Queen Bees and Wannabes

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“My daughter used to be so wonderful. Now I can barely stand her and she won’t tell me anything. How can I find out what’s going on?”

“There’s a clique in my daughter’s grade that’s making her life miserable. She doesn’t want to go to school anymore. Her own supposed friends are turning on her, and she’s too afraid to do anything. What can I do?”

Welcome to the wonderful world of your daughter’s adolescence. A world in which she comes to school one day to find that her friends have suddenly decided that she no longer belongs. Or she’s teased mercilessly for wearing the wrong outfit or having the wrong friend. Or branded with a reputation she can’t shake. Or pressured into conforming so she won’t be kicked out of the group. For better or worse, your daughter’s friendships are the key to enduring adolescence—as well as the biggest threat to her well-being.

In her groundbreaking book, Queen Bees and Wannabes, Empower cofounder Rosalind Wiseman takes you inside the secret world of girls’ friendships. 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 respond to boys, and how they feel about themselves. In this candid, insightful book, she dissects each role in the clique: Queen Bees, Wannabes, Messengers, Bankers, Targets, Torn Bystanders, and more. She discusses girls’ power plays, from birthday invitations to cafeteria seating arrangements and illicit parties. She takes readers into “Girl World” to analyze teasing, gossip, and reputations; beauty and fashion; alcohol and drugs; boys and sex; and more, and how cliques play a role in every situation.

Each chapter includes “Check Your Baggage” sections to help you identify how your own background and biases affect how you see your daughter. “What You Can Do to Help” sections offer extensive sample scripts, bulleted lists, and other easy-to-use advice to get you inside your daughter’s world and help you
help her.

It’s not just about helping your daughter make it alive out of junior high. This book will help you understand how your daughter’s relationship with friends and cliques sets the stage for other intimate relationships as she grows and guides her when she has tougher choices to make about intimacy, drinking and drugs, and other hazards. With its revealing look into the secret world of teenage girls and cliques, enlivened with the voices of dozens of girls and a much-needed sense of humor, Queen Bees and Wannabes will equip you with all the tools you need to build the right foundation to help your daughter make smarter choices and empower her during this baffling, tumultuous time of life.

From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews:

  • 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
  • Maybe that's what school was like for her...
    but, honestly, the book is a very over-dramatic version of what teenaged girls are like, as far as my experience has been (I'm eighteen now and in college). I can honestly say that the most popular girls at my school were intelligent, friendly, personable young women who were popular because we all liked them (and, no, I wasn't one of them). I'll be the first to admit that it's a great read--lots of interesting and funny stories--but, seriously, it's completely the opposite of my memories of middle and high school. The book always made me worry that I was "evil," since according to Ms. Wiseman, only the meanest girl in the class says that everyone pretty much gets along and hangs out with her friend, but that's honestly how school was for me, and I was nothing like a "queen bee."

    It's not a bad book to remind girls how to behave, but for moms? This book will scare you for no real reason. Most of the girls I knew in high school had their heads on straight and are doing well at college now. I think that Ms. Wiseman is projecting her own bad memories of school and popularity on everyone else....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
  • 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
  • Beyond Ophelia
    "She just acts like that because she's insecure." What girl or former girl hasn't heard or said these words about the Really Mean Girl? What no one told us is that while this teen-level psychobabble may have its basis in truth, 1) It doesn't stop her meanness from having a very real effect; and 2) Mean people can and do wield power. This is Wiseman (who should be called WiseWoman)'s point of departure.
    More power to Wiseman, who ventures beyond Ophelia. She doesn't simply bemoan the fact that our daughters are the victims of society, MTV, and peer pressure, leaving us parents feeling defeated before we've even begun. It was positively uplifting to read that the girls know quite well that they're being manipulated by the media to aspire to impossible standards (read: buy lotsa makeup and clothing), but they nevertheless try. That piece of information alone was, if not empowering, revealing and even encouraging.
    I also applaud Wiseman's stating openly that breasts are power. Most material on this subject weighs in on the side of the woes of the early developer. As a late developer, I can testify to the fact that whatever an early developer has to face, breasts undeniably equal power, and corollarily, the lack of them equals powerlessness.
    I actually found the material on how to communicate with and stay on top of your daughter more valuable than the analysis of cliques. As a matter of fact, the clique thing actually gave me insight into the phenomenon in my place of work, and believe me, it exists, right here in Woman World.
    The "turning homophobia on its head" and explanations of Act Like a Woman / Man are also highlights. Simply put, Queen Bee is mind-blowing for both girls and former girls. Way to go, Wiseman....more info
  • Interesting read but a little bias
    It was written well, and with good intentions but I think the book dramatizes adolescence. I found some of the information to be true to some degree, but as a 13 year old I cared about a lot more than which friend to please.

    The author admits that she is basing this on feedback that she has recieved while teaching an empowerment class for teens. This means that it is certainly bias information - only those with problems reporting. It is statistically unsound.

    I also feel as though it pigeonholed a lot of girls. It informed parents that your child will drink and do drugs, and that her relationships will only last two weeks in high school, and if they don't she's already offered up a detailed reason as to why they will break up in the future. I can't speak for everyone, but I didn't party at all in high school, I was capable of and had a serious relationship in high school (that did not end via her reason) and know couples around my age who are married and had started dating in high school. This is true for some of my relatives, and some of my friends' parents.

