November 25, 2013

Mother Daughter Book-Club by Heather Vogel Frederick



I seriously love these books. There aren't many "modern" books that fall under my favorites list, but these would be one of them. Mainly because the characters read the books I love! Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Daddy-Long-Legs, Pride and Prejudice, Betsy-Tacy, and Jane Eyre!
 (okay, so I actually haven't read Jane Eyre yet, but I've seen the movie and really enjoyed the story)

In the first book, Emma's, Jess's, Megan's, and Cassidy's mothers decide to form a mother-daughter book club. They pretty much hate the idea, except for book-loving Emma and her BFF Jess, whose own mother is away pursuing an acting career in New York. The girls are forced into reading Little Women for the year, and despite many protests and much drama, they end up loving it.
The book follows their lives throughout the year as they read Little Women and learn that girls back then had much of the same problems they do now. And they have a Little Women Christmas party. How cool is that??

 Let me elaborate on the characters.

Emma Jane Hawthorne-quiet, poetic, and a book-worm. Her mother is a big Jane Austen fan, as you can tell by what she named Emma and her older brother! His name is Darcy. Yes, Darcy. :) I love Darcy. Not only is he named after MR. Darcy but he's kind and funny and smart and all that. I'm planning on naming one of my sons Darcy when I grow up.  Hopefully my {future!} husband will go for it.
 Anyways, Emma is sorta the main character to me (the girls take turns with the chapters, each chapter being from one of the girl's POV) and I love her. She and I have a lot in common, although I have stuff in common with pretty much each girl. She loves writing, and reading classics. (She also writes poetry, such as "Zach Attack." You totally won't get that until you read the book. It's so embarrassing for Emma, but it is really funny) She's quiet and thoughtful, and just such a lovable character!!

Jess Delaney-the painfully shy farm girl whom just might be my favorite character. It's a tie between her and Emma. She's Emma's BFF and *Spoiler!* Darcy's girlfriend. Well first, she has a crush on him for the first couple of books. Then they become a couple. And they are seriously one of the cutest couples ever. Even if I don't approve of the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing before you're ready to marry. *End of Spoiler!*  Jess is so sweet and smart. She loves animals and excels in math and science. Oh, and she can sing. She has younger twin brothers, who are so funny and cute. And since they live on a farm, they have all sorts of animals-including chickens that sneak into the house at times!!

 Megan Wong, a creative girl who loves sewing and fashion, has parents who became rich overnight when her dad invented some sort of computer gadget. She used to be great friends with Emma, but drifted away and is now hanging with the "Fab Four". Her mother is HILARIOUS. Her mom's all about organic food and healthy living, save the trees and all that. Megan finds it all really embarrassing. Now, I for one, agree on organic food and such. My mom tries to get everything organic, and makes things from scratch. But Mrs. Wong doesn't exactly get it. Just because it's gross or practically inedible DOES not mean it's healthy. On the contrary, the more organic and natural your food is, the better it tastes. Anyways, so her mom's hilarious even if she's giving off the wrong impression about organic food.

 Cassidy Sloane. I love Cassidy. She's so funny and gets into the most hilarious circumstances. Her mother is a former supermodel and tries to get Cassidy to act more ladylike. But noooooo way. Cassidy would rather play hockey or baseball and hang out with the boys. She's also a BIG practical jokester. It's hilarious what they come up with throughout the books. Unfortunately, it's usually to get back at someone for something, so it's not exactly the "nice" joking. Cassidy's father died a few years ago. I cry over the parts where Cassidy misses her dad. She acts so tough, but inside she is hurting-really hurting. It's really fun getting to watch her change from a belligerent tomboy (at the start of the books) to a strong and independent young woman.

Becca Chadwick. She's one of the popular, snooty, boy-crazy girls. She's REALLY annoying at the beginning of the books (think Amy March and Miss Bingley combined) , but *spoiler* becomes part of the MDBC and friends with the rest of the girls. She gets better at not being snarky or back-biting, although she does have her moments. She doesn't exactly ever get over the boys though...*end of spoiler* She can be funny and even really nice at times.

Summaries of the books are below, but beware there are MAJOR SPOLIERS:

 In the second book, the girls are reading Anne of Green Gables. (YES!!)  Becca Chadwick and her mother are invited to join the book club, which turns out to be torture for all involved. Jess's family learns they might lose their old farmhouse, and the girls come up with this amazing scheme to raise money for the mortgage-a fashion show! The outfits are designed by Megan and modeled by all the girls. One special dress is also modeled by Mrs. Sloane, a former model. Something very exciting happens to Mrs. Sloane toward the end of the book...much to Cassidy's chagrin. Emma finds in this book that her long-time crush might be replaced by another less-likely candidate, Stewart Chadwick.










