I’d heard many good things about The Mother-Daughter Book Club, the first in a series by Heather Vogel Frederick, so I was very excited when I found a copy at a local library book sale the other week.
The book club is about to get a makeover…
Even if Megan would rather be at the mall, Cassidy is late for hockey practice, Emma’s already read every book in existence, and Jess is missing her mother too much to care, the new book club is scheduled to meet every month.
But what begins as a mom-imposed ritual of reading Little Women soon helps four unlikely friends navigate the drama of middle school. From stolen journals, to secret crushes, to a fashion-fiasco first dance, the girls are up to their Wellie boots in drama. They can’t help but wonder: What would Jo March do?
This book was quite a break from my recent string of sci-fi fantasy / disutupian reads and written for a slightly younger audience. This is probably not a book for your teenager, rather it is written for your budding tween. I am no stranger to young adult / middle reader fiction though and I enjoyed this story which is chock full of middle school drama, New England history and literary references galore.
And while I cannot say it was the best book I’ve ever read, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Most of all, it has me longing to read Little Women, another classic that I think I somehow managed to miss (I know I’ve seen the movie, but I don’t think I actually read the book – shame on me!) growing up. This book also made me wish I’d had a book club experience growing up. I was an avid reader but didn’t really know anybody my own age that was also. But I think they were definitely out there – I know many women now who were bookish like me growing up, but I think the life of a book worm is largely a solo venture.
As a mother and a woman who has experienced the growing pains of middle school, I can see a lot of great things about this book from the perspective of a tween girl who might read it. I think this book does a great job portraying the mean girl syndrome and then breaking it down and showing girls how they can break the vicious cycle. Reading the book from the perspective of all four (very different) girls allows the reader to see how similar the girls really are and how even the popular girl who seems to have it all is more like you than you think. How every girl and every family has their own crosses to bear and none of them are perfect and perfectly content. I think it serves as an excellent reminder to be kind and supportive of the people around you, to stick up for your friends (and yourself!) and be open to new people and experiences. Really, an excellent tween read!