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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Mom loves these books -- her tween does too
How many books portray moms AND tweens in a realistic enlightening way? Not many. In much of the juvenile fiction I've read, the parents are either stereotypical no-fun nags, or super-human, or not well-developed.

The Mother-Daughter Bookclub series allows moms to see their daughters in a new light -- and vice-versa, I hope. I love that the moms are going...
Published on December 3, 2009 by Jennifer Donovan

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
I just have read the first book in the series and this one, and feel it is an interesting premise. I fully support all efforts to encourage kids to read, especially the classics. I think though that they didn't spend alot of time actually talking about the books and I think that would have been interesting, from adult/child POV, with the different time periods, etc. I...
Published on November 30, 2011 by susannah


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Mom loves these books -- her tween does too, December 3, 2009
This review is from: Dear Pen Pal (The Mother-Daughter Book Club) (Hardcover)
How many books portray moms AND tweens in a realistic enlightening way? Not many. In much of the juvenile fiction I've read, the parents are either stereotypical no-fun nags, or super-human, or not well-developed.

The Mother-Daughter Bookclub series allows moms to see their daughters in a new light -- and vice-versa, I hope. I love that the moms are going through their own issues and struggles as well. For example, in DEAR PEN PAL, one mom is trying to become "A whole new me," and another mom is dealing with her disapproving mother looking over her shoulder since she's moved in for a time.

The tweens are really growing up. They are in 8th grade now, and Jess goes off to boarding school (but is still near-by).

The book they read is Daddy Long Legs, by Jean Webster, which parallels Jess's situation nicely. My daughter and I both read Daddy Long Legs and loved it. I thank Heather Vogel Frederick for introducing it to us. I think that this book focuses more on the girls than the book themes, and for that reason, you don't miss much if you aren't familiar with it. In fact, Frederick takes pains not to reveal the surprise ending of Daddy Long Legs so that if girls choose to read it after, it won't be spoiled.

Another fantastic addition to this series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Series!, October 3, 2009
By 
BeachReader113 "DJ" (Westchester, New York USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dear Pen Pal (The Mother-Daughter Book Club) (Hardcover)
I just love this series! Its a great Middle School book and a great one for both mother and daughter to enjoy together!. My daughter and I both read them and then discussd the book and the relationships. I love the first two books and this one too! I look forward more in this series, or at least from this writer!
Our favorite parts of the books is how they interweaved a classic book. The first book made us want to read Little Women as soon as we finished!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another great addition to the series!, August 16, 2010
This review is from: Dear Pen Pal (The Mother-Daughter Book Club) (Hardcover)
Our favorite book club girls are growing up! This year they're in eighth grade. I love how they age with each book. I'm curious to see if the series' themes will change from MG to YA as the girls enter high school. As of now, they're still in that in-between stage. A little more confident and mature than as sixth graders, but without some of the problems that they will likely encounter in high school.

The Mother Daughter Book Club selection for eighth grade is Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster. As with the second book, I am disappointed that it doesn't talk more about the book club selection. It has fabulous tidbits about the author presented in worksheet format and incorporate plot-points of the novel, but you don't really learn much about the book. Luckily, I have read Daddy Long Legs so I understood what they were talking about. Otherwise, I'd be more confused than anything else.

Of course, the book club selection really is just a side-plot. I love this series because of the four girls and their mothers. I should say five girls, because Becca and Mrs. Chadwick are now firmly entrenched in the book club. I was disappointed that we never heard Becca's point of view, since I've grown to like her. I hope she will became a central character in later books.

Each girl faces challenges this year. Cassidy, never one for change, is horrified that her mother is having a baby. Jess is now attending a local boarding school on scholarship. She has to deal with a mean-girl roommate and discover how low she is willing to stoop in response. Megan is thrilled that her grandmother is visiting long-term; she is a kindred spirit. But it also presents a need to understand and re-evaluate her relationship with her mother. Emma, who is the most "blah" character - a low-self-esteem bookworm (very much like myself at that age) - is ironically the first girl to have serious boy issues. This year is a challenge for Emma to find her own voice. Becca is still Becca but getting nicer. We don't notice her growth as much since she's always seen through other characters' eyes.

