Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence

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Do you feel as though your adolescent daughter exists in a different world, speaking a different language and living by different laws? She does.

This groundbreaking book takes you inside the secret world of girls’ friendships, translating and decoding them, so parents can better understand and help their daughters navigate through these crucial years. Rosalind Wiseman has spent more than a decade listening to thousands of girls talk about the powerful role cliques play in shaping what they wear and say, how they feel about school, how they respond to boys, and how they feel about themselves. In this candid and insightful book, Wiseman discusses:

• Queen Bees, Wannabes, Targets, Torn Bystanders, and others: how to tell what role your daughter plays and help her be herself
• Girls’ power plays, from birthday invitations to cafeteria seating arrangements and illicit parties, and how to handle them
• Good popularity and bad popularity: how cliques bear on every situation
• Hip Parents, Best-Friend Parents, Pushover Parents, and others: examine your own parenting style, “Check Your Baggage,” and identify how your own background and biases affect how you relate to your daughter
• Related movies, books, websites, and organizations: a carefully annotated resources section provides opportunities to follow up on your own and with your daughter

Enlivened with the voices of dozens of girls and parents and a welcome sense of humor, Queen Bees and Wannabes is compelling reading for parents and daughters alike. A conversation piece and a reference guide, it offers the tools you need to help your daughter feel empowered and make smarter choices.

Customer Reviews:

    I am in my 20's, and a graduate of an Ivy League college. I state this fact hoping to give some validity to my opinion. I read this book when I was 20, and I cried at least twice during each chapter of "Queen Bees". Although in high school I hung with a non-conformist/alternative crowd, we were not immune to the petty fights and backstabbing that Wiseman attributes to typical teenage girl behavior. No matter how independent your daughter, she will be either the victim or perpetrator of such behavior. I know,this may shock you...but even your well-behaved, beautiful, intelligent, honor student is very mean, and she has (or will) engage in the cruel and vicious behavior Wiseman discusses in her book. It's NOT because you're bad parents, but as Wiseman says in her book, it's kill or be killed out there in "girl world". It's hard to imagine how cruel teenage girls can be, but there is no exaggeration in this book, I promise you. Even if all your daughter's friends seem lovely and mature, there is still a power struggle within the group, and your daughter may be stuck in the middle.

    Please understand that this book IS what life is like for your teenage daughters. She is not the exception. Wiseman outlines various personality types of teenage girls, and even if your daughter is the diplomatic, friendly, and generous type, not all those around her are the same. You need to understand the world she lives in to understand anything about her. I wish my parents had read this book. Though they did a great job raising me, they could have saved all of us the emotional turmoil of those years....more info
  • shallow
    Wow - I guess this book might be meaningful to a very shallow "princess" culture, but real kids have a bit more brains, compassion and depth than the sad cases she writes about. Glad I'm beyond that stuff - so are most of my friends.

    I believe her discussion only empowers shallowness. Turn your back and MOVE ON when that stuff happens! Those drama queens will have to wallow in thier drama quagmires and writing about them only validates their shallow "separatism" - how sad....more info
  • If you have a school-age daughter, you need this book.
    I agree with 'A Reader from Washington D.C.' when she says that cliques shouldn't keep anyone from doing what they want to do and that a young girl shouldn't let the Queen Bees or any of her minions define her...but the unfortunate reality is that most middle/high school girls are living in the present and can't see to the future where all those school hierarchies will be just a distant memory.

    With that in mind, I think that QUEEN BEES & WANNABES is a must have book for parents, especially mothers, navigating the world of adolescent girls and all it has to offer. Far from telling parents to act like your daughter's best friend, it offers excellent advice and samples on how to talk TO her at her level and not AT her at yours so that she will be more comfortable sharing her life with you, especially since so many tweens and teens are prone to clamming up totally in the presence of their parents.

    It offers descriptions of each component of the clique, from the Queen Bee and her Sidekick, to the Wannabe and the Target. In the process of explaining the complicated politics of school-age girls, it opened my eyes to some of the things that went on when I was in school and allowed me to view some of my experiences through that lens.

