Tougas, Shelley. Patron Saint of Junior Bridesmaids
Patron Saint of Junior Bridesmaids
E ARC from Edelweiss above the Treeline
Mary Margaret Miller is trying to deflect attention from herself by getting her mom excited about cousin Eden's wedding, mainly because Mary punched Brett. The two had been having problems all year, and even though Mary is usually a good kid, she couldn't take their bickering any more. Her mother forgives her soon enough, because her father is already working in North Dakota after the family's Minnesota hardware store had to close. Mary's mother is going to spend the summer trying to find a job, and Mary and her younger brother are going to stay with Eden and her family to help plan the wedding. Mary's grandmother is VERY excited and is planning something huge and festive. Eden is less thrilled with the idea, since she suffers from social anxiety. Mary tries to keep her grandmother happy while looking out for Eden's best interests, all while worrying about her own family situation and feeling bad about what happened with Brett.
Strengths: This was a fairly happy book despite the various problems. I loved the VERY supportive family and the depiction of Eden and her interactions. Mary is a singular character, but very well meaning, typically middle school, and quite realistic. I also like the budding romance with the neighbor boy, as well as the twist involved in the story with Brett. Since I have 37 cousins (mostly older) on my mother's side of the family, I could definitely identify with the family wedding plans!
Weaknesses: Mary's family is VERY Catholic. I grew up in a largely Catholic community and never met anyone quite so devout or interested in saints, so that part seemed somewhat unrealistic. I think more readers will see this as a window into Mary's world instead of a mirror of their own, which is fine. Pair this with Every Single Second for the future nuns among your patrons.
What I really think: I think the wedding planning and family angle will appeal to readers, so I will buy a copy.