Book Review: The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer
The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer
Sujean Rim (Illustrator)
Published December 22nd 2009 by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Length: 250 pages
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Reading Level: Ages 9 & up
ISBN 141696794X (ISBN 13: 9781416967941)
Goodreads | Amazon
Annie loves her grandmother’s teashop, the Steeping Leaf. She and her two friends, Genna and Zoe, spent their childhoods at the teashop and now Annie is excited to be working there. But she finds out that the Leaf is having financial troubles. Now Annie is faced with losing a beloved part of her past while her two friends seem to drift further and further away from her. Annie will do everything in her power to help her grandmother and keep the Steeping Leaf open but with developers sniffing around, a painful crush on her co-worker, and time running out, Annie doesn’t know what is going to happen.
I bought a copy of The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer during my trip down to Main Street Books about two months ago. The blurb sounded cute and I was already dropping a stupid amount of money during that trip, so I thought one more book couldn’t hurt. It was a bit of fluff and cuteness is pretty much the only thing it has going for it. I have a thing for tea and a nostalgia streak a mile wide, so Annie’s pain over the possible loss of her grandmother’s teashop hit a cord with me. I’d rather be sitting in a locally owned coffeehouse than a big old noisy Starbucks any day. In fact, during November I can be found in a little hole in the wall place called The Crooked Tree Coffeehouse every Saturday morning having breakfast, drinking a bottomless cup from the coffee bar, and pounding out a few thousand words on my laptop with some good friends. I adore the place. (It’s called NaNoWriMo. Solid proof of my insanity.)
Nostalgia and cuteness was able to draw me in and The Teashop Girls is a sweet but predictable story. Everything turns out well in the end. The most interesting parts of the book were the interaction between the three girls, who come from very different backgrounds. I don’t really see how the three girls end up as friends in the first place, they are so different. Annie is middle class but her two friends Genna and Zoe are upper-class. Annie’s normality is at odds with Genna’s absent parents and obsession with dramatics and Zoe’s micromanaging parents and preoccupation with tennis. They’re moving onto high school and the teashop is pretty much the only thing they have in common anymore. But the past is not quite strong enough to hold them together. Annie seems to be the only one wanting to hold onto the bright memory. Annie’s frustrations with her friends are very real and I think we’ve all had those friends who just drift away from us through no fault of our own. The only odd thing about the book I could note was that Annie called her grandmother by her first name, Louisa. For a relationship that was portrayed as so close, this seemed very distancing. I don’t understand why the author would choose to do that.
The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer is a fun read and would be perfect to read to a little girl. Perhaps you could create your own teashop girls club? There are several recipes and activities includes throughout the book. I can image having a lot of fun in somebody’s backyard, reading this book and having a tea party with some little girls. (I’ve already decided to give this book to my friend, whose little girl is 16 months old. I’m sure they would both get a kick out of it. I’m thinking it would make an awesome birthday party in a few years.) It was a nice read, something to pull out during a quiet moment and have a spot of tea with.
(P.S. I’m trying something a little different with the format of my review posts. Let me know what you think.)