Summary: Honeybees and Frenemies
Honeybees and Frenemies was my third Kristi Wientge book — and it did not disappoint. I’ve now read all her books, and I can tell you that they’ve only gotten better and better. Flor’s parents’ mattress store is struggling this summer, and her parents are fighting more than ever. The summer seems to get brighter when she gets a chance to be in their town’s local honey pageant with her frenemy (former friend turned bitter enemy) Candice. The girls’ friendship was ruined when Flor won the pageant in third grade, and Candice (the runner-up) suggested that she only won because she was half-Indian. Can the girls make it work now? And with Flor make it through the summer with her family intact?
I really liked this book. It started a bit slowly for me, but once I settled into the story, I was hooked. I’m not a fan of frenemy stories so I think that made me a bit cautious of Candice, but the author handles everything sensitively and I loved seeing Flor stand up for herself. We do learn a bit more about Candice, which makes all the characters well-rounded and easy to root for.
Wientge has a penchant for writing stories aching with friendship-related longing and this is no different. Besides the friendship issues though, she writes exceptionally well about families dealing with normal day-to-day issues and sometimes slightly more complicated problems. Flor’s father’s business selling mattresses is struggling and her mother is adamant that the family move to another city where she’s already interviewing for a new job. This brings expected strain into the family and I liked the realistic portrayal and outcome.
I also liked Flor’s relationship with her sister and the friendship she and Candice form with Mr. Henry, the bee owner they collaborate with for their talent show. The bees added an interesting STEM element to this story and I learned so much about bees and how they live and interact. The girls had a super cool talent to display for everyone.
Overall: Honeybees and Frenemies
Honeybees and Frenemies is a warm, humorous, and relatable middle grade book about bees, family, and frenemies. This is a captivating story also zooms in on friendships, the assumptions we make about others, and an inter-generational friendship. Bonus points for a related bee fun fact at the start of every new chapter!