Funny, thoughtful, and deeply moving—a unique blend of fantasy and actual science—the novel explores both personal grief in the face of family loss and collective grief in the face of climate crisis, and how the only way to move forward is through friendship of all kinds.
In Shajarpur, everyone is always happy. The weather is always perfect. But newcomer Savi, a lonely seventeen-year-old, doesn’t know what happiness means anymore. If she were to make a list of things that were the absolute worst, moving to Shajarpur would be right on top. Well, right after missing her father, who just died of a heart attack.
As Savi grapples with loss in a strange new town, she discovers something startling. Not only can she communicate with her father’s plants—all forty-two of them—she can talk to the giant ficus tree behind her school. Tree (as he’s known) provides a welcome change from her stuck-up classmates, and an unbearable eco club that makes fun of her for not knowing green stuff, not to mention nasty wasps. It turns out that she can talk to them, too. Soon, along with Tree and the plants, they draw her into the story of Shajapur. Savi discovers that her father knew Tree, that they were friends, and that their friendship was at the heart of a magical network of animals and plants working together to keep the climate from ever changing.
Now the story of Shajarpur appears to be over. Tree is in danger, along with everything else. As Savi joins with all kinds of living things to save the town, she is shocked to be happy again, even if forces of nature are beyond her control. In the end, by forging a true kinship with nature, Savi learns to accept death as an integral part of life.