    The end of the book has a very valuable section on dealing with your daughter and boys...why some boys act the way they do, their motivations, and danger signs to look for in someone your daughter may be dating.

    I think that the reason this book is so enlightening is because of the research the author did with adolescent girls...she took many of the suggestions they made and used them to formulate her tactics for parent/daughter communication. The quotes included in the book are both horrifying and poignant and will help to re-open your eyes to the reality of teenage life....more info

  • absorbing
    A must-read for anyone with a teenage daughter. Using interviews with multiple subjects, the author takes us inside "Girl World." She analyzes cliques dynamics, what makes someone a bully and another a victim, parenting styles, and even offers a look into "Boy World," from multiple boys' perspective. She gives parents advice on how to handle their often mercurial daughters: i.e. "Never confront her in front of her friends," "Don't use the slang she uses." She frequently quotes from the girls' she interviewed, which provides a supporting viewpoint. I haven't been in high school for over a decade, but the portrait painted both from the author and the interviewees perspective rang true. The stories the teens shared were humorous, perceptive, one-sided and occasionally harrowing. The author also provides a "must see" movies, fiction and nonfiction lists for girls and their parents at the
    ...more info
  • Not what I expected
    I was expecting a sociological book on teens. What you get was a manual of how to raise teen girls. Not what I was hoping for....more info
  • Peer Groups Decide
    This important book describes the world of teenage girls as it is, not as we wish it to be, which is why many readers have a problem with it. In the last 10 years, the evidence has mounted that peer groups influence teens more than parents, clergy, siblings or even genetics. The hard-edged humor is a wake-up call to parents who want to understand the world their teen girls really live in, and how to deal with it. My other favorite parenting book--on a much lighter note--is "I Sleep At Red Lights: A True Story of Life After Triplets," by Bruce Stockler, a funny, brazenly honest account of juggling marriage, work, money and kids....more info
  • A helpful book for your teenage daughter
    If your daughter is driven to succeed rather than driven to to "fit in" she'll appreciate this book. I had no idea that this behavior was so common!...more info
  • Highly recommended
    I'm 21 and I read this out of curiosity, to see if someone will finally get it right. Wiseman comes closest. Yes, this book is not perfect, but it reflects my own experience pretty well. The Landmine boxes summarizing wrong approaches are particularly useful - for example, don't tell your daughter that being humiliated by teasing is not a big deal, or that everyone will forget about it tomorrow. Sometimes this is true, but sometimes the "mean girls" can do it for months.

    Another reason why I think all the mothers should read this book is that often their own experiences are very different (I know this from talking to my mom) and they simply cannot believe or understand what being a teenage girl is like these days. This book should bridge that gap....more info
  • Illuminating but overgeneralized
    I put this book to the test, and discussed it with my very forthcoming teen. She didn't understand what I was talking about.

    She explained that she hangs out with a group of girls that label themselves "nice but not the popular girls." She is only vaguely aware of those popular girls, and just ignores them.

    She emphasized to me that her group does not want to be popular. They are inclusive of newcomers, and work hard at not even giving the appearance of being cliquish. They're not afraid to be individuals. They stick up for each other. They stick up for themselves. When there's a little argument between two of them, they all still sit together at lunch. They are emotionally and socially balanced, in some ways more than some adults I know.

    Looking back, I knew all this already about my daughter's group of friends, but wanted to be vigilant anyway, and make sure I wasn't hiding my head in the sand about anything. That's why I went ahead and read this book.

    I guess this book applies to some girls, but it's over-generalized. Some kids are more mature than others.

    I'll continue to be vigilant. But other books are more helpful....more info
  • I wish my mother had read this
    As a soon-to-be college junior, I feel that Wiseman accurately assesses teenage girls and their responses to their mothers. She doesn't assume anything and takes all of her information directly from the girls themselves. Even at the relatively distant age of 19, reading this makes me remember being 12 and trying to find my locker for the first time and feeling that everyone was watching me; my first boyfriend; my first school dance.

