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Reviewed by Stephanie Chapman for Readers' Favorite
Cassandra N. Stump’s Bucolic features Libelle Jameson at a time when she first becomes aware of the wider world around her. Libelle lived with a large family in the quiet town of Fairsage. Near the end of the school year, the news spread that Caden Carlton, a well-known lacrosse player, had moved to Fairsage. One evening, while Caden was visiting the group of friends and family that Libelle was part of, he excused himself to take a call. Libelle noticed certain things about Caden that did not fit. Libelle was curious about Caden after seeing him chatting with a strange man, referring to his parents by their first names, and not talking about his past. Caden would introduce her to a different side of life.
Cassandra N. Stump was able to evoke hope, happiness, and sorrow. I felt some apprehension for Libelle when she won an art contest. She had faced competition from another girl who liked to stomp on others. The excitement when Libelle received her award kept building, with unexpected twists. Her naivety before meeting Caden was astonishing. Caden’s past was revealed in his conversations with Libelle, and I found the dialogue painfully realistic. Caden’s inner turmoil and feelings of worthlessness despite his achievements were depicted vividly. The descriptions of all the characters were thorough, and their personalities gave life to the entire storyline. I wished there was more to read because I didn't want the book to end. I recommend Bucolic to anyone who enjoys a realistic story about the personal growth of two people who lived contrasting lives.