Here is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan

4/5 stars

Making the jump between genres is a risky move for artists of all stripes–when you have a brand to maintain, maybe not everyone wants to hear you rap (best summarised by Todd in the Shadows in his video on the downfall of Madonna), and the same can be true for authors. If your primary audience up until this point has been kids, how exactly do you get their parents to pick up your book? And can you ensure longevity, or will your foray into adult fiction just be a flash in the pan?

With Sarah Crossan’s Here is the Beehive, she makes the jump from YA fiction to adult contemporary with astounding grace. Told in her characteristic free verse, Here is the Beehive tells the story of Ana, a London solicitor coming to terms with the death of Connor, the man she was having an affair with for the past three years. As she privately mourns, she’s forced to come to terms with the ramifications of her actions, with Connor’s widow, her own husband, and her children.

As a novel in verse, this is quick read, with an atmospheric style evoking the Middle-England-ness of suburban London, the aftershocks of two tumultuous marriages, and Ana and Connor’s isolation as Irish emigrants in the UK. Crossan’s style is sparse and takes some getting used to–with Ana as a deeply unreliable narrator, we are left with a lot of questions over Ana and Connor’s relationship. But their bond feels real, and the conflict that drove them apart before Connor’s death. With economic language, Crossan’s work packs a big punch, demonstrating that she can handle the crossover better than many other writers.

And of course, the verse style makes this book a quick read–if you’re looking for something you can race through in an afternoon and want a book that will leave you reeling, Here is the Beehive might just be the crossover work you need.


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