    Reading the book I often thought, "That's exactly what I said to my mom!" or "I really wish my mother would have asked me talked to me about that." Wiseman gives excellent advice on how a mother can approach and understand her daughter during this awkard point in their girls' lives. It's certainly NO SUBSTITUTE for talking with your girls, but it's definitely an aide.

    And my unsolicited advice is don't yell at your girls if they mess up. I understand, now, why my mother did it; concern wrecks anyone's nerves. But, at 13 all you can think is, "This is exactly why I don't tell her anything; she yells at me." You can be angry and upset with your daughter, but yelling at her only makes her not want to talk to you. Hopefully I'll remember that when I have kids....more info
  • Useful and Accurate
    I am a 12 year old girl, and I found this book to be very helpful. I thought this book was very accurate about social situations. The only problem was the girls roles in cliques. I thought the roles were right, except that many people are a combination of two or more roles. For example I have a friend that is a combination of a Floater and a Queen Bee. I also thought that the book was too sympathetic to targets. We have three targets in our class. One is a target because she bullies and physically hurts people, one is a target because she likes to pick fights with everyone, and the third is a target because he is rude and condecsending to people.

    The boys in our grade are similar to the ones described in the book. Many of them like to taunt each other and call other boys 'gay' on a daily basis. However, I disagree with Wiseman, and think that the reason they call each other 'gay' is not because they are homophobic, but because it is the best insult they can think of. (Really, I am not a man-hater. I like the boys, I just think some of the stuff they do is weird. I know they think stuff girls do is weird.)

    I noticed that many of the people who wrote bad reviews were parents that could not accept that their children might choose their friends over them. They couldn't understand that just because a girl separates from her parents, that doesn't mean she's obnoxious.

    I thought the girls comments were useful and sounded honest.

    Despite a few small flaws, overall this was a great book....more info
  • Almost, But Not Quite. NOT Recommended for Parents of Fat Girls
    There's so much good in here, but Wiseman's naivete on the normality of fatness gets in the way of this being an entirely safe or sanity-promoting book. It's simply normal for some women and girls to be "overweight". There's no evidence anywhere that fat people "eat their problems" (to use the naive phrase from "Mean Girls") any more than thinner people. Some of us are genetically destined to be at the top of the weight bell curve. It's great that Wiseman recommends The Beauty Myth, for instance, but I wonder if she actually read it. Or The Dieters Dilemma. Or The Obesity Myth. Or Losing It. Or any of the other books in the fat acceptance/health at every size canon.

    Perpetuating the old fat-people-are-gluttons myth simply is no longer acceptable or scientifically accurate. Reading this book and projecting its messages on to young fat girls is potentially as dangerous as any other form of bullying Wiseman describes.

    Maybe someday she'll correct this major flaw in a future edition?

    ...more info
  • queen bee's and wanna bee's helping your ........ book
    It was a gift for a friend who has a step daughter. She said she enjoyed the book and it will be helpful to her ...more info
  • Mother of a teen girl? Read this!
    As a mother of a 14 year old girl, I found myself reliving my junior high years and bringing my experiences to the forefront to share with my daughter. She was not only receptive to hear them but actually asked questions about how I handled things. Mothers and teen daughters have so much to share with each other but sometimes lack the communication skills to talk even keel with each other. This book is wonderful for opening the door to your daughter's world and beginning that crucial conversation..."So, how was your day?"...more info
  • fascinating....almost too fascinating
    there's a plethora of reader's perspectives one could take into accessing this fantastic work, that reads as quickly and easily as a novel (minus the stopping upon having your own personal schema accessed). this is a brilliant gender studies read as well as a potential parenting guide...unfortunately, the book ends almost too quickly, not fully joining all loose ends, and merely glancing at the notions of boys in the world of high school politics....more info
  • Just Plain Insulting...and Short-sighted
    Wiseman makes far too many assumptions and lumps people into the same categories far too often in her book. Naturally, not everyone can be neatly put into a category, since teenage girls are not created with cookie cutters. In turn, we all cannot be dealt with in the same way. Some of the advice that she gives is quite inadequate, and it doesn't really make sense. After all, if all teenage girls are supposed to nicely fit into categories, how can we all be dealt with in the same way? What works with/for one young woman will not work with/for another, and I do not feel that Wiseman stresses this. I think that overgeneralizing is really taking away from Wiseman's book on the whole...not to mention the fact that she gives misinformation to her readers.

