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Honeybees and Frenemies

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**I received Honeybees and Frenemies through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review**

I received 'Honeybees and Frenemies' a few months ago, and I'm excited to finally have the chance to talk about this book! It covers the tale of two middle school girls, Flor and Candace, learning to work together after their friendship falls apart years earlier. Along with navigating the shaky ground of 'fair-weather' friendships, Flor is also enduring the fear of relocating due to a breakdown of family communication. These issues can be very stressful for any young person to handle, especially during summer vacation, when stress should be at an extreme low. I loved the constant 'back and forth' between Flor and Candace, how a foolish comment or action can change the landscape of a bond.  

'Honeybees and Frenemies' also carries plenty of knowledge about bees and their vital role in keeping agriculture thriving. There are many fun facts pertaining to bees throughout the book, and also learning about the fragile state of bee colonies in the present day.  Flor and Candace encounters someone who shares extensive knowledge about bee handling, and this creates a possible gateway in Flor's quest in finding a solution to her troubles.

Children will enjoy 'Honeybees and Frenemies', as it speaks about the strength of teamwork and friendship! 



Cathleen (WovenFromWords)
http://wovenfromwords.com

Review posted on Feb. 17
https://wovenfromwords.com/2020/02/18/honeybees-and-frenemies-by-kristi-wientge-a-review/
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Loved this sweet friendship story. It has so many points of interest for readers: forced reunions with soured friendships, moving, financial hardship, pageants, sisters, and environmentalism.
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Great coming of age tale!  I was immediately drawn in by the characters and rich writing.  This is one of those hard to put down, I'm invested in these lives, I don't want this to end kind of stories.  Will definitely be recommending for purchase!
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There's a lot more subtlety in this plot than I generally expect from a middle grade novel. WE have some minor racism, though this largely stems from jealousy rather than any real prejudice. We've got parents with struggling business, long term rivalries, sibling difficulties, and the roles of bees on ecology. We've got a kid's desperate plot to save her parent's business and prevent a move. I like that the resolutions are just as subtle and nebulous as the elements themselves. Through the process of her scheme she learns about the people around her, sure. She's able to resolve her interpersonal conflicts. But some things are too big to fix. Still, there's benefit in trying.
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I really enjoyed reading this story. The characters were sweet and the plot line fun. I loved that each chapter had a fun bee fact.

This story is centered around Flo, who has an older sister that loves to boss her around, parents who are fighting, a best friend who is absent, and on top of that her path crosses with a former enemy.

This is a great and fun read. I was easily engaged and thrilled to keep reading.
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Honeybees and Frenemies by Kristi Wientge is the story of Flor and a summer that is anything but what she thinks it'll be. First off, y'all, I wanted more bees. Each chapter began with a bee fact, and there was some bee stuff interspersed throughout, but I just was intrigued enough that I wanted to know more. Given this is a middle grade novel, I suppose that's good in that it'll make kids do research to find out more on bees. I will also say it did a great job of showing the benefits of bees and promoting them as a non-threatening entity. The way they did this was just so unexpected and great. Bees aside, this story focuses on Flor who is spending her summer away from her best friend, working at her family's mattress store, and then, she gets the terrible news that her family might be moving. Then, she's competing in a town pageant with her friend now enemy Candice - or a frenemy (#seewhatididthere) - and navigating a whole bunch as they prepare. This book did a good job of capturing the angst and emotion of a middle schooler while telling Flor's story. Ultimately, the bees were what I loved most about this one, and I really did like how they were used to advance Flor's story. Also, I do have to say that the cover of this one is just gorgeous - one of my favorites of the year.
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A super-sweet MG summer read that tugs at the heartstrings in all the right ways! This is a book I would have loved to read when I was a middle-schooler. I'm hard pressed to think of many books that deal with the heartbreak of losing a friend rather than a love interest, so this fills a big gap in my mind!
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Honeybees and Frenemies is chock full of authentic middle-grade voice and emotion. As your awesome summer is about to start, what could be worse than finding out that your best friend will be heading to her dream band camp rather than hanging out with you? To add insult to injury, the pageant that ruined Flor's life 3 years ago is celebrating its 50th anniversary with an all-star reunion--winners from the past 10 years competing for the crown. Flor's looking for her way out but not finding it.

Could anything possibly make this summer any worse? Unfortunately, Flor's about to find out that the answer is yes.

