When we last left Emma, Meghan, Cassidy and Jess, they completed 6th grade and overcame a lot of personal obstacles in their lives with the help and guidance of their Mother-Daughter Book Club. Now in 7th grade, the girls are ready to start another year of books and friendship, but at their first meeting, their hopes are dashed when mean-girl Becca Chadwick joins the group with her mother Calliope. Now Meghan is stuck in the middle of two groups of friends, Emma is miserable around Becca, Jess finds out some terrible news about her family’s farm, and Cassidy has to deal with more major life-changes to her family. Somehow, the four friends manage to stick together and support each other through it all.
I really enjoyed the first book in the series, and the second book did not disappoint. Much Ado About Anne followed the girls through 7th grade as they read the first three books in the Anne of Green Gables series. You can clearly tell why I decided to read this book at this moment.
The characters have all developed in different ways, although Emma is still lagging in the confidence to stand up to Becca the way her friends do. Meghan is a tough decision having to choose between her former queen-bee friends, and the more eclectic, nerdy friends. We even see a softer side to Becca. The chapters are rotating perspectives between the four girls, the stories don’t retell the same episode. There is also more jumping around through the seasons in this book than in the first. I really loved how all the girls banded together to help Jess with the troubles of her family farm. It showed a lot of strength, and ingenuity.
The one thing that constantly bugged me about this book is the portrayal of Mrs. Wong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with caring about the environment and wanting to be healthy. While the other mothers are portrayed as normal people with no quirks or nuances, Mrs. Wong is represented an obsessive health food nut. I’m somewhat worried that the character of Mrs. Wong would turn readers off to the concerns of the environment and health food. There are recipes included in the back, but not one of them is healthy. They are sugar filled cavity inducers.
That being said, I do like that Frederick includes author trivia about LM Montgomery, and that she also includes reading group questions and activity ideas at the back of the book. Those would work well for any book, not just this one specifically.