The Mother Daughter Book Club has something for everyone. Each character, whether adult or child, is so different that every reader can find someone like herself. The plot does get resolved a bit too conveniently to be believable, but realism isn't why I enjoy this series. It's just good fun.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great tween read, February 10, 2010
This review is from: Dear Pen Pal (The Mother-Daughter Book Club) (Hardcover)
Dear Pen Pal is the 3rd installment of The Mother-Daughter Book Club series. A group of girls and their mother have formed a reading group to discuss books that they read throughout the year. In Dear Pen Pal the group is reading Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster. This year the mother's have paired the girls up with another Mother-Daughter book club group. This group is in Wyoming. The mother's from both groups decide that the girls should become Pen-Pals. When the mother's say Pen-Pals they do not mean IM'ing, or texting or e-mailing Pen-Pals. They mean actually sitting down and writing a letter and mailing snail mail Pen-Pals. You must read the first two books to be able to follow the characters.

Meet the girls:

Becca: Becca is the newest member of the group. The girls still cannot decide if she is a friend or an enemy. So they call her a "frenemy". Becca's mom has decided that this is the year that she is going to "improve herself" all of her outlandish outfits make quite an embarrassing situation for Becca. Becca's pen pal is Zoe Winchester. Zoe's mom is the mayor of their town. Will Becca and Zoe hit it off or are they too much alike to ever be friends?

Cassidy: Cassidy is a girl-jock. she loves sports. She is the first girl to be on the all-boys ice hockey team. Cassidy's dad has passed away and her mother has recently re-married. To add to Cassidy's disgruntlement with the situation her mother and step-dad inform her and the group that they are going to have a baby. Cassidy is not happy. Cassidy is paired up as a pen-pal to Winky Parker. Winky's family own a Dude Ranch. Cassidy is not getting along with all of the changes in her life. Will this new little one soften her heart?

Jess: Jess's family own a farm. They work hard and there isn't much money to spare. Jess loves her home and loves her friends. Jess is given a scholarship to Colonial Academy. A very prestigious boarding school for girls. Jess doesn't want to leave her friends at Walden Middle School. In order to please her family she agrees to go. She is placed in a room with Savannah, a senator's daughter. Savannah is a typical priviledged girl and the girls do not get along. Jess is paired up as a pen pal with Madison Daniels. Jess's mother figured since Jess loves to sing and Madison loves to play the guitar that the girls should have music as a common interest. Jess likes Emma's brother Darcy. When Savannah asks Darcy to go to a dance with her the little bit of friendship that Jess felt towards her evaporates. Will the girls ever learn how to get along?

Emma: Emma loves to write. Emma loves to read. Walden Middle School has decided to make students wear uniforms this year. Will Emma find that the "Pen is mightier than the sword" and be able to change the faculties mind about uniforms? Emma has a boyfriend, Stewart is Becca's brother. Will Emma be the first club member to be kissed? Emma is paired up as a pen pal with Bailey Jacobs. Bailey's mother owns a bookstore. The girls are sure to get along!

Megan: This year Megan's grandmother moves in with her and her family. Megan seems to get along better with her grandmother than she does with her own mother. Megan's mother doesn't understand Megan's interest in fashion. Megan doesn't understand why she is an only child. Why does her mother have to be so different? Megan is paired up as a pen-pal with Summer Williams. Summer sews quilts and Megan sews clothes, it should be the perfect match right?

So far I have enjoyed all three books in the Mother-Daughter Book Club series. I am looking forward to the next installment. All 3 books deal with friendship issues and with social issues. These novels are so refreshing from the novels that deal with drugs and sex. I know that middle schoolers are dealing with those issues too, but there are also kids that aren't dealing with those darker issues of life. BUT they still are having to deal with acceptance among their peers, family issues, and other growing up issues. Life isn't all rose-colored glasses, and neither are these novels.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely adore this series!, November 22, 2009
This review is from: Dear Pen Pal (The Mother-Daughter Book Club) (Hardcover)
This is probably my favorite tween series that is out there. I absolutely adore the characters, the storylines, the setup of the entire series. It's one of the few series where I wish I could literally dive in the story and become a character. ,It combines everything that I love in a great book: a cast of characters that's totally multi-dimensional and loves to read, food, friends and fun. It's a recipe guaranteed for success, at least in my opinion.

There's lots of humor in this book and I laughed out loud quite a few times. Also featured in the book are the awkward feelings that thirteen year old girls face, which I remember sadly all too well. The author does a wonderful job at portraying this without getting too sappy or uncomfortable. At the same time though, the writing is easy to read and just keeps you wanting to turn pages. I really like seeing how both the girls and their moms have changed since the beginning of the series. The mother-daughter relationships are just as important as the girls' friendship and it is interesting to see how different and unique each bond is. I was also pleased to see some Chinese culture come into play with Megan's grandmother.

I will admit, I had never heard of Daddy Long Legs before reading this book but now I totally want to read it! It's always great to hear about new books and from the talk in this book, this sounds like a great children's classic that I missed out on. The FAQ sheets that are handed out at the book club meetings serve as a plus for the readers who want to learn more about the author and how they wrote the book.

