Saturday, December 22, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: “The Mother-Daughter Book Club” by Heather Vogel Frederick

What would Jo March do?

Four young girls from Concord, Massachusetts find themselves asking that question quite frequently during their first year of middle school. 

Photo credit: Heather Vogel Frederick (author)

“The Mother Daughter Book Club” is book one in a series of the same title by author Heather Vogel Frederick. In this novel we are introduced to four unlikely friends whose paths diverge after their mothers form a mother-daughter book club as a way to spend time with them. There’s popular Megan, who would rather be shopping at the mall; Cassidy, a sports-loving tomboy from California whose mother was once a model; Emma, a bookworm and aspiring writer who isn’t confident in her own skin; and Jess, a shy girl whose mother left the family farm to become an actress in New York. As these girls explore Little Women by Louisa May Alcott with their mothers, they come to realize that there’s a March girl inside each one of them, which helps them navigate this crazy new world called middle school that not all of them are sure they like.

After only a few pages, I realized that I was hooked – and happy, of course, to find out that there are five more books in the series! I loved this book for several reasons. First off, Megan, Cassidy, Emma and Jess remind me of Stacey, Kristy, Mary Ann and Claudia from The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin (which I still love to this day) – a group of four middle-school-age girls who each possesses a distinct personality, but yet they all complement each other really well and become really good friends in the end. I also love this book because of the way it’s written. Each chapter alternates between the four girls and is written in their own voice. This not only helps the reader get to know each character better and get “into her head,” but it gives a better understanding of the story itself by having each girl’s unique thoughts and insights about whatever is going on. Vogel is also a really good writer, able to weave a good balance between narrative and dialogue; all of these elements put together help bring the story together perfectly.  I also appreciate that the book deals with real-life situations that middle school girls face these days, and that the book’s targeted age group – 9 and up – have characters they can actually relate to and empathize with.

Like Ann M. Martin, Heather Vogel Frederick has won a spot in my list of favorite authors, and I can’t wait to dive into book two, “Much Ado About Anne.” I highly recommend this book to any middle school girl who knows how tough it can be, and to bookworms like myself who are looking for an engaging, wholesome story.

Note: This book was not provided by BookSneeze. It was a library book from the Riverdale Public Library. :) 

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