Middle-school summers come with growing freedom but also bigger problems. With fully 3-dimensional characters, heartbreak and lessons learned, Kristi Wientge helps 4th-6th-grade girls feel understood as they navigate their summers. A perfect vacation read! Highly recommended!

Review will post on The Winged Pen.com tomorrow. Thank you for the arc.
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Flor is looking forward to summer with her friend Brooke, since they are finally old enough to go around town by themselves AND they have season's passes to King's Island. When Brooke gets accepted to a music camp, Flor tries to be happy for her, but it does ruin her plans. Instead, she will be helping out at her family's struggling mattress store and dealing with her irritable high school age sister, Fran. Flor's grandfather died a few years ago, but had been a town leader. When the 50th anniversary of the town's Honeydale honey festival leads to an organizer who is corralling winners from previous years to compete in a new pageant, Flor is horrified that her past as a third grade winner has come back to haunt her. She's given the opportunity to back out, but when she realizes that would mean her former best friend, Candice, would be the representative, she decides to stay in. Candice had been very mean about Flor's win, claiming that the town needed to choose a person of color to win, and since Flor is keenly aware that her half Indian heritage makes her unusual in her small town, this creates a rift between them two. The girls end up working together for the contest, including a public service stint with Mr. Henry, a grumpy recluse who keeps bees and was a major force in the town. Candice is very knowledgeable about bees, and worries about the effects that bee problems will have on her father's fruit tree farm. The girls have to do a talent for the competition, and when they realize that their recorder and piano duet is a bit lame, they have Mr. Henry teach them how to "bee beard"-- have bees swarm and land on Flor's face. They don't let anyone know they have changed their talent, lest they be told they can't do it! When Flor's mother gets an offer to teach back in New Jersey, Flor realizes that the mattress business might not be able to be saved, and as much as she loves Honeydale, she might have to move. The festival is eventful, but Flor is able to finally make her peace with Candice and their past, and she is also able to work through issues with Brooke before moving on to her new life in New Jersey.  
Strengths: There are some facets of small town, Ohio life that this gets absolutely perfect-- struggling downtown business area, local farming festivals, and close knit community. Flor's family works together well, but is struggling with a number of very common issues, such as economic instability. The glimpses we get of her supportive grandparents on both sides add some depth to the family dynamics. The discussion of issues with bee colonies is timely and a welcome addition to the book. Young readers will enjoy Candice and Flor's relationship the most, and it's well done that while they do make peace with their past, it's not an easy or quick process. The fact that everything does NOT turn out the way Flor would prefer it to makes this true to life, but I also appreciated that she took the changes with some good humor. I'm assuming that Honeydale is supposed to be a depiction of south western Ohio:the book mentions the Golden Lamb, which is a real restaurant in Lebanon, a tourist train, and King's Island, which is near Cincinnati. 
Weaknesses: It did seem a bit odd that there would have been prejudice against an Indian family; 40 years ago there were Indian students in my small Ohio town, and it never seemed at all unusual to me. However, Ms. Wientge has more experience of this than I do, so I will assume she based this on her own experiences with her family. 
What I really think: This was very enjoyable, and a great slice of small town life. There should be a lot more books involving fairs and festivals; they are such a big event in the life of a tween! It just made me sad that the problems with Candice were racially based.
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Honeybees and Frenemies is a cute story about friendship and family. But more importantly, it's a realistic story about friendship and family. I never had a "dramatic" falling out with a friend like Flor and Candice but I remember going from elementary school to middle school and feeling the shift in friendships. I know what it's like to suddenly stop talking to someone who used to be a close friend.  I understand the unsteady relationship with an older sister who suddenly "grows up" and wants nothing to do with you. I remember the worry over having enough money or parents fighting or ruining everything with my words or actions. 

Kristi Weintge captures the tween experience in a heartfelt and relatable way. Flor is a wonderful protagonist—she's funny and stubborn and creative. She doesn't hold back her thoughts or emotions, even if that lands her in a few sticky situations, but she also holds to what she believes and does what she believes is best. Flor's voice, above else, makes this story.

I love the honeybee aspects as well. I don't know much about honeybees, but the random facts before each chapter along with the focus on bee conservation and its uses as medicine were a perfect balance to the other conflicts of the story. It's a unique focus for a book, and it was so cool to learn about bee bearding! 

From the setting—Ohio!—to the relationship dynamics, Honeybees and Frenemies is a sweet and heartwarming story for any age group. Even as an adult, I related to Flor and her troubles, so I can definitely recommend this anyone someone looking for a fun contemporary.
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Disclaimer: I received an eARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Before eighth grade begins, Flor plans for a summer with her best friend. However, her best friend Brooke suddenly tells Flor that she is going off to a band camp for the summer. Suddenly, Flor is facing a summer without her best friend.