    As a teenager, I'm really bothered by the fact that Wiseman addressed the "nice in private, mean in public" treatment that she says that girls often initiate but neglects to mention the more popular form of punishment--the "nice in public, mean in private" treatment! This is something that I know has not only happened to me, and I know that it definitely exists. It is actually the reason for which I purchased this book, thinking that it would be discussed! Blatant meanness is not the only thing that exists ACROSS the genders. If Wiseman neglected to mention this but balloons other matters, can her words be regarded with any merit?

    A particularly disturbing segment in this book is one in which Wiseman attempts to describe Black culture to people who do not know much about it. In her description, she is extremely condescending and acts as if she is playing a trivia game.

    "[Did you know that] those beautiful long braids [B]lack women wear are made from hair extensions, cost hundreds of dollars, take up to ten hours to complete, and are braided so tight that women often get terrible headaches?" she says in a direct quote from this book. She goes on with more "groundbreaking trivia," but I will spare you from it.

    Besides the fact that this is NOT always true (NOT all Black women with braids wear hair extensions--I know Black women who have braids but do not have hair extensions! Moreover, NOT all braiding takes ten hours to complete and cost hundreds of dollars!) I was extremely offended at how Wiseman discussed the culture of Black hair, and how she trivializes it, gives MISINFORMATION about it, and is completely condescending about it in the process.

    Wiseman only writes 5 pages on Black women--would it be so much to ask for her to make sure that her information is accurate? If you want to read a book that makes gross overgeneralizations about teenage girls, tries to tell parents how to deal with their supposedly cookie-cutter young women, AND gives misinformation on Black culture (and it is highly probable that since her segment on Black women is only 5 pages long but has plenty of misinformation in it, there's misinformation elsewhere as well!) then buy Wiseman's book--but in my opinion, it is better left on the shelf. ...more info
  • Pretty accurate.
    Having been (and perhaps am still) a combination of "queen bee"/"floater", I found this book to be amazingly accurate. Though the situations are a bit overdramatic (and generalized), the book is amazingly accurate when it comes to the social behavior of girls.

    Girls are mean (no matter what kind of image they present to you, mommies and daddies reading this, and no girl is an exception to some of the behavior outlined in this book, such as gossiping). We DO backstab, gossip, and hurt each other in the most horrendous ways, and this book highlights it all. However, girls engage in such behavior solely for the reason of revenge, not for the rush of it all. Also, most girls are a combination of the roles given in the book, and through their career in elementary/middle/high school, ALL girls will become "targets" BY MEMBERS OF ANOTHER CLIQUE (there is no all-emcompassing "In" group anymore!), regardless of their position/role. Every girl out there, no matter how "popular" she perceives herself to be, will be hated (and targeted) by a member of another clique.

    Moving on, I don't recommend this as a parenting book, but more of a glimpse into "Girl World". It makes for an interesting read, but I disagree with the parenting strategies outlined. It's far too romanticized and idealistic to be applicable in real life, in my opinion....more info
  • Well-researched and informative
    I bought this book because I am interested in teenage girl society. I was expecting another book like REVIVING OPHELIA, where I thought the author based way too much of her theories on anecdotal evidence, and was very surprised and impressed by what I got instead.

    Wiseman deconstructs teen girl society--"Girl World"--in comprehensive and realistic, down-to-earth fashion, exploring the ways in which media, peer pressure, and parental messages interact, enforce, and reinforce each other. She delves into the very culturally sensitive topics of race and sexual orientation. She makes no bones about stating that much of what parents and society attempt to teach girls about the pressures of drugs, sex, and alcohol that they face is really intended to make parents feel better about themselves and not about giving their children the tools they need to make wise and informed choices about how best to protect themselves and set boundaries that are true to what they want as individuals, rather than going along with the group. She also provides a list of references several pages long for further reading.

