Lisa O’Donnell’s novel is a wonderful coming-of-age novel depicting the harrowing lives of female siblings living in the projects of Glasgow, Scotland. As the novels open, Marnie and Nelly have just buried their parents in their back garden. While only they know why they have done what they have, a suspicion harboring neighbor and the neighborhood drug dealer are asking plenty of questions- in addition to truant officers and other government officials who would separate their family of two. As the girls face that their parents are gone for good, they slowly start to form a new life for themselves but to protect its fragile bond they have to examine their assumptions about the world, and the basis of who they are in order to survive.The Death of Bees is told from the perspectives of the sisters Marnie and Nelly, and Lennie, their elderly and lonely neighbor. The strength and distinctiveness of their voices is so certain that at any given moment I could have flipped to a page and know immediately who was speaking. O’Donnell writes a compelling novel about the lives of kids who have to raise themselves, but the warmth and humor she injects into her splendid characterizations provide a levity that makes a novel that could be a grim piece of reading, heartfelt and illumining.