|Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes
|What You Need to Know:
• Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes is a terrific and light tween book you can be happy about putting into your
• If you are ok with putting stories about boys and crushes into your middle reader's hands, then this is a great one
to start with. Note the girls in this story don't have much interaction with boys, they mostly just talk about them.
• While the title might seem otherwise, the main theme here is friendship and girlfriends, not boys.
• This is an entertaining story and perfectly timed for Valentine's Day.
• Check out the authors website here to learn more about Lisa Greenwald.
|Sweet Book Summary:
The main characters in Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes are three seventh grade girls who have been best friends forever. Georgia is the quiet one, Kate is the loud, somewhat trouble-making one and Olivia is the bookish reporter type, always jotting down her observations in her notebooks. The story is set within the apartment building where the girls live in Brooklyn and it takes place all on one day - Valentine's Day. But this isn't your usual Valentine's Day, this is a snow day. Given that New York City schools almost never close, this is a special event. (Clearly this book was written before this crazy winter (2011) we are experiencing right now here in NY!) The girls are equally excited and disappointed. A snow day is great, but now they won't get an opportunity to see the boys they have crushes on at school. They will have to wait a whole year for another Valentine's opportunity to mingle with them on the most romantic (read: over-hyped) day of the year.
Georgia's parents own a restaurant called Chen's Kitchen and it is located on the first floor of the building. The Chens are also disappointed with this snow situation, because Valentine's Day should be one of the biggest days of the year for them, and now that's ruined. The girls make the best of it. Mrs. Chen teaches the girls how to make the homemade fortune cookies that Chen's Kitchen is famous for, and the girls have a ball. While making the cookies Mrs. Chen regales the girls with stories of what the building used to be like - when neighbors knew each other and gathered in the hallways for meals and gossip. The girls cannot even imagine an environment like that. They probably wouldn't have even met each other if they didn't live on the same floor and go to the same school.
The girls hatch a plan. They decide to pass the fortune cookies out to all their neighbors as they will most likely be home, everyone is snowed in. The girls hope the friendly gesture and the yummy, slightly magical treats may just bring some of that friendliness back to the building. Kate also heard her crush, Brendan, may be visiting the building!
The girls have a long day filled with the angst of seventh grade girl friendships, especially when boys are introduced into those friendships. The author handles this with great care and really respects the age and the dramas that go along with it. Her characters don't really even interact with their crushes, but they sure do talk a lot about them! However, after a long day of meeting all kinds of neighbors, the girls ultimately come to realize how valuable their friendship is and that boys shouldn't take away from that. I love that message! It's a good one for girls heading into this age group.
Disney and Nickelodeon, don't do our tweens any favors with their twenty two minute stories. They never fully show the real side of friendships and relationships in their stunted story arcs. This book is a very entertaining read and gives the example of a real friendship, taking it through an authentic story arc with a very satisfying conclusion. The girls ultimately understand and appreciate the value of each other.
|Author: Lisa Greenwald Illustrator: N/A Published: 2010, 304 pages
Themes: Adventure, Friendship, Family Life, Growing Up
|Sweet Discussion Questions:
• What do you think about the girls' friendship?
• Are they kind to each other?
• Do you think Kate is a good friend?
• Do you think Olivia is really annoying, or just refreshingly honest?
• Do you think it is Georgia's prerogative to be quiet?
• What do you think about Kate's home life?
• Does she deserve to be punished as much as she is being punished? Why or why not?
• Do any of the girls in this book remind you of any of the girls you know?
• Do you think the girls or the fortune cookies were the ones who brought the building together on that snowy day?
How was it done?
• What do you do on a snow day?
|This recommendation was written by: Melissa Y.
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