Summary: The Braid Girls
In The Braid Girls, Maggie’s summer is off to a rocky start when her parents announce that she has a half-sister—a daughter her father never knew about until now. Callie’s presence throws off soft-spoken Maggie’s dynamic with her outspoken best friend Daija, even more when Callie joins their hair-braiding business.
This book joins the unique league of middle grade books tackling the subject of new siblings unexpectedly introduced. Stories like Rule of Threes and Shine On, Luz Veliz. Like those two stories, this theme was well done in this book. It was also my first time reading a book by Sherri Winston and I liked her writing style. It’s easy to read and really brings the characters to life.
Another major theme explored is the friendship between Daija and Maggie and how their personalities clash and eventually complement each other. Maggie is timid and hesitant to speak up at the start of the book. Daija is brash and sometimes a lot to deal with. I loved seeing Maggie’s character growth throughout the story and watching her stand up for herself.
Callie is also dealing with personal issues, missing her mother who has died and feeling like she should always be pleasant since she’s living in “someone else’s home.” I loved watching how the family embraces her and helps her find belonging. Finally, the girls face a ton of unfair competition with their business at camp. They also have to find a way of beating the competition while keeping their integrity.
Overall: The Braid Girls
The Braid Girls is a sweet, relatable middle grade book about sisterhood, entrepreneurship, and finding your voice. This book shines in its realistic portrayal of familial complexities and the ups and downs of friendship. I also liked that all three girls narrate the story alternately. Kids who love entrepreneurship and a touch of romance in their middle grade literature will like this one, even though it is a bit angst-filled at times.
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