 In this book, they read Daddy-Long-Legs, a book I never had heard of before. Of course, it being a classic, I got it and loved it. I actually think I enjoyed its sequel Dear Enemy better though...
Anyways, in this book Jess starts attending Colonial Academy instead of public school. Between missing her friends and dealing with a mean roommate, Jess is miserable.  Meanwhile, Gigi, Megan's grandmother visits. She and Megan hit it off wonderfully, as they both love fashion, but Megan's mother and grandmother don't get along very well. Cassidy is depressed by some shocking news about an addition to her family. The moms spring the idea of pen-pals to the girls (pretty much everything is about the moms springing something on the girls, haha). They assign them pen-pals from another MDBC, started by Mrs. Hathorne's old college friend. Toward the end of the book they get to visit their pen-pals!
 This year, they read Pride and Prejudice (squeealll!!!). I think this is my favorite book out of them all. Or at least one of my favorites. In it, Emma's family moves to England for a year, doing a house swap with a British family who have two boys-Tristan and Simon Berkley, who are a modern-day Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley. Megan falls for Mr. Bingley Simon as Cassidy and Mr. Darcy Tristan battle it out. Speaking of Mr. Darcy, this is the book that Darcy and Jess become a couple. <3 They're just so cute! Megan starts a Fashionista Jane blog, where she criticizes people's fashion choices, but later gets herself into deep trouble for publicly making fun of the people around her. The girls have a bake sale to raise money for a visit home for Emma. From it, Gigi takes over and creates a café, Pies and Prejudice. (Seriously, it's the cutest café ever, and I wish it was where I lived!!)
 The girls read the Betsy-Tacy series. I had seen them in the library before but never checked them out. I'm sooooo glad this book introduced me to them because afterwards I immediately tried them and fell IN LOVE. (I will review them soon!!) In this book, the MDBC has a secret Santa gift exchange that turns out very badly (but hilariously) due to a practical joke. The girls are all scattered for Christmas with Cassidy in California, Megan and Becca on a cruise, and Emma and Jess in the mountains. Drama ensues on each vacation. Cassidy's family might be moving back to California, Becca and Megan fight over a guy, and Emma and Jess have a whole lot of different troubles. Once back home, things are still unsettled until an explosive New Years Eve party.







 The girls are reading Jane Eyre this year. Megan finally gets her long-awaited and promised trip to Paris with her grandmother, Gigi. She gets to go sight-seeing, shopping, and goes to fashion shows! She also gets to see her long-distance boyfriend, Simon. Back home, Mrs. Wong is running for mayor with Emma and Stewart Chadwick helping. Jess is competing in the a capella finals with her singing group, while Cassidy is in the national hockey championships. The book ends with a very surprising wedding!!

I was so sad when I realized this is the LAST book in the series!! <:"( I wish they kept going, although I'm glad the author kept with it long enough to write 6 books.






A very unrealistic thing about the books is the amazing things they get to do and what they are. For starters, Cassidy's mother is a former supermodel who now has her own cooking show that the girls get to be on from time to time. Jess's mother was an actress, and gets to take them behind the scenes during an episode shoot for her show. The girls get to go to England and a regency ball (which is one of the things I am yearning to do!!!). Lots of amazing stuff that usually wouldn't happen left and right to a group of normal people. But that's okay. I like books to be fun. I get to experience a lot that I would love to do just by reading about characters in a book doing it. That's the thing I loooovvee about books. Books insert you into lives and scenarios you would never get to be in otherwise!Reading is an adventure. Yes, that's very cliché, but it's 100% true!




Objectionable Content:
Well, as aforementioned, there's ALOT of emphasis put on boyfriend/girlfriend stuff. Who likes who, who's going to get their first kiss, etc. etc. And yes, they kiss a lot. They're not even 16 yet and are kissing. -shakes head- I don't mind the fact that they like each other or even that they're "couples", but the kissing is too much.
 I'd say that's the biggest problem. Other than that, the girls can be disrespectful at times to their parents such as when they make fun of Mrs. Chadwick or Mrs. Wong behind their backs. Now granted, they are very hilarious and ridiculous, but that obviously doesn't make it right for the girls to ridicule their mothers.

Other than that, the books are very clean and good compared to a lot of books out there today!
Rating 9/10


5 comments

  1. Oh, I LOVE those books! I've only read the first four, though, because our library didn't have the others. (I thought about getting the series with my graduation money, then blew it all in NYC. Whoops.)

    I can't decide which was my favorite.... I reeeally liked Dear Pen Pal, though, because Daddy-Long-Legs is one of my favorite books! (Dear Enemy, too!)

    These books first introduced me to writing from four different perspectives, devoting a chapter to each person. I loooooved that. In fact, that's how I'm writing my NaNo novel! It's been great. Anywhoz.

    Love those books. : )

    -Eowyn-

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  2. Thanks so commenting! I'm glad to meet another person who likes these books as well! :D
    You should definitely try to get the rest sometime. I'm sure you'll love them!
    Yes, I think these are the first books I've read that are written like that too! I really like that style. Good luck with your NaNo novel!

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  3. You're welcome! I saw them at the library and decided to give them a try. SO glad I did!

    I'll try to read them soon. : )

    Same here! Thanks!

    -Eowyn-

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  4. I've only read Pies and Prejudice, but I enjoyed it so much I'm hoping to read the others too! Maybe even buy copies for my daughters to read when they're older. They're so fun, and really quite clean (other than the kissing you mentioned, which is at least not described in great detail).

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    Replies
    1. Oh yes, Pies and Prejudice was one of my favorites too! You should definitely check out the others. Yes, I'm glad to find relatively clean "modern" books. It's so hard nowadays! :)

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