    She also doesn't just look at girls. She examines cultural pressures on boys too, and the ways in which boys are also forced to conform to cultural stereotypes (in fact, these were some of the chapters of the book that I found most interesting), and deals with the ways in which "Girl World" and "Boy World" fit together in the cauldron of modern culture.

    Wiseman's straight-ahead approach to issues is refreshing and honest; she is realistic about the limits of parental authority, and points out that overprotecting your daughter will work right up until the point where she is eighteen years old, and tossed out into society to deal with these issues now on her own. The only thing I wish she'd done differently is spend a little more time talking to and dealing with girls who don't belong to cliques, through a combination of outcastness and choice--she was very upfront about pointing out that not belonging to cliques, while it can be very painful at the time, can enable a girl to come through adolescence with a greater sense of self-worth than girls who feel they have to suck up to the Queen Bees. Overall, however, I was quite impressed and feel that this is a very good look at teenage girl society....more info
  • From a guidance counselor
    I am a middle school guidance counselor and this is the best, most honest look at the world of our children I have ever read. Not only is it a VERY accurate portrayal of what "girl world" is all about, but Ms. Wiseman offers parents practical advice on how to handle delicate situations. I have purchased a couple of copies and have lent all of them out to parents who come to my office seeking help and advice. Readers who think this book is over the top are in denial. This book truly tells it like it is -- I witness this everyday at work and as a parent of two teenagers....more info
  • Overall: ok...
    I felt that this book was just ok. It was well written, and I can see how it would benefit a parent of a teen. However, I am a teen, and I feel that some of the book was a little too dramatic and harsh on teens. There are some dramatizations of situations which were somewhat unrealistic. Besides this, I feel that it was an interesting read....more info
  • A must read!
    If you have a daughter currently in middle school, this is a must read before high school! ...more info
  • Genuinely useful observations and advice
    I'm a former high school teacher and I think this book accurately depicts the challenges of adolescent (and pre-adolescent) girls. I've ordered it for my nephew and neice to use as a longer-term guide since their oldest daughter just turned 12....more info
  • I think Wiseman may have a problem with overexaggeration
    I am a freshman at an all girls highschool. If any of the problems such as those presented by Ms. Wiseman in her book were actually present in highschool girls' relationships, I would be the first to know. And I shall tell you that her book is not an accurate representation of girls' social behavior. Sure, they can be mean sometimes, but who among us is not? After reading the reviews, it seemed that the only people who found this book helpful were a couple of parents who obviously don't know what their daughters are up to otherwise they would have laughed at the book's hyperboles of the cattiness of girls today. Those of us who didn't like the book are students or parents who actually know their children. I have been the butt of much harrassment from girls my age, but instead of being bitter about it, I have realised that I was a hostile little jerk and deserved every cold stare that went my way. If you don't have friends in highschool, think about what you might be doing wrong instead of blaming it on other people....more info
  • Valuable insight into teen girls!
    Like Dr. William Pollack in Real Boys and, in fact, a great companion piece to that book, Ms. Wiseman takes on explaining the pyschological interactions of teens with *her* focus being on girls rather than boys. Very precise in describing roles (Queen Bees, Wannabes, Messengers, Bystanders, Targets, etc.), the author describes how a girl's status in (or out of) a teen clique can largely affect her social development and perhaps her personality as an adult. She then goes on to suggest appropriate interventions for adverse social situations in what she describes as "Girl World".

    I would consider this book an indespensible reference for adults who interact with teen girls in almost any capacity (parents, teachers, counselors, club advisors, scout troop leaders, etc.). Using techniques in this book could be very helpful in preventing psychological damage to girls at a very tender age and teach the perpetrators more appropriate and less toxic behavior.

