Make Lemonade (MMGM)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Welcome to MMGM! This week I'm reviewing Virginia Euwer Wolff's book, Make Lemonade! I thought the cover was really cute because it fit the title perfectly and who doesn't like lemonade?

  • Age Recommended: 10+ I think this book is basically perfect for anyone but I feel that ten-year-olds are the best age because younger kids won't really understand the material and really grasp what the main idea is. 
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish; Reprint edition (May 2, 2006)

"Fourteen-year-old LaVaughn dreams of going to college, but her family is poor and the only way she can afford to go is to work part-time while she attends high school. LaVaughn finds a job babysitting for Jolly, a 17-year-old single mother with two children. Jolly, a high school dropout who can barely read, is worried when she is fired from her job (her boss harasses her) and can't make ends meet. Jolly is too proud to apply for welfare, but LaVaughn encourages her to enroll in a high school program for young mothers. But when LaVaughn is about to graduate and Jolly has found a new sense of independence, life brings new changes to their friendship."

Right after reading the first few pages, I was literally stuck in this book. The main character, LaVaughn, has never heard of college until she watches a video in school about it in fifth grade. Form then on, she's never slacked off on her homework and is an above average student. The only problem one in her family, or in the entire apartment building she lives in, has ever gone to college which makes a slight dent in college funds. Which means she has to make money herself. So she takes on a babysitting job for a teen mom, named Jolly. Jolly doesn't really know how to spell and never finished school. One day, she gets fired from her job and has to go to school to get a job to support her family and have enough money to buy food, diapers, and etc. But the problem is, when she's going to school, there's no one to take care of her kids, so she puts up a notice on LaVaughn's school bulletin board that reads: BABY SITTER NEEDED BAD. No one takes up the job, except the one and only LaVaughn. 

Here are 5 reasons why you should read and love MAKE LEMONADE: 

  • The concept of the book. There's a determined kid who's raised by a single mother, and doesn't have enough money to pay to go to college. So she takes on a babysitting for a teen mother who doesn't have enough money to support her two kids. The main idea of this book goes around money. They both don't have enough money to make themselves successful, but they both work really hard to keep going with life. Love it. 
  • The characters. Obviously, the two main characters are Jolly, the teen mom, and LaVaughn, a hardworking fourteen-year-old. I love Jolly because she has a great sense of humor and cares for her two kids deeply even though she IS only seventeen. The reason I love LaVaughn is because even though she doesn't have enough money to pay for college, she perseveres and finds a way to earn money. And even though her mom tells her that no one in their family has ever gone to college, she still works hard and wants to make her mom proud of her accomplishments. 
  • The meaning of the title. When I saw the title, the first thing I thought of was "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." As Google says, this is a "proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism and a can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune. Lemons suggest bitterness, while lemonade is a sweet drink". I feel that this title is perfect for the book because when hard things are thrown at Jolly and LaVaughn, they laugh it off and find another way around the situation. 
  • The form of the story. The common format of a book is in paragraph form, but this story is written in POEM form! The story is told the same way a story is told in paragraph from, but the format is so cool! I have never seen a book like this (unless it's a poem book, I have seen those before), but it's so cool how the story is told in the same way but looks different!
  • The style of writing. I know I use this reason a lot, but it's true! No book is written the same, but all of them have a different style. The author of this book, Virginia Euwer Wolff, chose to write this story in a neat, detailed form from LaVaughn's point of view. I really enjoyed the way the story flowed and how the events and characters were introduced. I was really sad when the story ended, because I really wanted to know what happened to the characters next! 
My rating for this book...

Just because the ending wasn't what I really wanted and the way Jolly treats LaVaughn after____something____ happens. (I blanked that out because that reason is a MAJOR spoiler!) 

Here's a little info about the author of MAKE LEMONADE, Virginia Euwer Wolff! 

Award-winning author Virginia Euwer Wolff was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1937. “I grew up in rural Oregon in a log house with bark left on inside and out. We had no electricity, a massive stone fireplace, a grand piano, and tons of books.” Books have remained Wolff's treasures throughout her life, though she didn't become a published author until relatively late in her life. After receiving her Bachelor's degree from Smith College in 1959, she taught elementary school and later high school English.
Wolff's first book for young readers, Probably Still Nick Swansen, was published in 1988 and won both the International Reading Association Award and the PEN-West Book Award. Since then she has written several more critically acclaimed young adult novels, earning more honors, including the Golden Kite Award for Fiction and the Jane Addams Book Award for Children's Books that Build Peace.

The mother of a grown son and daughter, Wolff is also now grandmother of two. She lives in a cottage in Oregon, where she has a studio in the middle of the woods, “with lots of skylights and room to spread out, surrounded by my books.” An accomplished violinist, she is a member of the Chamber Music Society of Oregon. She also enjoys hiking, swimming, and gardening. (from the SCHOLASTIC website) 

Thank you for visiting me for MMGM and I hope you enjoyed my review! Have a nice week! :-)


Here are the links: 

  • If you would like find out more about MAKE LEMONADE or learn more about Virginia Euwer Wolff, click HERE
  • If you would like to check out more MMGM's or go back to Shannon Messenger's blog, click HERE


  1. Thanks for the review. Sounds like a great story that many would enjoy.

    1. It IS enjoyable! I hope more people hear about it and get the chance to read it!

  2. I'm intrigued! I always love books where you're left wanting to know what happens to the characters after the book is over.

    1. I agree that it is most definitely interesting, but I just wish there were more to the story. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Verse novels are really popular these days. This one sounds particularly good. I'm definitely going to check it out. Thanks for the review, Cindy.

    1. Oh, THAT'S what their called. I knew it wasn't called poem form. Haha, psh. But yes, this book is really good and I really hope you enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I think there was a sequel to this as well. Actually, two: True Believer and This Full House. My library copy fell apart a while ago, but since it was originally published in 1993, that's not a surprise. Glad to see you are getting the full scope of MG and YA novels!

  5. I didn't care for verse novels until I read MAY B. by Caroline Starr Rose and later BLUE BIRDS by the same author. You would enjoy those books too, Cindy.