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Book Review: Queen Bees & Wannabes

Note: The following book review is intended for adult reading only. Some of the information is not appropriate for children.


What is the difference between good teasing and mean teasing?

What is the difference between tattling and telling?

What should you say when your child tells you someone is mean to them?

Is it OK to check your daughter’s cell phone, text messages and social media pages?

These are just a sampling of the myriad of subjects discussed in the book “Queen Bees & Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman, which was based off the hit movie “Mean Girls.”

In all candidness, when I initially flipped open the highly recommended New York Times Bestseller several months ago, there was a deep gaging sensation in the back of my throat. The scene described a teen girl in the bathroom at her parent’s house on family football day. During the spirited time, the teen daughter goes into the bathroom and takes a snapshot of her breasts, and texts it to a boy she likes.

I quickly shut the book.

This is the world my daughters are entering. And I am scared to death. I finally picked up the book again this summer before my eldest daughter entered fifth grade. I know that my tween daughter’s life is only going to continue to escalate in this complicated “girl world.” I need to get armed and ready – now.

Real-life Accounts
Wiseman brilliantly uses the real “voices” of girls and parents in this non-fiction book. She anonymously shares personal stories, feelings and opinions to help parents communicate more effectively. She also cleverly includes the concept of “landmines” throughout the book, which are things that parents do and say that are guaranteed “eye rollers” and “shut the door to effective communication.”

Real Strategies
Wiseman realistically sets the scene of this girl world by fundamentally and clearly altering the way adults look at girls’ friendships and conflicts. Most importantly, she offers sound strategies in what to say during those critical moments.

Wiseman explains, “This book will give you strategies to make your daughter’s adolescence bearable for both of you. It will teach you to talk to your daughter in a way that doesn’t make her groan when you speak.”

Real Topics
There is no doubt that things have changed since we were kids. The book hits on the harsh reality in these topics, which may be unchartered territory for many parents:

  • How they choose their best friends
  • How they express their anger
  • Boundaries with boys, and their relationships with parents
  • How girls of every background are profoundly influenced by their interactions with one another
  • How girls’ experiences before adolescence impact their teen years, future relationships, and overall success
  • The different roles girls play in and outside of cliques (Queen Bees, Targets and Bystanders)
  • Girls’ power plays – both “in person” and using technology
  • Where boys fit into the equation of girl conflicts and how you can help your daughter better hold her own with the opposite sex
  • Checking your baggage (recognizing how your experiences impact the way you parent)
  • The important role a father plays in your daughter’s life
  • Insight about technology’s impact and how to manage it in a healthy way

This book may be scary to read, but you’ll also feel a sense of parental empowerment. A must-read for those parents of tween/teen girls, or those in the thick of girl world.

Kristal Zacharias is the mother of two beautiful, vivacious girls, and wife of a hunky husband who works in the action sports industry. For the past 15 years, Kristal has worked for several Fortune 500 companies as a professional communicator. Follow her journey at Clearly Kristal or on Facebook and Twitter.
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