    While most of the book was fascinating and down-to-earth helpful, I did have some problem with having all girls lumped into stereotypes--although they sounded *very* familiar to me! The book seemed to drag a tiny bit, but I think that was only because the author intended to write a very comprehensive guidebook rather than just skimming the surface of this topic. She handled some difficult topics extremely well and provided excellent practical advice for ways parents of teenage girls can more effectively communicate with their daughters. Despite minor flaws, I found this book to be insightul and worthwhile reading....more info
  • Nothing for the girl on the outside
    I had high hopes for this book after reading the reviews, but it didn't cover my daughter's problem. What about the girl who isn't a part of any clique? The one that other girls call wierd or strange because she doesn't dress like they do, or has achne, or whatever else they decide is not like them. Surely some of those hundreds of girls she talked to had this problem. So, why the exclusion... yet again???...more info
  • Pretty Good Book
    I thought that this book is a great book for parents of teens to read. It includes realistic examples of different situations that his/her daughter might be in, but some of the stadegies suggested to solve problems are not always good. I an a teen myself, and I think that some of the ideas given were just another way to embarass the teen rather than help them. the general idea of the book, though, was good....more info
  • pretty good but some week spots
    I'm 9 so alot of this didn't apply to me. The stuff that was good though helped me. My pal emily just joined "the populars" so those are the only people she hangs out with. She ignores me and that stinks but this book tolk me to get over it and hang out with true friends and NOT wannabees like her. I learned that i am a floater who doesn't just go to one clique. Over-all this book was pretty good....more info
  • If Your Daughter Is Self Centered and Rude...
    If you are facing life with a surly, self involved daughter, then this book is for you. My biggest concern is that the author lumps "all" adolescent girls in the same category..A very negative one. The claim that your daughter WILL turn her back on you as a parent and dismiss you in favor (always) of her friends may be true of some girls, but dare I say not ALL.

    It's the across the board generalizations that bother me. Teenaged girls do have things in common, but in this book there is no accounting for individual temperment, family dynamics, nor already present relationships with the parent(s.)

    Another reviewer said it best:
    "Wow - I guess this book might be meaningful to a very shallow "princess" culture, but real kids have a bit more brains, compassion and depth than the sad cases she writes about. Glad I'm beyond that stuff - so are most of my friends."

    Well said! My 14 year old daughter and her friends are a testament to this statement. They may be High Honor Students and "band geeks" but I'll be darned if any of them fit the narrow mold this book portrays. They are hysterically funny, kind, emotional, creative and most of all INDIVIDUALS. Though I will say I do know a few girls who fit the portrayals in this book.

    If you have a good relationship with your daughter, especially with communication, this book may seem like foreign culture to you. But if you have been raising a shallow, surly, spoiled teen, you may benefit from what it has to offer..

    ...more info
  • from a high school student's point of view
    I am a high school student. I decided to borrow this book from a friend after watching Mean Girls because this is the book the movie is based on. I thought it was mostly accurate except for the stuff about popular girls. I thought that some parts of the book were confusing and hard to follow. But I wish my mom would read this because it would help her understand my life more. I figured I would just comment on this to help moms who are seeking to understand their daughter's lives and who are considering purchasing this....more info
  • Great Book
    I am a Registered Nurse, with 3 college degrees, working on a Masters In Education. I bought this book for my 14 year-old daughter. After we read it together, I will give it to my friend, who is a Professional Counselor for children. She has a Master's in Education already. I'm not saying that all these degrees I'm speaking of are important, and that you need them to order this book. I think anyone with a daughter should order this book. I am only talking about our education because I want you to know that professionals are also buying & using this book in our profession. Thank you....more info
  • Accurate Description of Teenage Life
    I am a 15 year old girl and I think that this book is very accurate. I was interested to read that the author finds that the reactions of girls to her presence to be identical without exception. I think that clearly, to develop statements such as this, the author must be passionately motivated to making a positive difference in the lives of young women today. This book is the result of her investments in this goal, and it is obvious in reading the book that her dedication has produced some tremendous results. She makes quotes and stories from real-life girls available in her book. As a result she has developed a book, which contains extensive amounts of knowledge "forbidden" to parents. As a teenager, I must admit that I really am shocked by the conclusions that the author is able to draw about girls. She has gained an insight into girls' lives far beyond what I imagined adults were actually aware of. Though you should know that, as a parent, your daughter's dealings with cliques may not be as extreme as all of the worst-case scenarios in this book. However, this is a great book for the purposes of connecting with your daugther's stressful life, and I plan on asking my mother to read it as well. ...more info
  • A real eye-opener!
    Pros: An excellent insight into the world of young adolescence. This book really opened my eyes into what is going on in the mind of my daughter and her peers, and what the social scene will be for her as she enters middle school. We have already had several very good conversations about how to deal with mean girls, developing, fashion pressures, etc. The comments of real teens quoted throughout are very insightful. This book will help us get through the next few years.

