Friday, June 12, 2009

The Teashop Girls
by Laura Schaefer (Illustrated by Sujean Rim)
Author Website:

Available in hardback. Paula Wiseman Books, 2008; ISBN: 1416967931; 256 pages.

Since few of my editing clients are now writing YA (Young Adult) novels, I've started reading many more books in this genre. I've discovered these books are really fun to read! Expect to see a few more reviews like this in the future.

I loved this book and can hardly wait for my daughter (now 5) to be old enough to read it. One of my biggest struggles as a parent is the exponential rate at which kids grow up today. Our culture pushes teens to act like adults, tweens to act like college students and preschoolers to know all about "High School Musical." This book was a breath of fresh air for a mom who still wants kids to enjoy being kids.

Annie, 13 years old, feels a little behind her two best friends: Zoe and Genna. She's not completely boy-crazy and isn't sure she wants to start high school. She likes things the way they are and would prefer to keep them that way. When she gets a job in her grandmother's tea shop, Annie starts a whole new adventure. The shop (older than Annie and basically her second home) is struggling financially and may need to close its doors. Annie initiates a plan to safe the Steeping Leaf. Toss in a way-too-cute boy, an annoying classmate and some out of control red hair, and you've got a curl-up-on-the-couch great book.

Bonus features include illustrations of tea cards, various historical facts about tea and those who drink it, and some really great recipes, such as cucumber sandwiches, blueberry scones, tea pops and more. Readers will also enjoy learning the fun health and cosmetic uses of tea, zen practices and some tips on meditation, all taught by Annie's globetrotting grandma.

Again from a mother's perspective, this book was fantastic. There was no questionable material -- no cursing, no kissing, no adult behavior, no vulgarity or explicit content. It elevates tea, friendship and femininity to "cool" again.

Final Thoughts: I loved it!

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