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Make Lemonade

(Make Lemonade #1)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  10,036 ratings  ·  1,312 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.
Paperback, 200 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by Henry Holt and Company (first published May 15th 1993)
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Andrea Here are the 2 sequels:
True Believer (Make Lemonade, #2)
by Virginia Euwer Wolff
3.85 avg rating — 3,004 ratings — published 2001 — 17 editions

This Fu…more
Here are the 2 sequels:
True Believer (Make Lemonade, #2)
by Virginia Euwer Wolff
3.85 avg rating — 3,004 ratings — published 2001 — 17 editions

This Full House (Make Lemonade, #3)
by Virginia Euwer Wolff
3.84 avg rating — 586 ratings — published 2008 — 2 editions(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  10,036 ratings  ·  1,312 reviews

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Richard Derus
Nov 06, 2012 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
Mar 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best YA books I have ever read!!! It tells the story of a young girl in the poorer neighborhoods in NYC who answers an ad to babysit for two young children. The mother is only 17. The characters in this book are courageous and well developed. It is an amazing read and should be on the reading list of every middle school in the world!!
Feb 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-the-teens
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
J L's Bibliomania
While a nice enough story about resilience, Make Lemonade confirmed that I just don't "get" the whole novel in free verse phenomenon.

Sometimes limits, such as the compressed length of a short story, or the structured poetry of Shakespeare's plays lead to increased creativity on the part of the author. As I have for the other verse novels I've read I felt like the poetry in Make Lemonade led to lack of complexity in characterization and material closer to a short story than a "novel".
Savannah Porter
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book tells the story of LaVaughn babysitting for a teenage mom with two kids, and helping her land on her feet after she is fired. All the characters in this book seem real and they’re easy to connect to. I liked the free verse format and I felt like it added to LaVaughn’s character voice. I gave this book only three stars because I felt some emotional impact was missing. Sure, it was sad and hopeful, but I wanted to feel more. Perhaps I didn’t because it ends so abruptly (though I guess th ...more
Jun 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Third read, great every time!
Janessa B.
Oct 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
This poetry book was not my cup of tea.
Kelsey C
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
We all need help sometimes, but 17-year-old jolly requires a little more help than the rest of us. Up knee-deep in problems jolly is desperately looking for a babysitter so she can try to get her life back on track. 14-year-old livan is looking for money to keep and store for collage. She just happened to find her solution waiting for her a babysitting job. She meets the mess of the family and decided to help Jolly for the better of her two kids.
I thought the book was good. The language was int
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Make lemonade was a really amazing book. When you first start to read the book it is really slow but once you get further and further through the book it gets better. I advise some 7th and 8th graders read this because I don't think that anyone below these grades will be able to read it fluently. Just the way that all of the characters talk.
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 Stars
Raegynn M.
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: written-a-review
I absolutely loved this book. This book was such a page-turner, there are so many unexpected chapters that will leave you shocked. I would definitely recommend this book to anybody. This book is poetry, but I feel like people who don't like poetry will like this book.
Christine Kim
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Linda Lipko
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 06, 2012 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
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-and-kidlit, poetry
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
Joy H.
Apr 08, 2009 marked it as to-read
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).
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read this as part of my Teen Services class in grad school. Lovely.
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I like this book, I know lots of people who do not try to go to college, it’s a good book. This book is good because you will learn why it’s important to some people to go to college.At first I thought it was going to be a boring book because it cover, but once I started to ready it I was like this book sounds good and not boring or lame. I’m one of the people who like to pick books by its cover. I did like this book, I give it 4 stars because I think it will make people enjoy it. I feel like it ...more
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandy Brehl
The characters and story revealed in these pages are ones that will be recognizable/lived by many and a revelation to others. The voice in this writing is mentor text for authenticity and organic lyricism. I recently reread OUT OF THE DUST (Karen Hesse), which is written with such realism in the pervasive, choking, devastating dust of the 1930s Plains states. In very word I could feel, taste, experience the diminishment and hopelessness of their reality, all the while craving a glass of clean wa ...more
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, 1990s
I like LaVaughn. I like the way she tries to figure out the world, if she's taking advantage of Jolly or if Jolly is taking advantage of her. I like the way these two girls, only three years apart, have such vastly different lives and they way they're brought together. I like that there isn't anything too trite like a scene where LaVaughn just gives in an cleans Jolly's apartment for her (which is what I might have done).

I enjoyed the sequel, True Believer, even more. I think the poetic style c
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was about a teenage girl named LaVaughn who just wanted to have a job to save money for college. However, then she meets Jolly, a girl not that much older than her who has 2 kids. Jolly is struggling and the LaVaughn is helping her out by babysitting. This book was definitely a page turner and I loved this story.
keikii Eats Books
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Bit flabbergasted why a novella of approx. 30k words needs 66 chapters plus a prologue but oh well.

It was an okay story, if a bit oddly structured. End is dissatisfying. The characters are realistic. The story is well thought out. Was just okay for me to read though.
Angie Williams
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
The writing is like nothing I have seen before. No quotes. Read like poetry without rhyming.

I'm anxious to find part 2.
Dani Castro
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
If I could give a 3.5 I would. Make Lemonade is about LaVaughn, 14, she babysits for 17 year-old Jolly, who is a single mom. LaVaughn seems to have her life together, but when she gets involved in Jolly's life the story turns into one of friendship, parenthood, responsibility, and the opportunities life can throw at us when we don't give up. Race is not included in this story and I thought that was a great addition. I'm happy about the ending. I thought it was realistic. This book is a good read ...more
Sarah Scamander
Not satisfying.. the ending was disapointing
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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

Other books in the series

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

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