Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tween Tuesday (10) - Dear Pen Pal (Mother Daughter Book Club) by Heather Vogel Frederick

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme created by GreenBeanTeenQueen, one of my favorite blogs. Surprise, surprise - it features books aimed at Tweens.

Dear Pen Pal (Mother Daughter Book Club) by Heather Vogel Frederick


For the mother-daughter book club, everything changes in eighth grade
Could the book club break up? When Jess is offered an anonymous scholarship to a prestigious boarding school, she's not sure that leaving home -- and her friends -- is what she wants to do. Meanwhile Megan's grandmother comes for a long visit and turns everything in the Wong household upside down; Emma crusades against hermiddle school's new uniforms; and Cassidy fi nds out there's a big change ahead for her family.
Inspired by Jess's unexpected opportunity, the book club decides to read Jean Webster's classic Daddy-Long-Legs, and there's an added twist this year when they become pen pals with the girls in a book club in Wyoming. There's plenty to write to their new friends about, from a prank-filled slumber party to a not-so-secret puppy -- and even a surprise fi rst kiss.
In this third book in the beloved Mother-Daughter Book Club series, the girls learn that as long as they have one another -- and a good book -- they're ready for whatever eighth grade has in store!


Our favorite book club girls are growing up! This year they're in eighth grade. I love how they age with each book. I'm curious to see if the series' themes will change from MG to YA as the girls enter high school. As of now, they're still in that in-between stage. A little more confident and mature than as sixth graders, but without some of the problems that they will likely encounter in high school.

The Mother Daughter Book Club selection for eighth grade is Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster. As with the second book, I am disappointed that it doesn't talk more about the book club selection. It has fabulous tidbits about the author presented in worksheet format and incorporate plot-points of the novel, but you don't really learn much about the book. Luckily, I have read Daddy Long Legs so I understood what they were talking about. Otherwise, I'd be more confused than anything else.

Of course, the book club selection really is just a side-plot. I love this series because of the four girls and their mothers. I should say five girls, because Becca and Mrs. Chadwick are now firmly entrenched in the book club. I was disappointed that we never heard Becca's point of view, since I've grown to like her. I hope she will became a central character in later books.

Each girl faces challenges this year. Cassidy, never one for change, is horrified that her mother is having a baby. Jess is now attending a local boarding school on scholarship. She has to deal with a mean-girl roommate and discover how low she is willing to stoop in response. Megan is thrilled that her grandmother is visiting long-term; she is a kindred spirit. But it also presents a need to understand and re-evaluate her relationship with her mother. Emma, who is the most "blah" character - a low-self-esteem bookworm (very much like myself at that age) - is ironically the first girl to have serious boy issues. This year is a challenge for Emma to find her own voice. Becca is still Becca but getting nicer. We don't notice her growth as much since she's always seen through other characters' eyes.

The Mother Daughter Book Club has something for everyone. Each character, whether adult or child, is so different that every reader can find someone like herself. The plot does get resolved a bit too conveniently to be believable, but realism isn't why I enjoy this series. It's just good fun.

Rating: 3.5 / 5


  1. I've been intrigued by these books for awhile, but I've never gotten around to reading them. I'm more intrigued than ever now. Thanks for the review.

  2. These are fun books and really show how good friends will get you through anything.



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