To make matters worse, the town is having a special 50th anniversary of the Little Miss Honeybee pageant. All the past winners from the past 10 years are required to participate in a new special pageant. While Flor did win Little Miss Honeybee when she was 8, it brought about an unintended consequence: racism from a former best friend Candice. Because of these bad memories, Flor wants to decline her invite until she finds out that the invite would then go to Candice.

But she speaks up too late, and now not only is her best friend gone for the summer, she’s now forced to spend a lot of time working with Candice, her former best friend and now enemy.

Now, on top of all that, her parents’ store is having financial trouble, and suddenly, winning the pageant seems like the best way to try to save her parents’ store.

Honeybees and Frenemies is a solid middle grade novel with a look at friendships, family, and complicated former friendships. A quick delightful read.
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Okay, so Flor's summer plans have not turned out the way she wanted, and she ends up having to work with her 
enemy, who is still mad at her for winning a pageant in third grade. The two have to team up and despite their differences, work together to be in the bee festival.

What I liked:
-it included bees! 
-The character was actually afraid of the bees at first
-Mysterious old guy? now that makes things more interesting

Didn't like as much:
-I got bored during parts of it because it moves very slow.

I received an arc of this book on netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed Kristi Wientge’s debut, Karma Khullar’s Mustache, so I definitely wanted to get my hands on her latest, Honeybees and Frenemies.
 
It’s the start of summer and Flor’s plans to spend time at King’s Island with her best friend, Brooke, are scratched when Brooke announces that she’s going to band camp. Adding insult to injury, former friend Candice approaches and informs them that it’s the 50th Anniversary of the Honey Festival and it’s going to be an all-star event - one that will include former winners from the past 10 years which includes Flor when she won the crown in third grade.  You’ll find out quickly that Candice is the frenemy as their friendship hasn’t been the same since she finished as the runner-up that year.  Flor feels betrayed by Candice as she made some bold statements about Candice, making third grade tough and their relationship strained ever since.  Flor is not looking forward to her new summer plans and even considers not participating in the festival at all, but it turns out that she will…alongside Candice!
 
In a relatable, quirky voice, Flor narrates the happenings leading up to the big festival and the tension at home between her parents who always seem to be arguing lately about the state of the family mattress store.  As expected, it’s not so easy being in close proximity to Candice with a full calendar of required events.  They are assigned to assist Mr. Henry, the old man on the hill who is the subject of some strange rumors in town, as part of the volunteer requirement.
 
I found this story to be humorous at times especially when the girls initially set out to practice their talent portion of the festival—a recorder and piano duet!  They also try to one-up each other throughout which leads to an unfortunate event in a nursing home. 
 
It also touches on some more serious issues of family finances and the prospect of moving from her beloved Ohio. Flor thinks that the family’s troubles will be solved by winning the pageant’s $2,000 prize.  Middle grade readers will be enticed to see who will actually win as the girls run into some trouble executing their new, unapproved act. They’ll identify with the characters and their family dynamics, and might even share their hobbies like crocheting or experimenting in the kitchen. Readers will learn about forgiveness, and willingness to accept change.  I will be recommending this sweet novel to my students and know that they will be pleased with the conclusion.
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Flor's summer is officially ruined when she's asked to take part in a pageant as part of the Honey Festival her town puts on every year. And it gets worse because she has to do it with her worst enemy, Candice. With her best friend gone at summer camp and her parents fighting over finances, Flor isn't sure she will survive the summer.

Flor is honest-to-goodness the best. She's smart, sassy, loving, and determined. All of her problems feel so relatable and heart wrenching--I just wanted to cheer her on. Also, she's a crocheter, so she instantly stole my heart.

Her relationships with her family both heartwarming and tender...and hilarious and sad. Flor's older sister is fickle--sometimes she's annoyed with Flor, and sometimes she wants to help her. Sounded like me when I was younger...(as a big sis to three). Her dad is a bit of an oddball, but really lovable. Her mom is a little tougher, but understandable in her decisions.

All of these family dynamics really drew me into the story. All of the hard things they have to go through are so hard, and Flor just wants to fix everything. Her character development was so perfect.

And then there's Candice, Flor's arch nemesis. I won't say much, but I love the way these two grow together.

There are other minor characters that are just as wonderful. Every character played a part in this story--none of them felt unnecessary.

