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Much Ado About Anne (Heather Vogel Frederick) Tween-Teen Book Review

Much ado about Anne Much Ado About Anne by Heather Vogel Frederick
Series: The Mother-Daughter Book Club
Age: 9-12
Source: Library
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2008
ISBN: 9781416982692 / 315 pages
Find this book at your local library

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.

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The Mother-Daughter Book Club (Heather Vogel Frederick) – Review

The Mother-Daughter Book ClubThe Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick
Age: tween (9-12)
Genre: Fiction / realistic drama
Source: Library
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2007
ISBN 9780689864124 / 245 pages

Find this book at your local library

Four girls with seemingly nothing in common are drafted to join a mother-daughter book club in their small community in Concord, Mass. Spanning the course of a year, the girls read Little Women because the author was born and raised in their hometown. Along the way, the girls forge new friendships, rekindle old, forgotten friendships, and learn to live a little more bravely each day.

Each chapter is told through the perspective of one of the four girls: Emma (the librarian’s overweight daughter), Jess (Emma’s best friend, shy, but musically talented), Megan (formerly best friends with Emma, left to join the popular girls at school) and Cassidy (the tomboy daughter of a formerly famous supermodel).

Although many of the experiences the girls face are realistic, in regards to bullying, crushes, and body image issues, etc. I did find it sort of unrealistic that one mothers is a former world-famous supermodel, while the other is now a famous celebrity on a soap opera, Heartbeats. It felt like there were too many big personalities for such a small town. 

I also thought the end was really sugary-sweet with the happy endings. Cavity inducing sugary-sweet. To be fair, only the last couple chapters of the book were that sweet. The girls, their experiences, and the parental interactions all felt very realistic, and approachable.

The writing style reminded me a lot of the Babysitter’s Club and Ann M. Martin’s creation of a small town in New England. There are currently four books in the Mother-Daughter Book Club series, each book focusing on a different classic. The sequel to this one has the girls reading Anne of Green Gables.

I think this book is a great vehicle for steering young readers towards the classics. In this book, each of the four girls could see themselves as one of the March girls, and would implement the personalities of the March sisters into their everyday lives. Jo was the biggest source of inspiration for all the girls. 

I can see a lot of potential for a book like this. This can be read alongside the classics it discusses and parents can start their own mother-daughter book clubs or reading clubs.