12 March 2009
I haven't had such a good time reading a YA book in ages! Surprise, surprise, it's about tea. I really wish books like these were around when I was younger, but at least we had Anne of Green Gables.
Speaking of red-haired Annes, the main character in this story is Annie Green, a 13-year old girl living in Madison, Wisconsin who loves her grandmother's teashop, The Steeping Leaf. This in itself is endearing. She wants to work as a barrista there. When this particular dream comes true, she must work out her feelings for a fellow barrista, while trying to save The Leaf from closing for good. And she tries to keep her Teashop Girls together, she and her two close friends since they were little girls.
I rarely run across a book like this, and I wish young readers could get into this kind of reading. Some one's review I read of this book mentioned that it reminded them of the Babysitters Club, and I agree. There's a level of professional spirit in Annie that's coupled with respect for authority. Plus it has a degree of wholesomeness without the dullness, and without a supernatural being in sight, yet entertaining. You just don't see that too much in the YA section of the bookstore. Did I mention the tea?
Interspersed within the chapters are facts about tea, including history, brewing instructions and recipes. I did scratch my head when it was mentioned that Queen Elizabeth I drank tea every morning - because last time I checked people weren't drinking tea in England till the mid seventeenth century - I think the English were still imbibing ale on their misty mornings at that point. But I'll let that fly.
It's a quick read, and fun, and in a sense deeper than chick-lit, so this is definitely two pinkies up.