I'm wondering if we'll be getting a first person section from Becca in the following books. I am really impressed at how she's matured since the first book and has now become part of the gang. I'm also glad to see that the other girls do not hold grudges against her. These girls are very mature for their age and it's nice to see them act responsible. At the same time though, they still act like kids which is perfectly fine. It's such a refreshing change from books like The Clique series, where the characters there are acting like miniature wannabe adults.

I cannot wait until the next book in the series comes out. Honestly this is one of those books that I cannot find a single fault in. Everything in this book is truly wonderful and readers of all ages will enjoy it and be inspired to read the books mentioned in it as well. VERY HIGHLY recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Mother-Daughter Discussion Book, October 30, 2009
This review is from: Dear Pen Pal (The Mother-Daughter Book Club) (Hardcover)
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the Mother-Daughter book club series by Heather Vogel Frederick; and the third book in the series DEAR PEN PAL is another wonderful middle-grade book. I feel as if I already know (and love) the girls in the book club, and I just really enjoy reading about their middle school experiences. In fact, I was a little sad when I finished this book because there isn't another one waiting for me. I am going to have to wait awhile for book 4 (and book 5) in the series.

In DEAR PEN PAL, the girls are now in 8th grade and their last year of middle school. I love to read about middle grade girls because I think they are at such an interesting age. There are so many changes going on in their lives (as well as their bodies) during these years. I think so many young girls are starting to figure out who they really are; and I thought it was quite appropriate that the author chose to have "change" as a central theme in this novel.

All of the girls experience some type of change in this book. One of the girls, Jess, ends up going to a local boarding school instead of the public middle school that all of her friends attend. Of course Jess' life has drastically changed because she is attending a new school, but she also has to deal with not seeing her friends on a daily basis and she has to learn to adjust to a difficult roommate. In addition to Jess, Cassidy has to deal with her mother's marriage as well as another huge surprise; and Megan has to handle being caught in the middle when her grandmother comes to live with her family. And finally, Emma (my favorite) not only misses her best friend Jess but finds that she is the first girl in their group to get a real boyfriend!

As is the case with all of the books in the Mother-Daughter Book Club series, DEAR PEN PAL had a classic book tie-in. This time it was DADDY LONG LEGS by Jean Webster. I wasn't familiar with this book prior to reading DEAR PEN PAL, but I am totally sold on it now. It sounds fantastic, and I can't wait to read it and see the little drawings. I really appreciated how the author not only had the girls read this book for their book club, but she also incorporated some of the characters' actions and story lines into the girls' 8th grade lives.

Another part of this book that I really liked was how the girls became pen pals with another mother-daughter book club in Wyoming. Since this was the mothers' idea, some of the girls weren't entirely sure that they wanted to hand-write letters to total strangers. I loved how the author not only tied in letter writing to the book DADDY LONG LEGS, but she also pointed out how valuable letter writing can be and why we shouldn't stop just because we have modern (and instantaneous) technology. Pen pals almost seem to be a thing of the past, and I think that's kind of sad.

It's difficult for me to express why I love these books so much (because there are so many reasons), but I think the main one is because of the characters. They are just sweet girls who experience typical middle grade life like school, friendships, boyfriends, family dynamics, etc. (and of course lots of change!) As a mother, I appreciate that these stories all have nice girls (although they have been known to play some not-so-nice tricks on each other); and that the stories are all clean -- I don't have to worry about what my daughter is taking away from these books.

And best of all, these books all have such wonderful messages! By seeing the actions of these girls and their families, I think readers will see that it's okay to make mistakes and learn from them -- no one is perfect. I also think that young girls will realize that there are other people out there experiencing similar things and having the same fears and insecurities; and that's it absolutely normal! I also hope that girls will not only see that it is "cool" to be in a mother-daughter book club (and read) but that it is also important to respect others and treat them as you would want to be treated.

By now, you know how terrific I think these books are and how perfect they are for mother-daughter book clubs. They are discussion questions in the back of the book, but I couldn't find a link for them (probably because the book is still so new.) DEAR PEN PAL has so many wonderful things for girls and their moms to discuss like: what change is happening in their lives, what character do you most relate to in this book, have you ever had a pen pal (or would you want one), have you ever had a friend move away or have you ever moved away just to name a few. What is so great about DEAR PEN PAL is that the girls (and moms) will love the story, but there are also a lot of issues that you can discuss with each other.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club.com, November 16, 2009
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This review is from: Dear Pen Pal (The Mother-Daughter Book Club) (Hardcover)
Emma, Jess, Megan and Cassidy are back for another year of reading in their mother-daughter book club in Heather Vogel Frederick's new book, Dear Pen Pal. Cracking this third book in the mother-daughter book club series is like reconnecting with old friends. The girls are in eighth grade this year, and they've learned a lot about friendship and family relationships.

