Review in Short: When a Mother-Daughter book club pushes four sixth grade girls together, they have to learn to put aside their differences (and maybe even become friends?) while reading the classic book, LITTLE WOMEN, together with their mothers. This is an adorable middle grade book for girls and their mothers. The characters didn't ring as true as I wanted them too, but I think every mother or daughter will be able to relate to one of the relationships in the book. 77/100 = C
Premise: 9. A mother-daughter book club reading LITTLE WOMEN. Seriously, what girl doesn't find that premise adorable? I know I do, and not just because LITTLE WOMEN is one of my favorite books ever.
Plot: 8. The four 6th grade girls in the book club start out as classmates with a variety of ties between them. Two are best friends, two used to be friends but are now enemies, and one is the new girl who hardly knows anybody and is teased because of her un-girly interests. As the book progresses, of course, these girls are forced to actually come together and understand each other as well as deal with the trials of middle school and family life. There's actually a lot in the plot of this book, especially because each girl has her own story, and I can't sum it all up but let's just say: separated parents, dead parents, mothers who don't understand, bullies, and crushes are at the crux of this book.
Characters: 7. I liked all four girls (popular Megan, tomboy Cassidy, farm-girl Jess, and sensitive Emma) as well as the secondary characters (especially Emma's brother, Darcy), but I did feel like the girls were less fleshed out and more stereotypes of girls we all encounter in middle school. I understand this and I still loved them all, but I did wish they were more dimensional. (However, since this is the start of a series, it's possible the characters become more fleshed out as you spend more time with them.)
Relationships: 8. SO MANY RELATIONSHIPS IN THIS BOOK. With family, friends, not-friends, and boys. I loved the girls relationships with their mothers and I'm pretty sure any daughter or mother would be able to find a relationship here to relate to. However, there were just so many relationships that it was hard to really explore them much in such a short book.
Setting: 8. Concord, Massachusetts. I loved that this book was set in such a historical town and that, at times, this aspect of it was played up.
Themes: 8. Family, mothers and daughters, friendship. Like with so much in this book there was just so much here that while it was all good there wasn't enough room for any of it to stand out as GREAT.
Ending: 7. To be honest, the book felt like it went from this very grounded, realistic middle grade novel to, in the last couple of chapters, a BSC Super Special. (Not that I don't entirely love BSC Super Specials, but it just didn't work here.) I won't ruin the ending, but you'll see what I mean when you get there. All of the sudden it just becomes all a bit too unbelievable.
Recommendability: 8, especially for middle school girls.
So this book gets 77 out of 100, a C.
For girls, especially middle school girls, and their mothers. Seriously, this is very much a girls-and-their-moms book. It's adorable.