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Make Lemonade Teacher Guide Literature Book (Make Lemonade #1)

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,845 Ratings  ·  955 Reviews
An award-winning novel about growing up and making choices

Virginia Euwer Wolff's groundbreaking novel, written in free verse, tells the story of fourteen-year-old LaVaughn, who is determined to go to college--she just needs the money to get there.

When she answers a babysitting ad, LaVaughn meets Jolly, a seventeen-year-old single mother with two kids by different fathers.
Published (first published May 15th 1993)
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Richard Derus
Nov 06, 2012 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4* of five

The Book Description: Virginia Euwer Wolff's groundbreaking novel, written in free verse, tells the story of fourteen-year-old LaVaughn, who is determined to go to college--she just needs the money to get there. When she answers a babysitting ad, LaVaughn meets Jolly, a seventeen-year-old single mother with two kids by different fathers. As she helps Jolly make lemonade out of the lemons her life has given her, LaVaughn learns some lessons outside the classroom. With two kids h
Dec 14, 2012 Jami rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This was a very powerful book for me. It's a novel told in a free verse style, and I wondered if that would bother me. I soon realized, though, that the verse style made the story more powerful. Even though it reads very easily as a novel, it allowed the author to place subtle emphasis on certain words and phrases. I loved it!

Make Lemonade is the story of 14-year-old LaVaughn who befriends Jolly, 17-year-old mother of two, when she answers Jolly's ad for a babysitter. It's easy for her to judge
Jubilation Lee
Some books use free verse and I want to bang my head against a wall and shriek "WHY?! Why are regular sentences not good enough for you?!"

This wasn't one of those books.

I actually really liked the structure. Way to be all poetic, author!

I've heard iffy things about the other books in the series--especially book three--so I probably won't continue past Make Lemonade. But pretending it's a stand-alone, I thought it was very well done. You don't get too much detail about any of the characters, whic
Feb 17, 2009 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Fourteen-year-old LaVaughn answers an ad for an after-school babysitting job that turns out to be life-changing. She cares for the two young children of 17-year-old Jolly, who works second shift at a factory and whose life is a mess. When Jolly gets fired, LaVaughn babysits for free during Jolly's job search. The book is beautiful to read with a poetic style that defies rules and expectations, and tells a provoking story that challenges the reader's assumptions about poverty, teen pregnancy, and ...more
Nov 14, 2012 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This book has been sitting on the bookshelf in my classroom for 8 years, but I only now had the pleasure of reading it.

I loved it.

It has symbolism, poetic format, imagery, philosophical/political issues regarding teenage moms and welfare, and two emotionally strong, female protagonists. Two teenage girls - one a mom, the other her children's babysitter-become friends and develop their self-esteem and strength together.

It gripped my heart at the end, there. Phew. Wasn't prepared for those
Anney Ryan
Feb 04, 2009 Anney Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this! Another one from my YA Lit class. It's a highly accessible story about two teenage girls growing up in a rough neighborhood. One babysits the other's two young babies, to make money for college. It's written in the style of urban poetry. The story tells about daily life, and offers little originality in the topic matter, but it still manages to be really interesting. It asks deep questions about socio-economics, in ways that kids can grapple with them.
Jun 12, 2008 Bri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All of my friends at school
Recommended to Bri by: Ms.Cook
Shelves: best-of-the-best
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joy Lee
Dec 27, 2010 Joy Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

LaVaughn needed a part-time job, something she could do after school to help earn money for college. Jolly needed a babysitter, someone she could trust with two kids while she worked the evening shift.
It didn't matter that LaVaughn was fourteen, only three years younger than Jolly. It didn't matter that Jolly didn't have a husband or a mom and dad, because LaVaughn gives Jolly and her two babies more love and understanding than should be possible for a
Christine Kim
Nov 18, 2012 Christine Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Make Lemonade Book Review

LaVaughn is an ambitious girl with high hopes and dreams of going to college. She studies hard in school, gets good grades, and does her best to earn money for college. However, LaVaughn ends up babysitting Jolly’s two kids, and Jolly is a single mom who is 17 years old, struggling fiercely with life. LaVaughn is determined to show Jolly and her kids that life isn’t always sour and that a world full of sweet delights still exists. The time the four people spend with eac
Nov 06, 2012 Mmars rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't reviewed any YA on GR yet, not because I've not read any, but there's so much YA that covers all the same territory (i.e. dysfunction) in much the same way. In other words, if you've read one, you've read them all.

