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The Queen Bee and Me by Gillian McDunn

April 17, 2020

 

 

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 your friend or yourself?

Can you have more than one best friend?

 

Gillian McDunn's new novel, The Queen Bee and Me, tackles these problems head-on. 

 

Meg and Beatrix have been friends since forever. They have grown up doing everything together. But that seems to be changing now.

 

It starts with Meg confessing to Beatrix that she no longer wishes to take dance lessons. Her heart is into science, and she desperately wants to take the science elective at school.

 

Beatrix feels angry that her best friend seems to be abandoning her. Beatrix's life involves dance, and she wishes her best friend could see that.

 

The friendship gets even more tense when a new girl named Hazel moves in. Like Meg, Hazel is in the science elective, and the two of them are paired up together for a huge project. They are to study bees and create a huge presentation about all of their findings.

 

Beatrix's anger explodes, and she quickly turns things up into "mean girl status." As one of the most popular girls in her school, Beatrix gets everyone to "buzz" at Hazel. After all, Beatrix thinks Hazel is weird and taking her best friend away.

 

She feels that Hazel deserves to know who is the boss at school. In addition to bullying Hazel, Beatrix enlists her mother to have Hazel's prize bees once and for all removed from the neighborhood. 

 

Beatrix's antics are not all lost on Hazel. Meg quickly also becomes a target. Beatrix gives her the "freeze," kicks her out of their carpool, and even has her immediately replaced at their lunch table. Now, Meg is stuck sneaking lunch in the library when she tries to repair her friendship with Beatrix while also trying to support Hazel and her bees.

 

The Queen Bee and Me is a story that will resonate with anyone that picks up this novel. It is about growing up and managing friendships. All readers will be able to picture themselves in the characters' shoes.

 

Whether we are a Beatrix, a Meg, or a Hazel, we have all felt and struggled with managing friendships in middle school. 

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