Queen Mean by Jennifer Anderson

Queen Mean by Jennifer Anderson
Honey Creek Royalty Series, Book 3
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Length: Short Story (76 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Beckie Clark knew winning state in cheerleading was a big deal to her and the other squad members. Little did she know the small town of Honey Creek, Ohio felt the same way. The sudden royal treatment catches her off guard, leaving her to wonder what has gotten into everyone.

Then Grandma throws Beckie a curve by hiring the new guy, Andrew Macom, to help around the house. Guilt stricken, Beckie makes an effort to be home more, giving her a chance to develop feelings for Andrew. Feelings she’ll never own because of a lack of judgment during a summer party.

Swearing off guys hasn’t been easy—between Andrew and Kurt Sanders, the one guy all her friends want her to be with. When she finally allows herself to go on a date, the worst happens. Her grandmother falls, landing in the hospital in a coma.

The town’s special treatment pulls into full force, conflicting Beckie. She doesn’t want the attention, and guilt weighs on her again.

Andrew never leaves Beckie or her grandmother’s side, being the constant strong shoulder she needs. Will her grandmother recover? And will Beckie open herself up to love, or will the royal treatment from everyone leave her as the cold-hearted Queen Mean?

Fame in a small town can be stifling.

Ms. Anderson has once again expertly captured small town life within the pages of this installment of the Honey Creek Royalty series. I could practically smell the vinyl seats of the school bus as Beckie rode home from the cheerleading competition. Memories of my own bumpy bus rides in high school brought a smile to my face as I read.

I liked Beckie immediately. When the town goes crazy after she and her fellow cheerleaders win state, Beckie doesn’t let her new found fame go to her head. In fact, aside from accepting an invite to a good party, Beckie decides to ignore the attention as much as possible. Beckie is a very responsible young girl. She found herself in a scary situation with an older guy the previous summer that could have ended very badly. Fortunately, Beckie is smart and learned from her mistake. I have no doubt that she’ll never go down that path again. However, Beckie’s lapse in judgment has led her to swear guys off indefinitely. Will the guilt of her past cause her to miss out on a chance for a meaningful relationship?

Even though Beckie strikes me as a very mature young woman, she’s also a very realistic character. When all the attention from her victory at state becomes too much, she doesn’t always handle it gracefully. Beckie’s frustration with the superficial behavior of the people in Honey Creek comes to a head after her Grandma ends up in the hospital. The emotions become too much for her to handle and she ends up snapping at people who genuinely care for her. I found Beckie’s reaction to the unwanted attention to be completely believable.

Beckie’s dilemma concerning Kurt and Andrew is also very well written. I could clearly picture Beckie trying to figure out her feelings for an old friend versus the new boy who quickly found his way into her heart. Beckie makes a few missteps while sorting out her feelings, but this only serves to make her a more endearing character in my mind.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Queen Mean. It is a heartwarming tale of romance, friendship, and the meaning of family. Fans of young adult romance would do well to give Queen Mean a try.

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