Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Pies and Prejudice

Pies and Prejudice

Heather Vogel Frederick
Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Simon and Schuster, 2010   ISBN: 978-1416974314

Cassidy, Emma, Megan, and Jess will soon be freshman in high school. They know that their ninth grade year is going to be different, but as the summer vacation winds down they have no idea how much things are going to change.

The first big adjustment they have to make presents itself when Emma’s parents announce that the family is going to move to England for a year. Emma’s father’s book has been accepted by a publisher, and now Emma’s parents want to do “something a little crazy” with the money he was given for the book. At first Emma and her brother Darcy are upset about the announcement, but over time they start to get excited. Of course they are going to miss their friends, their home, and their life in New England, but they realize that all kinds of adventures lie ahead of them.

Emma’s family do a house swap with an English family, the Berkeleys, and soon Professor Berkeley, his wife, and his two sons are settled in Emma’s house. Simon Berkeley is nice and very good looking, and soon every ninth grade girl in Alcott High is swooning over him. His big brother Tristan is quite different. He is more like Mr. Darcy, the character in Jane Austen’s book Pride and Prejudice.

The members of the Mother Daughter Book Club are studying Pride and Prejudice this year, using computer webcams to make sure that Emma and her mother in far away England are included in the club gatherings. All the girls, even Cassidy, enjoy the book and do their best to make their meetings fun and informative.

Cassidy joins a new hockey team and she is having a great time until her teacher, Mrs. Bergson, asks Cassidy to help Tristan, who is an ice dancer, to prepare for his upcoming competition. Cassidy is a hockey player, not an airy fairy ice dancer, but she agrees to help Mrs. Bergson, in part because the skating teacher helps Cassidy set up an ice hockey class for young girls. Putting up with Tristan is a trial, to say the least, but Cassidy grits her teeth and continues to help him with his routines.

Meanwhile, Megan is feeling that she is lacking a purpose in her life. Cassidy has her hockey, Emma has her books and her new life in England, Jess has her singing, and Becca is into cheerleading. What can Megan do to “fit in?”

Jess is having similar worries. All her friends at her private school seem to know what they want to be in the future, but Jess feels adrift. She has no clue what direction she wants her life to take.

Though Emma’s life looks peachy through the lense of a webcam, she too is having problems. The biggest of these is Annabelle, Tristan and Simon’s distant cousin. Annabelle is the queen bee at school and she makes a point of picking on Emma. Then there is Rupert, a boy who drives Emma crazy with his unwanted attentions. It would appear that being in England has not saved Emma from the everyday problems of high school life.

Readers who have enjoyed the previous Mother Daughter Book Club titles are sure to enjoy this wonderful story. The trials and tribulations of young teen girls are woven together with information about Jane Austen and her books. Megan, Cassidy, Jess, and Emma all have their problems, but with the support of friends and family members, they try to find a way to fix their mistakes and move on.