This book is very character driven, but the main driving plot is still a lot of fun. The whole story is based around this Honey Festival where the whole town goes insane about honey (it's hilarious). Flor and Candice have to work together to try and win the pageant--they both have their own reasons for winning, but they also really don't like each other.

Then there's the old man with the bees, the mattress store and the mattress suit, Flor's friend away at camp... there's a surprising number of subplots in this book, but they all pushed the main plot forward beautifully and added a lot of depth to Flor's and Candice's story.

And that ending. I loved it so much.

This is very much a middle grade novel, but I don't the author wrote in such a way that felt condescending to the book's audience. The descriptions are beautiful, and Flor's voice really jumps out as unique and fun. Flor even uses a ton of metaphors to describe things, which kind of surprised me, since it is a 12-year-old telling the story. But that's not really a critique, more of just an observation.

This book is the perfect book to read right before summer--it will really make its readers hungry to get out of school (and maybe visit a honeybee farm). Its overall messages of love, support, and being responsible for your actions are woven in really nicely--and the environmental aspect of the book doesn't overwhelm the story. I definitely recommend it.
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Honeybees and Frenemies
by Kristi Wientge



Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Children's Fiction , Middle Grade

Pub Date 04 Jun 2019



I am reviewing a copy of Honeybees and Frenemies through Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Netgalley:


The Summer before she starts eighth grade and Flor finds herself stuck at home helping at her families Mattress store while her best friend is at Band Camp likely making new friends.  To make matters worse Flor is asked to compete in there local honey pageant which means Flor will have to spend the summer practicing her recorder.  She also will have to volunteer for a reclusive bed keeper with her former friend Candice who remains bitter after Flor won the crown in second grade.


To top it all off there is the possibility that Flor and her family maybe moving to New Jersey.  The way her Mom and Dad have been fighting lately there’s a good chance he won’t be going with them if they end up moving.  Flor must find a way not to let it happen!



I find Honeybees and Frenemies to be a great story that Middle Grade Girls will enjoy, it’s well written, and flows nicely.


Five out of five stars!



Happy Reading!
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Interest Level: 5-8

Imagine it is the summer before your eight grade year.  It should be a time for sun and fun, right? Well not for Flor! Her best friend is going off to band camp where she will probably meet a new best friend, she has to work at her dad's mattress store, and to top it all off she finds out she has to participate in the Little Miss Honeybee pageant. Flor hates the Little Miss Honeybee pageant because when she won first place in third grade it caused her to lose you previous best friend, Candice. Now the pageant is hosting its 50th Honey Festival and all previous winners have to participate. At first Flor refuses to participate which allows the runner up, Candice, to be in it. Flor realizes this is a mistake because she wants to beat Candice again so when she agrees to join in, her and Candice have to work as a team. So many things are going wrong for Flor during this summer she is having a hard time processing it all. Her parents are fighting because the family mattress business is not doing well and money is tight, she doesn't have her own phone so she can't talk or text with Brooke at band camp, and now her and Candice have a strict schedule of volunteer work leading up to the festival. When they find out they have to go help the old recluse man that live on the hill, they are both terrified. Rumor is he keeps Girl Scouts who've climbed his driveway in the freezer next to their boxes of cookies.  As if things couldn't get any worse for Flor, her mom applies for a job in another state and if she gets it they could be moving away from Honeydale. Flor is now determined to win the Little Miss Honeybee pageant for the prize money to help her dad's store.  Will Flor be able to work with her frenemy, Candice, to win the prize money? Will Flor's mom get and accept the job in New Jersey? Will Flor's best friend come back and diss her just like Candice did in third grade? Read this charming 2019 book to find out the answers!

This is a great book to show how kids deal when they see their parents fighting. Flor tries to solve her parents problems even though deep down she knows her solution won't help. It also shows that even though we may be afraid of change, change is not always a bad thing. Don't miss this touching story about family issues, friendship troubles, and accepting change even though it's difficult.
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This was a sweet story about the difficulties of navigating changing relationships with family and friends. Flor and Candice used to be friends, but their relationship now holds quite a lot of animosity. But if they want to win their local pageant, and the much needed prize money, they’ll have to learn to work together.

I received a complimentary ARC in exchange for my review.
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The festival in the plot is what got me to first look at the book. But after reading the first 2 chapters, I slowly begin to lose interest. There wasn't anything really stand outish or special about this book. This seems to be more of a story that somebody who is just starting to read chapter books would read
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