    Cons: I think that the author jumps around too much. The book could be organized better. If you read the entire thing, you won't miss anything, but it will be difficult to find certain portions if you want to go back to them later....more info
  • better than I thought
    having attending school (Occidental College) for a year with Ms. Wiseman in the late 1980's I at first found it very ironic that she would write such a book. After review, however, it truly seems she is a different person, and she offers valuable and helpful advice for teens and their families. The Queen Bee has molted and a wise grasshopper emerges!...more info
  • Great book for school counselors
    Great book for counselors to help kids cope with cliques, even though it is written to parents. I have used it in counseling sessions with the girls in the cliques, as well as their targets, to raise their awareness. It has helped change behavior already. It is the best book on girl bullying I have found....more info
  • Good for promoting civilized behavior
    I bought this book for my daughter on her 12th birthday, and she was thrilled to get it (she is a big "Mean Girls" fan). My hope was to encourage her to be sweeter to her friends and to refrain from rumour-spreading and that has happened. She and her friends have all read it and are doing their part to promote civilized behavior!...more info
  • Enlightening for Dad
    Simply put, I found the book to far exceed my expectations for it. As a male, the author's insights into girls' social roles and interactions were a huge eye-opener. And as the father of three girls, I appreciate all the examples of specific situations girls may find themselves in, how their thinking/social conditioning may have contributed, and how they can extricate themselves.

    As others have noted, the author's presentation is non-judgmental, and she makes great use of first-hand accounts to introduce or support the discussion, not as trite filler.

    This book will go on my shelf as an irreplaceable "field guide to my daughters, their friends and their social habits"....more info
  • too much talk, not enough science
    I bought this book after watching "Mean Girls," and thought it would be interesting to see where this movie came from. It did pull from the book's episodes, but I expected the book to expand upon the movie, not for the movie having pulled from it verbatim.
    I am not a parent, but do qualify to read the book based on the fact I used to be a teenage girl -- a "target" in those years, but does not make me a figure of pity. That experience actually made me stronger and better able to empathize, as Wiseman correctly predicts.
    It seemed to me that the book is giving parents a "recipe" on how to raise a teenage girl. "Tell her she's pretty, if she feels fat" etc, but it misses the point in my estimation. What it should have said is -- dear daughter, these evil "queen bees" is a personality type you will encounter your entire life and the other lesson is these people you are struggling with now, if you go after what you want, they won't matter one bit very shortly after high school ends.
    I can speak from my own personal experience. Reading the book, I recognized every "Queen Bee," "Messenger" etc that I ever encountered. But, I also realized that those people don't matter one bit to me now. They didn't stop me from going after what I want, or becoming what I wanted to become. They are just in the past now. Just because you get labeled a loser by the Queen Bees, doesn't mean you actually are one, and it shouldn't stop you from becoming who you are supposed to become.
    That important lesson is missing from the book. As is any kind of analysis or even mention of the science behind teenagers acting this way. It is more dominant personalities that lead to Queen Bees, or is it something else? The book never goes into this. It starts strong, with the naming and classification of castes of people we all encounter during high school. Then it goes into this "how to be a cool parent" thing. It does go into how to deal with cliques, but it doesn't go into how to get rid of them, or how to teach both the queen bee and the target how to get along. Maybe even be friends.
    Overall, a fair book, but too much psychobabble, and not enough explanation of this type of behavior. But, it did get made into a very funny movie. Highly recommend that one....more info


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