19 March 2009

Review: The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer

My Summary. Annie, Genna, and Zoe have been friends forever. They are the self-proclaimed Teashop Girls who meet each week—no matter what—at Annie's grandmother's shop for tea and scones. As their eighth-grade school year is coming to a close, Annie is worried that her world is falling apart. The teashop is on the brink of bankruptcy, and Genna and Zoe are caught up in their own lives. And if things weren't confusing enough, the cute boy isn't flirting back and the annoying boy won't leave Annie alone. Can the girls save the shop and will their friendship survive their growing pains?

My Thoughts. The Teashop Girls is a delightful story of a thirteen-year-old who is sure she is the only kid in her grade who is not maturing as fast as the others. Her girlfriends seem to be ready for high school, but Annie doesn't want to let her childhood traditions slip away. I think most young teenage girls would be able to relate to Annie's excitement about her first real job and her concern about her awkwardness around boys.

Each of the three girls has an interest or an aspect of her life that takes her away from the others. Through Annie, we explore how relationships change during the transition to young adulthood. Eighth grade is a time when kids begin to see grown-ups as real people who have troubles and faults of their own. As Annie says of her grandmother, "It was so strange to see an adult so sad. I had always figured middle school was the worst, and it pretty much got steadily better from there. Maybe not."*

I thought the main female characters—the three girls and the grandmother—were well developed and fairly realistic. Each one had a distinct personality, none was perfect, and each faced a personal problem.

I'd like to point out two aspects that I particularly liked. Schaefer nicely contrasted a traditional family-owned teashop with a modern chain coffee shop. Through Annie's eyes, we learn about the economic and personal consequences of our actions when we choose where to spend our money. This was done in a subtle way and is an important issue for youngsters to think about. I also was impressed with the way Annie interacted with the very young girls who came into her grandmother's shop. It was very sweet and believable and a good model for young teenagers.

The book is enhanced with recipes, fun fonts to show handwriting and computer messages, vintage advertisements for teas, and a drawing and quote to open each chapter. I highly recommend this book for any young girl aged eleven or older. For me, the book evoked warm memories of my own best friends from junior high, and I'm pleased to know that some things never change.

I read this book to meet several challenges, listed below. To learn more about a challenge and to see what others are reading, click on the title in the sidebar. If you have reviewed this book and are not listed in the links section, let me know and I'll add your link.

*This quotation is from an advance reviewer copy; actual text may be different from the published edition.

Published by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 2008
ISBN-13: 9781416967934
Challenges: A-Z Author, New Author, What's in a Name, Young Adult, 999, 100+
Rating: B+
YTD: 22

Links to Other Reviews
Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog
Books Movies and Chinese Food
Pop Culture Junkie
B&b ex libris


Anonymous,  3/19/09, 7:49 AM  

I almost accepted a copy of this. Now I am sorry I didn't. If I get a chance to again, I will. I think Nona would enjoy this one.

Chrisbookarama 3/19/09, 7:53 AM  

Sounds really cute! I think it would be great for my niece.

Julie P. 3/19/09, 8:47 AM  

I loved this book too!!! And so did my daughter. I'm hoping for sequels.

Anonymous,  3/19/09, 10:07 AM  

This book sounds great, and I am in love with the cover art! :) I totally judge books by their covers, I won't lie. I saw the artwork a little bit ago and haven't forgotten this one -- publishers' mission accomplished! Great review :)

S. Krishna 3/19/09, 10:29 AM  

I've been hearing good things about this book!

bermudaonion 3/19/09, 10:33 AM  

I was excited to read your review after seeing all the tweets about this book. It sounds marvelous.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) 3/19/09, 11:22 AM  

This sounds so good that I might read it for myself. I stay on the lookout for books that Nia might enjoy but I think that this one might be a little too old or her.

bethany (dreadlock girl) 3/19/09, 11:35 AM  

Great review! I loved this book too :) I enjoyed the corporate versus small family owned business debate, I am a believer in family businesses!

Live Simply Mommy 3/19/09, 11:53 AM  

I am in the midst of reading this with my 8 year old. She loves it so far. It is great to read it with her, as the language is just advanced enough that she has lots of questions.

Anonymous,  3/19/09, 12:46 PM  

Okay, this sounds really cute!

Alea 3/19/09, 1:13 PM  

I loved this book! It was wonderful!

Sandy Nawrot 3/19/09, 1:56 PM  

I've heard of this book, all good stuff. I will recommend this to my daughter, as I think she will relate. It freaks me out when I see the attitudes of the girls in her class (5th grade) towards boys. My daughter doesn't get it. She thinks boys are annoying trouble-makers, and that is just fine with me!

Anonymous,  3/19/09, 2:36 PM  

I'm going to look for this one for myself and my granddaughter. It's fun to remember those innocent years. Thanks for a good review.

Eva @ One Swede Read 3/19/09, 4:49 PM  

If part of the goal was to make me want to go make a huge pot of tea, you've succeeded!! :) Thanks for the review!

Ladytink_534 3/20/09, 6:53 PM  

I'm not crazy about the cover but it sounds like an interesting book!

Bonnie 3/21/09, 8:52 PM  

Wonderful review! I've read wonderful reviews of this book so far and look forward to reading it.

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