First Impressions: Things That Grow by Meredith Goldstein

I think I have a new favorite book. 

Yeah, It may be too early in the novel to say that, but when you know you know lol.  Everything about this book has completely captured my full attention. The characters, setting, and plot are exactly what I look for in a book. Each aspect of this story has brought me so much comfort, and I can’t seem to put it down. 

Usually, I’d read only the first chapter of a book before doing a first impressions blog like this, but I couldn’t just stop at one chapter while reading this book. I am around halfway done with the story, though I’ll try to keep this analysis focused around my ideas and feelings at the beginning of the book. 


Lori Seltzer is a seventeen year old girl who lives with her Grandmother and is an avid writer. Her grandmother, and avid reader, is her biggest supporter. 

When Lori’s grandmother suddenly passes away, she is faced with the aftermath of her complicated family. Her mother comes back to town and gives her the news that Lori will have to move in with her and her boyfriend, away from Lori’s Hometown and her best friend, Chris. 

Desperate to stay as long as she can, Lori decides to follow her grandmother’s will and plan a series of road trips to spread her ashes along the most beautiful garden in the state. Along the way, Lori and her family encounter obstacles and try to navigate grieving while honoring the monarch of the family. 

First Impressions: 

I have to admit that I read more than a few chapters of this book before sitting down to write a blog. But every chapter I have read so far has been amazing. 

In the first few chapters, I knew I would enjoy reading this book just by the POV and main character’s thoughts. It was really easy for me to connect myself to this character and her feelings. It is one of those books that you find yourself so lost in that you have to step away from for a while to detach from. 

The characters are all so lovable, and Lori’s grandmother, although not alive, is such a big piece of this story. She is a huge part of the memories mentioned in the story, and you get to know her well in the very first chapters. 

Lori’s best friend, Chris, is also a character that ends up playing a major role later in the book, but at the very beginning you follow Lori on her new journey with grief. 

This book really has everything that a teen really wants. Its not completely superficial or only a romance story. This book deals with things heavier and so real to many that will read it. 

Meredith Goldstein really went above and beyond with this story. She managed to make a story around grief that is not simply about the pain of it all, but about the journey and happiness that you can find amongst the pain. 

Author: Adele Bryant

K-pop, Jane Austen, food, and writing enthusiast. Strong believer in pineapple on pizza.