About the book:
Title: A Patron Saint for Junior Bridesmaids
Author: Shelley Tougas
Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, realistic fiction, middle grade
A bully, a wedding, and a larger-than-life family add up to a hilarious and heartfelt middle-grade novel.
Mary Margaret Miller is going to be a junior bridesmaid–that is, if she isn’t grounded for the rest of her life. She’s feuding with school bully Brent Helzinski, and her cousin Eden, aka The Bride, is clashing with her grandmother about wedding plans. Mary knows it’s her job as a junior bridesmaid to make the day run smoothly, but she sure could use a little help from above.
Source: Thanks so much to Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for providing me with an e-ARC via Netgalley!
How I Found Out About It: Netgalley
This was a pretty cute, lighthearted middle grade book, which I enjoyed! It really shows the true meaning of family, which many other books in this genre often seem to miss.
To sum up, the book mostly focuses on Mary, a witty, smart, and kind 12 year old girl. Eden, her cousin with social anxiety, is having a wedding really soon, so Mary and her brother go to St. Paul, Minnesota (where Eden lives) to help out with the planning. She is going to be the junior bridesmaid in the ceremony, so she decides she wants to be the patron saint for them. Unfortunately, she’s also dealing with a really mean bully named Brent, whom she doesn’t get along with at all. She’s also hiding a secret, a BIG one that could jeopardize all her family members’ trust. Will she be able to apologize to the bully, and become the patron saint for junior bridesmaids like she wishes?
I did not realize exactly how religious this book would be once I picked it up. I only expected just a few light references to Catholicism (which, for the record, I am not). I didn’t even know what a patron saint was- I had no idea it had to do with anything religious. The religious elements of the book often go into detail and are explained well, but as I couldn’t relate, I didn’t find myself enjoying these parts very much. Still, it was pretty cool to learn about a religion other than my own!
Pushing all the religious references aside, I really liked the characters of this book, as they were so agreeable and I could easily relate to them as well. Mary, as I said before, is a very sweet, witty, and intelligent girl. I can tell that she is the type of character that would make an amazing, loyal friend! There had been a ‘punchy’ (
please excuse my corniness) incident with the school bully, and she regretted what she did and really wanted to make things right again. I don’t want to get all spoilery here, so I’m just going to leave that statement as is😆. Mary also had a great sense of humour, and I could easily find her cracking jokes and just being silly, which is a trait that many book characters these days seem to lack. Her family members were also tight-knit and seemingly really nice people, despite quite a bit of conflict going on regarding the wedding. And even though Nick wasn’t a major character, I still really enjoyed reading about him, as he was a good friend and really humorous as well.
All in all, I enjoyed this book, but it’s not one of my favourites. I’d recommend it to any tween looking for a light-hearted middle grade book centring around family ties rather than friendship and/or romance. If you don’t mind quite a few references to Catholicsm, go ahead and pick this book up when it releases on October 11th, as I’m sure you’ll love it! But if not… I wouldn’t recommend this book to you, as the Catholic terms may fly over your head, as they did mine.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
*I received a digital ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*