In their ever-evolving lives, as it is with most of us, just when they figure out how to handle one challenge, another pops up. This time the challenges include dealing with a mean-spirited boarding school roommate, changing family dynamics when new family members move in and others move out, and navigating relationships with boys.

The girls are reading Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster, and Frederick once again seamlessly weaves in storylines that somewhat match those of Webster's classic. The girls and moms learn fun facts about Jean Webster as they gather for book club discussions. The book club members also connect with a pen pal club in Gopher Hole, Wyoming, and it's fun to read little snippets about the lives of these new girls and their moms through their letters.

I can't wait to see what the whole gang will be up to in the fourth book of the series when the girls start high school. I highly recommend this whole series for members of mother-daughter book clubs with girls who are 9 to 13.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just love these books!, November 30, 2009
By 
CookieBooky (www.CookieBooky.com) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dear Pen Pal (The Mother-Daughter Book Club) (Hardcover)
This is another enjoyable book in a series of books that I have enjoyed so much. The girls in the book club are growing up and learning more about themselves and the world around them. This time they are reading books by Jean Webster. I haven't (yet) read the Webster books but my interest is now piqued.

Jess is given a scholarship to the local private school where her greatest challenge is not the academics but a roommate that makes Becca Chadwick look like Miss Congeniality. Emma's relationship with Stewart grows and she finds a new friend in an unexpected place. Megan explores her relationship with her mother through a visit from her grandmother. Cassidy learns about life as the Sloane-Kincaid family grows and changes.

In addition to everything that's happening in Concord, the girls are reading Daddy-Long-Legs which is told through a series of letters. To broaden the experience for the book club girls, Mrs. Hawthorne sets up a pen pal for each girl. Their pen pals are from Gopher Hole, Wyoming and each has uncanny similarities to the girls in Concord.

I try (but never succeed) to read these Mother-Daughter Book Club stories slowly so that I can `hang out' with the group for just a little longer. I think that girls (and their mothers) reading these books can find a bit of themselves in each character. I look forward to the next in the series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars How Can YOU Relate To It?, January 11, 2011
By 
Amazon Customer (Peachtree City, GA USA) - See all my reviews
Dear Pen Pal is a story teenage girls can truly relate to in many ways. They are not normally in the same predicament, but can be reminded of a time when they felt the same way as one of the charaters. In one of the books, Cassidy Sloane's mother and Stanley Kinkaid are getting married. Cassidy doesn't want them to, because she still misses her dad. He died a year ago, and Cassidy feels like her mother is forgetting about him. Most people are not usually in that exact situation, but they can relate to the change.
The people in the book also read real books, so if what they are reading sounds interesting, you can also read that book. In Dear Pen Pal, they read two books, Daddy-Long-Legs and the sequel, Just Patty. So if you need things to read, then you would have three right there!
Another great thing about this book is that it makes you laugh out loud. It is a story about teenagers, and they can also be hilarious at unexpected moments.
You also get to know all of the characters and read the story from their different points of view. It lets you know how everyone feels about something, like about what book they are reading, events that are happening, or what their friends are like.
Dear Pen Pal will keep you glued to it for hours on end, enjoying the story all the while.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars another solid work about the Mother-Daughter bookclub, September 20, 2009
By 
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This review is from: Dear Pen Pal (The Mother-Daughter Book Club) (Hardcover)
Cassidy, Emma, Megan, and Jess are back, and going into 8th grade. The book club has some changes in store this year, and individual members struggle a bit with change. Becca is back, and much improved. There's a new "mean girl" involved with the group, a secret, a first kiss, and a long distance trip or two. The girls are reading "Daddy Long Legs" in this book, along with a sequel. The books are less intertwined with the overall plot, though there is a certain connection, it is far less intrinsic than in the previous "Club" books. This book doesn't seem as unique as the others in the series, as the scenes near the book's end are fairly predictable and wrap up a little too tidily. Still, it's a fun book and quite enjoyable for girls and moms alike. I am very much looking to what I assume will be a 4th and final book in the series, so there will be one for each of the four original book club members.
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Dear Pen Pal (The Mother-Daughter Book Club)
Dear Pen Pal (The Mother-Daughter Book Club) by Heather Vogel Frederick (Hardcover - September 22, 2009)
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