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The Teashop Girls (Paula Wiseman Books) Hardcover – December 30, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Everything tea drinkers might want to know about that beverage can be found in this clever first novel. Thirteen-year-old Annie is determined to keep her grandmother's old-fashioned teashop from going out of business. As she tries to drum up new customers, she faces other problems as well: her two best friends' waning interest in the project, her ill-fated crush on her grandmother's cute new employee and unwanted attention from a less desirable boy. Recipes, facts and quotes about tea are sandwiched between the chapters, and cozy illustrations of teapots and cakes alongside photographs of vintage advertisements add to the fun. However, the onslaught of extras can interrupt the flow of the story. Like the mismatched interior of the Steeping Leaf cafe, the eclectic, slightly cluttered nature of this book won't be everyone's cup of you-know-what, but those who share the heroine's passion for funk (and, of course, tea) will drink it up. Ages 8–14. (Dec.)
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As children, Annie, Zoe, and Genna hung out at Annie’s grandmother’s teashop and called themselves the Teashop Girls. Now nearing the end of middle school, they’re still best friends, but Annie works at the shop while her friends are involved other activities. Annie rallies Zoe and Genna to help when she learns that the teashop may have to close. Their creative marketing ploys sometimes flop, but their efforts pay off in unexpected ways. At the heart of this first-person narrative is Annie’s fear of change and her reluctant realization of childhood’s end as she sees high school on the horizon. Her hopes of romance with an older coworker are dashed in a realistic way, but her firm base of friends and family provides equally realistic grounding for this sympathetic character. Tea lovers will enjoy the scrapbook entries of tea history, lore, advertisements, and recipes as well as the quotes that appear at the beginning of each chapter. Like good tea: comforting, refreshing, and sustaining. Grades 5-8. --Carolyn Phelan
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This book is a five star book, best for ten to thirteen year olds. This book is five stars because it meets all of my criteria: I can relate to the characters, it’s funny, and there is drama.
I can relate to the characters. For example, “My eyes filled with tears. Maybe helping out was just q phase for Gen. She didn’t really care about it after all,” (Page 198). This shows that I can relate to the characters because it is normal to fight with friends sometimes even if it’s about something stupid. Another example is, “[…] It was a Friday and I am a freak for even thinking about homework on a Friday,” (Page 31). Because of this we know that the Teashop Girls also are always worried about homework and if they forgot to do anything for school just like I always do.
This book is funny. For example on page 4-5 it says, “And the silence of the storage room is blissful. It’s just me, upside down and Zenlike amidst a few dozen boxes of loose tea, some old teacups […] ‘I am one with the tea. The tea is one with me. I am one with the t---’” (Page 4-5). This proves that this book is funny because you don’t usually think of yourself as one with the tea, you usually think that you are one with the universe. Here is another example where there is humour, “‘I was standing on my head. I do that,’” (Page 7). This shows that this book has humour because normally people don’t stand on their heads in a storage room.
There is drama. For instance, “‘That’s what I thought at first, too,’ I said. ‘Stuff happens. But I think there might have been an unpaid bill. Louisa says that the Steeping Leaf doesn’t have a hip crowd; it has a hip-replacement crowd. What if they’ve mostly all croaked, and there’s no new customers?’” (Page 26). Because of this, we know that the Steeping leaf is having financial troubles and it leaves you wondering what will happen next. Another example is on page 188, “‘[…] Anyway, you might want to ask your friend what she said about this summer. After you left. Sounds like there will be one less Teashop Girl around.’” (Page 188) This proves that the book has drama because Annie is left wondering what Zach (Her enemy) is talking about and is confused.
All in all, in this book, we learn that friendship is a very powerful force. There are a lot of books, but I have never seen a book like this. This was such a good book it has inspired me to read the whole series. If you like books where you can you relate to the characters, and books with drama and humour, I would recommend reading this book.