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The Queen Bee and Me

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  95 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Meg has been friends with confident, self-assured Beatrix since kindergarten. She's always found comfort in Beatrix's shadoweven their families call them Beatrix-and-Meg. But middle school has brought some changes in Beatrix, especially when Meg tries to step outside her role as sidekick. Upsetting Beatrix means risking The Freezeor worse.

Meg gets into a special science
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
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Average rating 4.54  · 
Rating details
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Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to the publisher for an ARC of this book for #bookportage.

Meg and Beatrix have been friends for many years, but Meg is starting to see a different side of her friend that's hard to like. When a new girl, Hazel, arrives at school who has her own sense of style, and an affinity for bees, Beatrix takes an immediate dislike to her. Meg ends up as Hazel's partner in their science elective, and the two girls hit it off, but Beatrix isn't going to let Meg walk away from her without a scene.
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book handles the complexity of friendship with such authenticity and grace. You will fall in love with Meg as she negotiates middle school and her own changing identity as her friendships evolve. This really is a perfect read for any kid who has ever felt lost and then found again with new friends.
Victoria Coe
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved THE QUEEN BEE & ME by Gillian McDunn! Here are the top 10 reasons why:

10. DOGS - Did you notice the Boston terrier on the cover?

9. MENTION OF GINGERBREAD ISLAND - Twice! (Enough said!)

8. BEE FACTS - The queen bee has a smooth stinger that she uses to help her lay eggs (that she sometimes also uses to fight - wow!). Cool facts about honey bees like this are carefully laid throughout the story and directly tie in to the characters (see #5 below).

7. NUANCE - There are so
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Interest Level: 5-8; Reading Level: 5.5

When you have been best friends with your best friend your whole elementary life, does that guarantee you will stay best friends in middle school? Beatrix and Meg have been best friends since Kindergarten and Meg has always felt comfort in being in Beatrix's shadow. Middle school has brought some changes in Beatrix and Meg doesn't like them too much. Beatrix and Meg have been in dance together, even though Meg can't dance, she has always done it because
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Friends since kindergarten, middle schoolers Meg and Beatrix are now experiencing a change in the dynamics of their friendship. Beatrix was always the sort of queen bee of the group, everyone followed her rules or they were frozen out of the group. But Meg starts to realize that it isn't the kind of friendship that works for her anymore. Hazel is such a fun character, she's spontaneous, creative and I appreciate she has her own style. She's a risk-taker and love how she was willing to wing it ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars!! Meg and Beatrix have been best friends since kindergarten and Beatrix has always been the leader, which is just fine with Meg. In fact, its a comfort. Or it was until now when she realizes even though they are BFFs, Meg doesnt always like Beatrix. For once, Meg would like to be allowed to make a decision that is best for her, not Beatrix. Theyre in seventh grade, second semester is beginning soon and Meg has decided to go against Beatrix. Rather than do the dance elective, shes going ...more
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing and Gillian McDunn for providing Kid Lit Exchange with an advanced copy of The Queen Bee and Me, due to be released on 3-3-2020.

This middle grade novel is delightful!

Meg is a quiet, anxious preteen who has been swept along in her best-friend-since-kindergartens wake. She found comfort and safety in their friendship throughout elementary school, but as they entered the angst-ridden middle school years, Meg finds herself becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a welcome addition to middle grade literature. Meg and Beatrix have been friends since Kindergarten, but as they grow and change in middle school they realize that their interests are different. Beatrix's reaction is to try to control the friendship and that results in some bullying behavior. Meg tries to be the one who smooths things out and finds herself confused about what she really wants. In the midst of this conflict, Hazel comes to town. Hazel and Meg both love science and are ...more
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the story and the writing but something didnt click completely for me. It was realistic and well-written but I didnt love any of the main characters and this was a problem for me. There is your typical dynamic of mean girl best friend (Beatrix) who the main character realizes is mean when a new girl (Hazel) moves to town (who then becomes her new best friend). I didnt really like Megs family, especially her mom. She seemed to care more about what Beatrixs family thought. There was no ...more
Laurie Hnatiuk
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Thank you to Edelweiss plus, Gillian McDunn and publisher Bloomsbury Children's Books for the opportunity to read an ARC for our #bookportage group.

