Saturday, October 20, 2012

100 Books in 2012: 85, 86, and 87 the MAKE LEMONADE trilogy

For years, I've intended to read these three novels in verse by Virginia Euwer Wolff, and after spending a week at the Highlights Foundation Workshop with Virginia as one of my instructors, I finally took the time to dive in.


I wish I'd read these books when I was still teaching middle school!

Make Lemonade tells the tale of fourteen-year-old Verna LaVaughn.  Since LaVaughn is saving money for college (to be the first in her entire apartment building to go to college), she finds a babysitting job on the jobs board at school.  But sitting for Jilly and Jeremy becomes more than just a job, and LaVaughn finds herself both becoming friends with Jolly, the seventeen-year-old mom, and looking for ways to take care of her.  Even when Jolly can't pay her anymore, LaVaughn can't bring herself to abandon the family.  This book is filled with harsh reality and hope, making it a powerful read you won't want to miss.

True Believer picks up a year after Make Lemonade, when LaVaughn is fifteen.  She's started to realize just how hard it will be to get into college, and she's committed to her classes.  She hasn't been sitting for Jilly and Jeremy for awhile, but she still tries to stay in touch with the little family.  But everything is changing for LaVaughn, and she's not sure she can keep up.  From the tingles of her first crush to the sudden presence of a man in her mother's life to the fractured relationship with her best friends that LaVaughn doesn't know how to repair, fifteen is her hardest year.  This book is deep and true, and one that all young women should read: it taps into some very powerful, universal places, and you're certain to feel everything right along with LaVaughn.

The final book in the Make Lemonade trilogy is This Full House.  We've jumped a few years, and LaVaughn is now in her senior year of high school.  She's working at the children's hospital, and her science grades are good enough for her to get into a special Women in Medical Science program that is run for girls from at-risk schools.  LaVaughn is well on her way to making her dreams come true, but an instinctive guess that proves correct could jeopardize everything.  This is a haunting, complex finale to a beautiful series, and you don't want to miss it!

What are you reading this weekend?


  1. I love novels in verse but hadn't heard of these. Thanks!

    1. Glad I could spread the word! Any novel in verse suggestions for me?