Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review: Wish You Were Eyre

Summary: It’s a dream come true for Megan, who’s jet-setting to Paris for Fashion Week with Gigi. Meanwhile, back in Concord, Mrs. Wong decides to run for mayor, so Emma and Stewart team up to make her campaign a success. Jess and Cassidy are also hoping for victories, Jess in the a cappella finals with the MadriGals and Cassidy in the national hockey championships with her teammates. In the midst of it all, the girls—along with their Wyoming pen pals, who drop in for a visit over Spring Break—dive into Charlotte Brontë’s classic Jane Eyre. Some real life romance follows, as Becca may have found a Mr. Rochester of her own.

And then there’s the matter of a certain wedding. The book club girls, their families, the British Berkeley brothers, and even Stinkerbelle will be attending the ceremony, which means there might be some bumps before the bride waltzes down the aisle…. -- Simon & Schuster

It was with a little sadness that I picked up WISH YOU WERE EYRE by Heather Vogel Frederick. This novel is the sixth, and last, book in The Mother-Daughter Book Club series; and I have so enjoyed reading and discussing this series with my daughter. I have enjoyed seeing these young girls (and even their mothers) change through the years, and I have also loved seeing how the author managed to tie each book to a famous piece of literature. Needless to say, I am extremely sad that next fall I won't have another one of these novels to look forward to!

WISH YOU WERE EYRE picks up right where HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS left off. Spring Break is quickly approaching and all of the girls are incredibly busy with school, after-school activities, and of course, their mother-daughter book club. Megan is getting ready to head to Paris' Fashion Week with her grandmother, while her mother makes a run for mayor of Concord with Emma and her boyfriend Stewart as her campaign managers. Meanwhile, Jess is hoping to head to the a cappella finals and Cassidy wants to win the national hockey championships. And Becca takes a trip with her grandmother to Minnesota (not nearly as glamorous as Paris!) where she manages finds a little romance.

Despite all of the trips and activities, the girls still have a little time for fun. Their Wyoming pen pals (from the novel DEAR PEN PAL) visit Concord, and all of the girls discuss Charlotte Bronte's JANE EYRE. Once again, the girls are surprised by the relevance of the novel and how it pertains to their present-day lives. As the girls move towards the end of their high school years, they all realize that many changes are in store for them. However, they still manage to shake things and make a little mischief before they part ways!

Booking Daughter and I both thought WISH YOU WERE EYRE was a fantastic way to end this series. In fact, I probably shouldn't admit this, but I teared up at the end of this story. As the girls and their moms reminisced about the past and their old book club meetings, I found myself fondly remembering all of the fun I had reading these books and getting to know these characters. And truth be told, it also made me realize how quickly my own "little girl" is growing up!

As is the case with every book in this series, in WISH YOU WERE EYRE, the girls and their mothers read a book for their book club. This time, it was JANE EYRE and the author definitely did a great job tying the characters and plot of JANE EYRE to these girls' lives. Becca even met her own Mr. Rochester! I haven't read JANE EYRE yet, but I intend to pick it up shortly because this novel gave enough teasers to pique my interest. In addition, I love how Emma's mother (the librarian) always includes "fun facts" about the book and the author that she shares with the girls at their meetings. I loved learning a little trivia about Ms. Bronte (and her family), and I think it's terrific that Ms. Frederick manages to make these books educational in addition to entertaining.

I was definitely wearing my "mom hat" while typing that last sentence, but I also want to mention that I like WISH YOU WERE EYRE, and all of the books in the series, have some very positive messages. I will say that the girls don't always act like nice young ladies, though their behavior is probably pretty realistic. However, by the end of the books, they learn valuable lessons about friendship and kindness; and they even end up doing the "right thing." I think the overall positive messages, along with likable characters and  an entertaining story, make these books ideal for tween girls.

WISH YOU WERE EYRE would make a great book club pick especially for mother-daughter groups. Our group read the first book in the series a few years ago and it was a big hit. Of course it didn't hurt that the author called in! There is a reading guide in the back of the book with some great questions. Some of the themes you might want to explore include jealousy, first impressions. quick judgments, sibling relationships, friendship, travel, false accusations, guilt, hobbies, and competition.

I adored WISH YOU WERE EYRE despite being a little sad about the end of the series. I highly recommend this novel (and the rest of the series) to tween girls... and their mothers!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel.


Julie said...

I am so glad that you have highlighted this series! I also just finished this book and loved the entire series. I also teared up at the end and will miss reading more about these characters. When my daughter is older (she is only 1 right now) I will re-read these books with her. Thanks!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

OMG I can't believe you haven't read Jane Eyre! :--) Have you seen any of the movies? If not, I wouldn't recommend the most recent, but any of the previous ones are great!

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

I haven't even heard of this series, but it sounds like it was wonderful for you and your daughter to read together. I love books that do that.

bermudaonion said...

This sounds like a wonderful series - I can see why you were sad to let it go. It's rather refreshing to see an author end a series on a high note.

Serena said...

so sad that the series has ended...let's hope there is another mother-daughter series out there for the book club. I've never read Eyre, either, so don't feel bad.

Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

Daisy Daughter LOVES this series...we bought Eyre last week and she has read it twice already!!! So sad to see it come to an end.