Audrey's Reviews > Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays by Heather Vogel Frederick
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's review
Sep 05, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: present-day, young-adult-fiction, series, fiction

** spoiler alert ** These books are fun and easy to read. Despite my criticisms, I've really been enjoying the series. I love series (as opposed to stand alone books) because they allow me to get more attached to the characters and to really feel at home in the story and place, if that makes sense! This one was definitely my favorite so far. I loved all the Betsy-Tacy references and quotes! It's incredibly exciting to see this literary tribute to the wonderful and dear-to-my-heart Betsy-Tacy books.

While I loved the book as a whole, I feel compelled to mention a few things. Mrs. Wong and Mrs. Chadwick are still made fun of. I actually commented to the author about this and she wrote me a really nice response where she admitted getting "a little carried away poking fun at Mrs. Wong" and she even promised her "a vegetarian ally" in the next book! She was really gracious about responding to my comment and seems like a genuinely nice person, so I know that she's not intentionally trying to be mean. :) The second thing is the issue I touched on in my last review--the fact that the high school girls (in this book they are sophomores) have boyfriends which they frequently kiss. It's kept fairly innocent other than that, though. It's interesting how in older books, like the Betsy-Tacy series or the Beany Malone books, I don't mind the high school dating thing so much. I think the main reasons for that are because in the older books [a] they are a lot less "spoony" (to borrow a phrase from Betsy) and [b] they married younger in those days, so it kind of made sense to date in high school. But back to the series at hand: I really do appreciate that Heather Vogel Frederick keeps these pretty clean, even if I'm not crazy about the high school dating aspect.

Beyond my loving this book because of the Maud Hart Lovelace connection, I also found that there were other elements of it that made it my favorite so far of the Mother-Daughter Book Club books. For example: I really loved the part where Emma muses about writing, I actually enjoyed getting Becca's perspective in this book, and I really liked how Cassidy is growing up (like when she gets everyone to stop fighting). I also found that this particular previous offerings, the trips that they go on (it seems like there is one big trip per book) are usually near the end. This one has the trips near the middle, with different characters headed to different destinations. It's more the center of the action than part of a tacked on and rambling conclusion.

As I've said already, I really enjoyed the Betsy-Tacy aspect of this book, and I think I silently squealed more than once about that while reading it. But one discussion that the book club had near the end of the story caught my attention. They are talking about what accounts for the enduring appeal of Maud Hart Lovelace's books set in Deep Valley. Some of the reasons brought up are that there aren't "any serious problems" in them and that "everybody's so happy all the time" (289). I think I get the point that is trying to be made--these books are lovely, easy-to-read, and often breezy and joyous--but I think the characters do deal with real problems beyond "the occasional squabble over a boy." *SPOILERS HERE IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BETSY TACY BOOKS* (view spoiler)so there are some definite problems that characters work through, and probably more that I am forgetting. They might be considered small or trivial things compared to violence, abuse, famine, etc. but I think that they are pretty realistic things that many people deal with in their lives. In fact, I would consider these timeless and relatable themes as another one of the elements that make these books so beloved. But I don't really think it's fair to say that there are never any problems, although I get the point about Deep Valley being a pretty idyllic. Well, I hope that made sense.

So those are my rather long-winded thoughts on this book! As you can see, I really enjoyed it.

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Reading Progress

September 5, 2011 – Shelved
January 22, 2012 – Started Reading
February 6, 2012 –
page 307
February 7, 2012 – Finished Reading
February 8, 2012 – Shelved as: present-day
August 11, 2012 – Shelved as: young-adult-fiction
August 19, 2012 – Shelved as: series
December 16, 2012 – Shelved as: fiction

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