This book's style was fresh when published in 1993, and YA free verse writing was quickly published from other writers, evidenced by Karen Hesse winning the Newbery four years later with "Out of the Dust." Eminem's first CD came out in 1996. Poetry slams and hip hop have sin
Mar 10, 2016 Raina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this as part of my Teen Services class in grad school. Lovely.
"'I counted 17 ladies and girls on the bus.
And I thought of all the blood.
That's a lot of blood. You know?'"

I love that because that’s what I think every time I see a group of girls. I think of how much blood they bleed and how much more there’s to come. If I pour all their blood they bleed into a pool, would it overspill? Do they smell their blood after they catch their blood?
I wouldn’t have thought this woman pictured it like me.
It’s good to write things people think but don’t ever say
Joy H.
This book, _Make Lemonade_ was described in a "BookPage" review as "a journey of discovering how to turn life's lemons into lemonade".

There are now 3 books in the "Make Lemonade" trilogy. The sequel to _Make Lemonade_ is _True Believer_. The third book is _This Full House_.

The is a first-person narrative. I enjoy that voice.

The books are written in free verse poetry which the author describes as "prose in funny-shaped lines" (BookPage review, March 2009).
Third read, great every time!
Sabrina Urban
May 28, 2015 Sabrina Urban rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For my fourth quarter reading book, I read "Make Lemonade" by Virginia Euwer Wolff. This book was about a 14 year old girl named LaVaughn who lives in a small apartment with not a lot of money. Her mother tries her best to care for LaVaughn and teaches her lots of life lessons to let her know about life. LaVaughn's goal is to go to college and get a good education. So she gets a life changing job and shows her mom that she can work for what she wants. She's very inspiring.

I really like the auth
Jan 25, 2013 Genesis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As i read this book i realized that one must never give up. One must reach out for there dreams & goals. In this book the main character La Vaughn whos a younf teenage girl whos 14 years old is saving up money to pay for her collage. She got the money by working, she did anything possible to recieve that money she needed. An example of a job she did was babysitting. She believed that she had a better way to earn money other then babysitting but she stuck to the job as much she hated the plac ...more
Lavaughn is going to go to college. That’s her goal, it’s always been her goal and she knows she’s going to get there. But college is expensive and Lavaughn needs money. Thus, Lavaughn’s introduction to Jolly. Jolly is a teenage mother of two, who lives in a dumpy and filthy apartment and works afternoons at the nearest factory. But in order to keep her job, Jolly needs a babysitter. Lavaughn answers Jolly’s advertisement and is thrown into the middle of Jolly’s hard and lonely life. Jolly doesn ...more
Ashley Brocious
This is in poetic prose form all the way through. LaVaughn accepts a babysitting job with Jolly because she wants to earn money for college. Jolly turns out to be a 17 year old mother with two children. Jolly struggles to stay on top of her rent, keep the dishes from becoming a huge moldy pile of dishes, stop Jilly from hollering all the time. She is constantly fighting rent bills and constantly buying Jeremy new shoes. LaVaughn becomes stuck inside Jolly's problems with--trying to help her sift ...more
Feb 28, 2013 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A charming and uplifting novel. At first, I was a little put off by the style (free verse) in which it is written, but I would say that it "grew on me" by the end.
The main character, La Vaughn, really resonated with me, and I found myself by the end of the novel rooting for her wholeheartedly in her determination to escape her poverty- stricken neighborhood and earn a college degree.
This novel is also all about judgment, and the way we tend to look at others without truly seeing them. Euwer Wo
Aug 17, 2014 Lesley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think every teenager should read this book. This is about a 17 yr old who is a drop out with 2 kids and struggling to get by and the 14 yr babysister is so much help. This is a reality to those that think having babies is all play house and glamourous. Its hard and even harder when there is no support system and its all poverty and no baby daddies in the picture. A very realistic tale of a poor teenage mom.
Linda Lipko
Sep 26, 2012 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
What an incredible book!!!! It is rich in character development, spot on in the harsh reality of the consequences of teen aged pregnancy when there is little or no support base, poetic in words and heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time!

