Book Review: The Teashop Girls
By: Laura Schaefer
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: December 2008
Page Count: 256
Audience: Middle Grades - Chick Lit
My friends all know that when it comes to tea I can be a bit obsessed. I love to find different varieties to suit my moods and I've been known to drink more than one glass/cup a day. I'm quite partial to chai and iced black tea. I also think spending a day browsing through Teavana is a great way to spend an afternoon. Furthermore, in a geography course in graduate school, I did an entire presentation on tea. Yes, I know this is a book blog, not a tea blog, but I felt a bit of background information about my love of tea might shed some light on my initial attraction to this book. How could one who loves tea as much as I do not pick up a book with a title like this?
The Teashop Girls is a fun coming of age read that showcases how friendships evolve as we age. The transition from middle school to high school is often difficult for many teens, but it can be even more brutal when your friends are also changing rapidly and you begin growing apart from those who have always been by your side in the past. For Annie, Zoe, and Genna, the tea parties at The Steeping Leaf are quickly becoming relics of their childhood. However, Annie is having trouble being left behind as her best friends discover new hobbies and friends. To make matters worse, The Steeping Leaf, might have to close its doors forever. Can Annie save the place she loves so much and win her friends back? Will the allure of the tea leaves be enough to bring them all back together as high school looms at the end of the summer?
This was a quick read that was realistic and cute. I think many middle school girls will enjoy this one. I really like how we watch Annie struggle to deal with all the changes that are happening around her. This truly speaks to the late middle school/early high school experience. I did often find Annie to be a bit on the demanding and whiny side. She made the read a little more tedious for me than it needed to be with her "everything is about me" attitude. However, I feel like in spite of my annoyance she is true to the age group. Most teens do share her view on life. I also will admit that Annie matures through the plot which improved my outlook concerning her.
My favorite aspect of the book was The Steeping Leaf drama and the shop itself. I loved that this place was such an important piece of the girls' friendship and that they even had rules for themselves. It brought to mind the little clubs my friends and I created back in the day. Schaefer does a wonderful job of conjuring up the emotions and worries of that time in my life; I could really relate to the struggles of all the girls.
If you're in the mood for some tea, sweets, and friendship - then this is the book for you! I am looking forward to reading the next book.
One Last Gripe: Annie seemed much younger than her friends at times.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: I loved the recipes and tea info!
First Sentence: There's a right way and a wrong way to do many things, and when it comes to tea, my opinion is one should not mess around.
Favorite Character: Annie's Grandmother
Least Favorite Character: Annie - although she did grow on me eventually
The Official Rules of the Teashop Girls
1. Teashop girls are best friends forever.
2. Tea is held every week, no matter what.
3. All tea and scones must be split equally at all times.
Annie, Genna, and Zoe have been hanging out at the Steeping Leaf since elementary school. The Teashop Girls do everything together -- at least they used to. With the end of eighth grade approaching, Genna's too busy with theater, Zoe's always at tennis, and Annie feels totally left out. What happened to tea every week, no matter what?
When Annie convinces her grandmother to give her a job as a barista at the Leaf, things begin to look up. In between whipping up chai lattes for customers, and attempting to catch the attention of her Barista Boy crush, Annie is finally beginning to feel as grown-up as her best friends. But an eviction notice spells trouble for the Leaf and unless they can turn the business around, the teashop will have to close its doors forever.
Fresh, honest, and sweet, Laura Schaefer's debut novel is sure to resonate with readers everywhere.