaves of an oleander plant.
Oleanders meant distrust, warning that you couldn’t always believe what your eyes told you.
With a smile, I pushed the little plaster blooms, and a hidden panel swung open.
If you like Dictamnus albus (a.k.a., dittany), we recommend reading Starlings by Amanda Linsmeier.
Flower: Dictamnus albus
Meaning: perfected loveliness
“Perfected loveliness” might seem like something worth aspiring to, but as Kit discovers in Starlings by Amanda Linsmeier, sometimes that perfect and lovely exterior is really hiding something dark and sinister.
Already, the new duke had removed nearly every trace of snow-on-the-mountains from the grounds of Chauntilalie, heralding in the start of his reign with a bower of Dictamnus albus. The white dittany blooms were everywhere around the manor, and the new ducal motto of “Perfected Loveliness” had already been warmly received by the citizens of Bloem.