Well this book was a one sit read until the early hours of the morning, I simply could not put it down, Ms McDunn has captured what it is like to be a female in middle school.

Meg has been best friends with Beatrix since kindergarten, but now in seventh grade, things are not quite the same. Beatrix is the Queen Bee and Meg is finding that if you do
Susan Sullivan
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
WOW! Gillian McDunn really gets middle school girl drama.
Meg Garrison and Beatrix Bailey have been friends since kindergarten but if Meg disagrees with her or wants to do something else, Beatrix freezes her out which has caused Meg to constantly worry about everything she says and does.
Hazel is a new student who dresses in her own style and raises bees. Meg and she become science project partners who have to spend time outside of school together. Beatrix doesnt like it so she and her mother
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
[I received an electronic review copy of this book from Amazon in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.]

A friendship story centered around a new kid at school, a science class, and bees. I loved how Meg grew and changed over the course of the book - the exploration of her anxiety and fear about bees, public speaking, etc. as well as how she pushes through her fear (with varying results). The relationship with the resident "mean girl" provides great fodder for discussion for
Jess Redman
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved CATERPILLAR SUMMER so much for its heart and humor and tenderness and fun. So I knew I was in for a treat with THE QUEEN BEE AND MEand I was not disappointed! This story is about the sweet and the bitter of middle-school friendships, exploring boundaries, self-awareness, courage, and anxiety with a light but deeply perceptive touch.

Some of my favorite aspects of this story: I LOVED learning about bees! McDunn weaves bee facts and lore into her tale in a fascinating, never overpowering
Naomi Milliner
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gillian McDunn has done it again! Book #2 is every bit as heartwarming as her debut novel, CATERPILLAR SUMMER. Filled with a fantastic and relatable protagonist, fascinating factoids about bees, and a page-turning story, this one's the bee's knees. Enjoy, then share with all the tween girls you know!
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another winner from Gillian McDunn following her brilliant CATERPILLAR SUMMER debut. Navigating the complicated and changing friendships in middle school is no small feat. This novel captures those struggles and adds the wonderful science of beekeeping. Fascinating and captivating. Don't miss it in 2020!
Lori Palen
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There is so much to love about this book, but the excellent examples of effective science communication have a special place in my heart. :) Congratulations on another wonderful book, Gillian! Im very much looking forward to the next one. :) ...more
Ms. Yingling
Dec 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Copy provided by the publisher

Meg has been friends with Beatrix since they were young, but there have been times recently where their friendship has been strained. Beatrix has a going-getting real estate agent mother and a more luxurious life style, and she has recently taken to thinking that Meg is a bit babyish. It doesn't help when quirky new girl, Hazel, moves to town and is invited to Beatrix's family party, where she doesn't make a good impression. Meg likes Hazel but knows too well that
Bonnie Grover
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: student
Middle school is a moment. Figuring out who you are is hard. Gillian McDunn has captured the dynamics of mid school perfectly. How do you keep your best friend from freezing you out? And how do you overlook unkind things that you dont agree with in order to keep a friend? Meg has to navigate her way through some tough questions. A friend should never make you feel like you have to prove yourself. The very most important kind of loyalty is when you manage to be loyal to yourself. I know a lot ...more
Jenni Walsh
Feb 09, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2020
I very much enjoyed and devoured this book. The Queen Bee and Me has relatability, accessibility, appealability, notability. Basically, Gillian McDunn has all the abilities with this book. I really love the double use of "Queen Bee" in the title too, referring not only to the queen bee in middle school but also the queen bee within the hive and how both play into this marvelous book.
Rajani LaRocca
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This beautiful book perfectly captures the ups and downs of middle grade friendship. "A best friend is the door to a whole world"...but what happens when your best friend since forever acts in ways that hurt you and others? This is what the main character Meg has to navigate in her friendship with Beatrix. When a new, "odd" girl moves to their small town and Beatrix immediately dislikes her, how does Meg balance that against the person she wants to be? Paired with information about bees, the ...more
Rebecca Petruck
This kind, thoughtful look at friendship is as much a superorganism as the beehive in the novel! McDunn has a deft, gentle touch in pointing out the roles we each play in our relationships, including the negative ones. I know young readers, especially girls, will appreciate having someone acknowledge, without judgment, that sometimes we all make mistakes. The important thing is how we behave afterward. "Bee Kind" may be a cliched pun, but truly it's always a good place to start. We are all ...more
Megan Schmelzer
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Middle School is so hard, and being a middle school girl is filled with endless challenges. Many of these challenges seem to stem from the managing of friendships during this time of lots of changes and growing up. There are so many complications and questions that come up when dealing with friendships and being in middle school.

