Queen Bee and Me
by McDunn, Gillian






A girl who has always put her popular best friend's preferences first decides to take a science course instead of her friend's dance class and partners with a quirky newcomer who helps her better understand the common social traits of bees and humans.





Gillian McDunn is the author of Caterpillar Summer. She has lived in California, Missouri, and North Carolina, and is a fan of both the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. She currently lives near Raleigh, NC, with her family.
www.gillianmcdunn.com





*Starred Review* Midway through seventh grade, Meg grows tired of pressure from her best friend, Beatrix, to take ballet class with her again and to stop using the silly "babyish" goodbye phrases that have been their inside joke since kindergarten. Meg's already on thin ice with Beatrix for taking an advanced science elective rather than dance. When Meg befriends a new classmate, Hazel, who keeps bees, Beatrix becomes downright hostile to her, undermining the newcomer and spreading rumors. Beatrix's mother even mounts a campaign to outlaw backyard beekeeping. Meanwhile, Hazel blames Meg for sharing information about her family with Beatrix. Feeling torn, guilt-ridden, and overwhelmed, Meg struggles to decide where her loyalties lie and comes to an unconventional conclusion. Meg's observant, first-person narrative is equally adept at capturing the nuances of her friends' emotionally charged verbal sparring and her own misery when both girls turn against her. The writing vividly depicts aspects of the physical world as well. In one memorable phrase, Meg describes Hazel in her white beekeeper's coveralls and veiled headgear as looking "like an astronaut bride." McDunn portrays the intertwined emotional lives of middle-school kids with sensitivity and precision, while including relevant interactions within their families. An insightful story of friendship and change. Grades 4-7. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.





*Starred Review* Midway through seventh grade, Meg grows tired of pressure from her best friend, Beatrix, to take ballet class with her again and to stop using the silly "babyish" goodbye phrases that have been their inside joke since kindergarten. Meg's already on thin ice with Beatrix for taking an advanced science elective rather than dance. When Meg befriends a new classmate, Hazel, who keeps bees, Beatrix becomes downright hostile to her, undermining the newcomer and spreading rumors. Beatrix's mother even mounts a campaign to outlaw backyard beekeeping. Meanwhile, Hazel blames Meg for sharing information about her family with Beatrix. Feeling torn, guilt-ridden, and overwhelmed, Meg struggles to decide where her loyalties lie and comes to an unconventional conclusion. Meg's observant, first-person narrative is equally adept at capturing the nuances of her friends' emotionally charged verbal sparring and her own misery when both girls turn against her. The writing vividly depicts aspects of the physical world as well. In one memorable phrase, Meg describes Hazel in her white beekeeper's coveralls and veiled headgear as looking "like an astronaut bride." McDunn portrays the intertwined emotional lives of middle-school kids with sensitivity and precision, while including relevant interactions within their families. An insightful story of friendship and change. Grades 4-7. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.





It's tough to stand up to the queen. Anxious Meg has always deferred to bold, popular Beatrix—knowing, unhappily, that Beatrix will quickly freeze her out if she doesn't. Beatrix dictates what electives the two will share, what childhood traditions they will and won't retain, and what Meg must do or say to retain her favor. When Meg is one of four seventh graders to be accepted into the competitive science elective, the very thought of telling Beatrix that they will no longer share dance brings unparalleled terror. However, it is eccentric, bee-obsessed new girl Hazel who relates that ill news at a more ill-fated neighborhood party, invoking Beatrix's immediate animosity and Meg's warring admiration and consternation. As Meg and Hazel begin to forge a connection through a science project featuring Hazel's bees, Meg must find the courage to face down her failing friendship with Beatrix, her town's (and her own) prejudices against the bees, and, ultimately, herself. Meg's first-person narration is emotive an d candid, maintaining sympathy even as her occasional hypocrisy provokes outrage. Middle school drama, including concerns regarding the legitimacy of its power, is tenderly treated, and the connections between characters—family, friends, classmates, and teachers—feel refreshingly genuine. The novel adheres to a white default, with some ethnic diversity among the supporting cast. McDunn's tale of growing beyond a toxic childhood friendship will ring painfully true for many a reader. (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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