Kathryn's Reviews > The Teashop Girls

The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer
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's review
Sep 20, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: annie-and-katie-bookclub, middle-grade
Read from September 07 to 20, 2012

I really wanted to love this book. The premise sounded really cute and totally my "cup of tea" ;-) I loooove tea. I loved my grandparents. I helped out my family in their home business as I was growing-up. So, I was all prepared to love the story of Annie Green, 8th grader, tea fanatic, and newest employee at her grandmother's teashop. I mean, you don't see a lot of books about 13 year olds who enjoy sipping tea out of dainty china cups, spending time with their grandma, and could tell you the difference between high tea and low tea, do you?

Unfortunately, the storytelling just didn't come together for me. I didn't feel like enough happened, or the pacing was off. If I hadn't brought this as my book-for-breaks at work, it probably would have collected dust at home. The crisis is a solid one--Annie's grandma's teashop is suffering from financial problems and may have to close. Annie and her best friends Zoe and Genna (the three "Tea Shop Girls") launch a campaign to try to save the shop and are especially dedicated since they spent so many happy hours there as girls. I did appreciate that the girls took active roles in trying to save the shop, and some of their ideas were both creative and productive. However, the plot was mired by a slow pace and lack of solid character development in some cases. For example, I never got a clear idea of what the grandma was thinking or feeling with regards to her shop. Why she loved the shop so dearly because she and her late husband had run it together and was proud of its old-fashioned, non-chain style, yet then allowed a complete overhaul for the shop to look like the competition rather than retiring and letting the shop close with all its original glory? Too, I felt that the author struggled trying to make Annie's voice authentic. On one hand, Annie seemed very mature for her age, but then the author kept popping in some, like, random teen speak, like, you know? and it was totally distracting and felt too forced. I think she tried to fit in a bunch of things, like lessons from the grandma on meditation and yoga, that just didn't feel organic with the story. I'm also not sure what the overall message was supposed to be regarding big corporations vs. mom-and-pop shops. I was uncomfortable with some of the disparaging comments made about the chain coffee shop across the street (though I am all for homegrown businesses, too) yet the resolution of the story made me wonder if perhaps the author meant to hint that sometimes the money that comes from successful business ventures can be helpful, so the messages were rather mixed.

So, overall, I did appreciate some elements of the story and it was nice to see such as the cozy focus to a tween story (the boy drama is pretty mild and I like that Annie is such a "good girl") and the girls' creativity and tenacity in trying to help save the Steeping Leaf. I also loved the idea of including vintage tea advertisements and some tea-time recipes and party ideas. But, overall, reading the book was more like taking a sip of tepid tea--it could have been so delicious but my reaction was similarly lukewarm.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Melee Ooh, I find myself very attracted to the cover/title of this! I hope you're enjoying it. :)

Kathryn Melee wrote: "Ooh, I find myself very attracted to the cover/title of this! I hope you're enjoying it. :)"

I really wanted to love it, but it ended up just being so-so for me. A lot of people loved it, so maybe you will, too.

Great to hear from you, by the way! I haven't been on GoodReads lately as much as I used to be and I'm so behind on friend's reviews; I sure miss it. Hope you are doing well and reading lots of great books :-)

Melee Ah, always disappointing when that happens! C'est la vie, though. I am looking for an easy read, so I shall give it a shot and I'm sure it won't disappoint in that sense, at least. ;)

It's great to hear from you too! I was thinking that I had been the one who was absent, so apparently we're mutually behind! XD I hope you're doing well too and are also reading lots of great books. :D

message 4: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Oh well. Guess I will stick with drinking tea instead of reading about it.

message 5: by Ann (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ann Fantastic review, Kathryn! You said it all so perfectly!!!

message 6: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan I'll bet you have good places, Abigail. We have some pretty good ones too. It's amazing how many people I know go to Starbucks and Peet's though.

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