How do you deal with a friend that seems to be slipping away?

What happens when you suddenly giving you the "silent treatment"?

Is it better to do something to please
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it

Everyone immediately knows who the Queen Bee of their childhood was. Most of us have seen the movie Mean Girls which really dove into the phenomenon from a fictional POV. That movie was based on a sociology book called Queen Bees and Wannabees, which was great. And now we have a book for a slightly younger set (it's middle grade). Many books about bullying and about how the popular girl is really cruel are told from the viewpoint of the bullied. This one is different in that it's the best friend
Jessica Harrison
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My daughter just turned 6, and Im already not looking forward to her teenage years. Tween and teen girls can be awful, but books like The Queen Bee and Me give me hope that with even one good friend, we can all survive it.

At the heart of The Queen Bee and Me are three girls who are trying to figure out where they stand in the world.

Meg is a protagonist you want to succeed. In the beginning, Meg is a pleaser. She wants everyone to be happy. As she realizes thats impossible, her world opens up.
Kasey Giard
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You know how some books have really great layering, where there are things happening between the adults that sort of bleed over into whats happening with the kids, but the kids dont always 100% get whats happening between the adults?

I thought THE QUEEN BEE AND ME showed that kind of layering really well. Meg recognizes some of the pressure and manipulation in the way Beatrix treats her as being the way Beatrixs mom speaks to others and wonders if Beatrix realizes shes even copying that way.

Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am so excited to share this fabulous book with kids! I had a few middle school flashbacks of my own while reading, and WOW, Gillian McDunn gets it exactly right!
The Queen Bee and Me explores the minefield of middle school friendships as loyalties are tested, fears are faced, and sides are chosen. Anxious Meg has always found security and safety in her best-friendship with confident Beatrix. But as Meg begins to discover her own interests, she learns how difficult it might be to stand up to
Lisa Swope
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ask better questions, get better answers.
Fear can stand for False Evidence Appearing Real.  It also can be your chance to Face Everything and Rise.  For example, Meg's best-friendship-since-kindergarten with Beatrix is lovely and comfortable as long as Meg agrees with Beatrix all the time so Beatrix doesn't freeze Meg out.  (I can't be the only one who, based strictly on name and spelling choices, word associates with Bellatrix Lestrange and Meg Murry, later O'Keefe, right?) When Meg takes up
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Meg and Beatrix have been best friends since kindergarten. They have been nearly inseparable; in fact, when someone sees just one of them, that person immediately asks where the other is. Lately, Meg has been feeling more constrained by this friendship, though she doesnt want to lose it. Beatrix has dictated so much about their friendship, including which elective they will both take, and doesnt take Megs wishes into account. She stops speaking to Meg and others when they dont do what she wants. ...more
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Grade: B
An ARC was provided by Bloomsbury Children's in exchange for an honest review.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: One of the biggest challenge areas for middle schoolers is how friendships change and evolve. Gillian McDunn portrays this perfectly in her sophomore novel, The Queen Bee and Me.
Beatrix, Meg's best friend, has been changing the last few years - and not for the better. But in the girls' small town, making new friends is hard. And there's still some good to Beatrix! She's young,
Katie Reilley
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to the author and publisher for sharing an advanced copy with our #bookexpedition group!

Megs been best friends with Beatrix since kindergarten, and shes always found comfort letting Beatrix be the queen bee. Now that theyre in middle school, Megs ready to spread her wings and try a special science elective class that she was invited to, and Beatrix isnt ready for Meg to leave her sidekick role behind. Enter the new girl, Hazel, who also has a mind for science, and who becomes the target
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