Needing a job to save for college, 14 year old LaVaughn accepts the position of babysitter for two children. Seventeen years old, living in poverty, surrounded by hopelessness, their mother Jolly simply cannot get a grip on how to survive and look beyond
May 05, 2015 Summer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was very powerful. 5 stars!

It was about self respect, how important education is, and when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade to feed your starving children.

This was the first book in free verse that I read and I was pleasantly surprised.
Macie Bopp
Jan 15, 2016 Macie Bopp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Make Lemonade was a great story told in the point of view of a fourteen year old girl, La Vaughn. The characters in this book are very well thought out and you can really feel what they go through. Overall I really enjoyed this book and hope to read more books by Virgina Euwer Wolf.
Oct 30, 2013 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-420
Who knew I would love a book told in verse. But to be fair, it's not rhyming and there are manageable paragraphs. Wolff tells the story of Jolly, a seventeen year old with two kids, and LaVaughn, a fourteen year old who has her sights set on college. LaVaughn works for Jolly as a babysitter to earn money for college--money that, ironically, will keep her from becoming like Jolly. LaVaughn debates this ethical dilemma, and when Jolly loses her job, LaVaughn invites Jolly to come to school. This b ...more
When I read the synopsis of this book, I thought the narrator of the book would be the single mother of two kids. However, it is the voice of the 13 year old baby-sitter that takes center stage in this book. The book does a great job of portraying how debilitating fear and poverty can be. The baby-sitter becomes an unlikely heroine as she struggles to care for her charges and encourage their mother to take advantage of programs that might help put her on a better path. It's a quick read and the ...more
Apr 09, 2013 Maggie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-and-kidlit
5 stars not just because it's excellent ... because it is ... but because Wolff really was at the leading edge of what has become a delightful genre with all kinds of wonderful possibilities--the novel in verse. I find it interesting that Wolff knew instinctively that this style of writing (which didn't even have a name at the time) would be the perfect format to address bright but struggling readers. Telescoped ideas and emotions, viscerally expressed themes; that's what this genre does best, a ...more
Galilea Estrada
May 13, 2015 Galilea Estrada rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book it was awesome how LaVaungh took care of the two toddlers of Jolly. I like how Jolly wanted her life to be better so she got in classes of parents. And finally a little green brach grew from the lemon tree.
May 14, 2015 Aryanamarin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked "Make Lemonade" because I think that it was very personal and I liked that.I really liked the character LaVaughn she would be happy than sad than crazy. I just liked that about her, I think that is what made the book really good; other things too though.(Sorry if I spelled LaVaughn wrong).
Jan 05, 2016 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4.50 stars

This story makes you think about life, social economic systems, college, and friendship.

It amazes me how this one story made me look at what I have and what my peers around me have differently. There can be many themes used to describe this story. We can talk about friendship and loyalty and rather Jolly and Lavaughn are loyal towards each other. We can talk about our social economic system and how after reading this story, we learn to realize that not everyone is given the sam
Dec 09, 2015 Cammie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Make Lemonade, by Virginia Euwer Wolff uses the lyricism, ambiguity, and somber tone of verse to tell the story of LaVaughn and her relationship with a teenage single mother, Jolly. LaVaughn studiously dreams of escaping to college with the money she’ll earn working part-time. She finds employment from Jolly, mother to a toddler boy and an infant daughter. Jolly is forced to hire LaVaughn so that she can go to work and earn some money to support her little family, but Jolly wasn’t a
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On August 25th, Virginia Euwer Wolff was born in Portland, Oregon. Her family lived on an apple and pear orchard near Mount Hood. Her father died when she was five years old and she admits her childhood was pretty messed up, but she held things together with her violin. She graduated from Smith College. She raised a son and daughter before going back to teaching high school English.
She was almost
More about Virginia Euwer Wolff...

Other Books in the Series

Make Lemonade (3 books)
  • True Believer (Make Lemonade, #2)
  • This Full House (Make Lemonade, #3)

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