Book Review: Honeybees And Frenemies by Kristi Wientge

Book: Honeybees And Frenemies by Kristi Wientge

Published June 2019 by Simon Schuster Books For Young Readers|256 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary

Twelve-year-old Flor faces a bittersweet summer with a pageant, a frenemy, and a hive full of honey.

It’s the summer before eighth grade and Flor is stuck at home and working at her family’s mattress store, while her best friend goes off to band camp (probably to make new friends). It becomes even worse when she’s asked to compete in the local honey pageant. This means Flor has to spend the summer practicing her talent (recorder) and volunteering (helping a recluse bee-keeper) with Candice, her former friend who’s still bitter about losing the pageant crown to Flor when they were in second grade. And she can’t say no.

Then there’s the possibility that Flor and her family are leaving to move in with her mom’s family in New Jersey. And with how much her mom and dad have been fighting lately, is it possible that her dad may not join them? Flor can’t let that happen. She has a lot of work to do.

Honeybees And Frenemies was a really cute read, and I’m glad I read it.  I ended up really liking it!

This book was really cute, and I really felt for Flor, who is teaming up with a former friend to win the summer pageant.  Something about all of the festivals mentioned made me think of Gilmore Girls, where they have random festivals and town events throughout the years.

It was interesting to see them team up, but I’ll admit to wanting more of why Candice was horrible to Flor.  I mean, I get being bitter about losing the pageant crown…but they were seven, and I kind of think it would have made more sense had they been older.  But this is also middle grade, so I guess it had to happen earlier?

Anyway, I liked seeing them work together.  They both realize they have their reasons for wanting to win, and even though their talent gets them into trouble, it was still pretty cool, and I’m glad it didn’t get them disqualified.  Saving the bees is pretty important to Candice too, and she would be a great bee ambassador.  Plus, winning helps Candice a lot more than it helps Flor, but I think things will work out for Flor.  I know she had a lot going on, but the book ended on a hopeful note.  I really felt like things were going to be just fine for everyone.

I also liked the facts about bees at the beginning of each chapter.  That was a really cute tie-in, and it makes me want to learn more about bees.  I wasn’t paying enough attention to see if the facts actually tied into what happened in each chapter, but either way it was cool.

I did think helping out at her family’s mattress store and her best friend going away to summer camp would be more of a thing than it really was.  Maybe that’s just me, thinking things mentioned in the summary are going to be more important than they really are.  We do get a little bit of it, though we get bits and pieces of the family stuff throughout the book while the best friend stuff is pretty much towards the end of the book.

I also wanted a little more to the ending, and while things are pretty wrapped up, I still wanted to go a little past where the book actually ended.  Still, it’s a pretty good ending point, so I’m not going to complain too much about it.  I think it’s just wistful thinking on my part.

4 stars.  I really liked Honeybees And Frenemies!  It’s a super cute middle grade and worth checking out.

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