Earlier this week, I finsihed reading The Teashop Girls b Laura Schaefer. This is just a lovely book in every way. It's perfectly formatted with black-and-white illustrations at the ends of the chapters, the tea-themed quotes at the beginnings. The tidbits concerning the history of tea and the proper way to drink tea, the old advertisements for different tea brands, it's all totally delightful. This book has kind of made me want to pick up one of Laura Childs' teashop mysteries, and I am not heavily invested in tea.
I've never read a cozy mystery, but I imagine this must be the juvenile equivalent--sans mystery. Cozy is exactly the word I'd use to describe it; there are no bad people, no villains (except an imagined one or two), no real danger (except that of a beloved teashop closing), and no deep relationship problems. It's a warm book filled with a lot of love and some good characters.
Annie is 13 years old, in eighth grade, and loves everything about tea. Her grandmother, Louisa, owns a teashop called The Steeping Leaf, and Annie's thrilled when Louisa allows her to become a barista there. Annie quickly discovers that the Leaf is in trouble due to flagging popularity and the arrival of a commercial coffee chain on the street. Annie quickly determines to save the Leaf--and to recruit her two best friends, both of whom formed a club with Annie when they were very young called the Teashop Girls, to help her save the shop. Zoe and Genna each have their own interests, now, though, and Annie sometimes feels like she's not getting any help and as if the Leaf can't be saved.
I don't know what else to say about this book. Read it. It's wonderful. This is a book that someday, I'll want to share with my niece, or with a hypothetical daughter.