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Make Lemonade

(Make Lemonade #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  9,603 ratings  ·  1,254 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

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)

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3.67  · 
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 ·  9,603 ratings  ·  1,254 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
"'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
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".
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.
Janessa B.
Oct 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
This poetry book was not my cup of tea.
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
Joy Lee
Dec 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Third read, great every time!
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.
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.
Sarah Scamander
Not satisfying.. the ending was disapointing
Lauren Herzog
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lot of tough topics addressed in this one.
We got to Skype with the author! Such a wonderful experience for the students!
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the book Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff, the author uses unique and subtle motifs to show the challenges that people face when they are put through the hardships of poverty but must persevere to break out of it.

For example, on page 92, it says “ ...I picked up the lemon seeds. My Mom saw me washing them at the sink.” This symbol is shown again on page 143. “I feel guilty about the lemon tree Jeremy doesn’t have.” Furthermore, on page 37, LaVaughn says, “ ‘Some people make a bad bed. T
Ashley Brocious
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Sabrina Urban
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: english-420
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
Oct 18, 2009 rated it liked it
14 year-old LaVaughn wants to go to college, to better herself, and get out of the neighborhood where she lives with her mother. So she take a job to begin saving for college. She babysits for 17 year-old Jolly, who has two kids- 2 year-old Jeremy and infant Jilly. Jolly had no breaks in life. No family, no one to fall back on. No help. She was a foster child but by age 12 she was living in a cardboard box under a bridge. Now she lives with her children in squalor; nobody taught her any better. ...more
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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)
“If you dont like me, Walk away , Matter of fact Run Away” 54 likes
“Some people make a bad bed, they just have to lie in it.” 46 likes
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