    I'm reading this book as a 20 year old music education major. I'm interested in adolescent psychology and thought that it would be a good read. There is definitly some validity to it, but there is some hype too. If you're raising a daughter read it if you're interested, but don't stick to it like its all-knowing....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
  • 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
  • Real, Accurate and Practical
    I'm a therapist with over 22 years' experience working with teens, and I thought this book was fantastic. It was obvious that Wiseman has spent a great deal of time with teens. Her descriptions are accurate and fit totally with what I see in my practice every day. I recommend this book to all parents and grandparents of teens, and anyone who works with teens in a volunteer or professional postion. Parents will find it practical and specific. Professionals will find it instructive. Good work, Ms. Wiseman. The kids you work with are lucky to know you....more info
  • Well-written but...
    The most interesting thing about reading a book like this is seeing how much the author's own experiences seem to color her perception. She says she was a girl w/an abusive boyfriend who struggled to be part of the popular mainstream white girl clique of her school -- and most of her advice is aimed at girls who want to be in, are in, or are teased by popular mainstream white girl cliques. Even as a white girl myself, I find this to be a bit narrow-minded. She also lists the "roles" that girls take on in cliques, and the "types" of girls that exist in high school...most of which apparently only fit girls in city neighborhoods who conform to mainstream social standards. A majority of the girls I knew in high school (I'm in my 20s) do not even fit into any of the categories she's defined (ironically, not even the popular ones, who in my school were athletic, accelerated-class, friendly girls of several different enthicities).

    She does write well from the parent's point of view, as an adult who knows what the fears and desires of parents are.

    Another thing the author writes about REALLY WELL in this book is what to do about abuse and harrassment. She does understand what it means to be attacked on a daily basis at one's school, and has some thoughtful things to say about getting out of such situations. But beyond that, the book mostly feels like a way for her to talk about those high school experiences she personally never got over. Skipping most of her comments and reading just the letters, etc. by teenage girls might be more insightful. But keep in mind that those letters seem to be skewed by the author's own biases i.e. she seems to have chosen only letters from girls who fit her narrow definitions of what teenage girls are. (She does, at least, admit to knowing very little about teens in non-white, non-mainstream circles; instead of making up for this by bringing in other authors who might know more, she gives a couple of paragraphs and some short letters over to the subject and then drops it completely.)

    And as someone who's spent most of her life surrounded by guys, I have to say that her perceptions on men are somewhat skewed (in spite of her efforts to quote books written about the subject of teenage boys). She sees them from the outside-in and as a result, some of her advice about dealing with them isn't very useful...but rather comes off as condescending and sometimes a little sexist. Is there irony in that?...more info
  • A MUST Read if You Are Raising a Daughter
    Rosalind Wiseman did one fantastic job to help parents understand, relate, speak to and deal with the difficulties that arise with daughters, particularly during the teen and young adult years. This book brings you fantastic suggestions on healthy communication, breaking down barriers, how to relate to your daughter, how to discuss sexual preferences, as well as pivotal information for parents to remember what their lives were like at the age their daughter is now, and how to "check your own baggage" so you can grow beyond judgment and criticism, and move into a healthy, loving, compassionate relationship with your daughter.

    No matter what your daughter is going through, there is phenomenal insight in this book that will only help to enhance your relationship with her, and help her to gain the highest self-esteem, so she can be who she authentically is, rather than seek to "follow" the crowd. You will be far better equipped to help your daughter navigate through the challenges she faces, and her perceptions, doubts, and uncertainties during this period of her life by reading this book.

    Also provides are wonderful suggested movies, great websites and organizations, suggested reading, and valuable resources.

    A Fantastic Read that Deserves 10 Stars!
    Barbara Rose, author of "Stop Being the String Along: A Relationship Guide to Being THE ONE" and 'If God Was Like Man'
    Editor of inspire! magazine
    ...more info
  • A "must read" for every parent!!!
    It can be painful to look back honestly at your junior high and high school experiences. But it will better enable you to help your children navigate through those emotionally turbulent years. Rosalind Wiseman has the personal and professional experience to guide any reader to a better understanding of the pitfalls and landmines on this journey. She offers not only her words, but the words of many 11-21 year olds that are currently in the trenches. Very interesting, very insightful, and seemingly dead on target. A surprisingly easy read although the subject matter is almost gruesome at times, in the degree of painful insight it offers. ...more info
  • High Marks
    Teen years aren't what they used to be. Now kids contend with cliques, drugs, alcohol, peer pressure - all on a scale we never had to. QUEEN BEES AND WANNABES is an eye openning book. It's as eye openning as the first time I read MY FRACTURED LIFE and WHAT IT TAKES TO PULL ME THROUGH. Well recommeded to read the three in tandum for a full insight into the here and now of the pressures and temptations facing kids today....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
  • A great book for moms of preteen girls
    This book was such an eye opener. It helped me to not only understand where my girls are right now but also helped me understand some of the things I experienced as a girl in middle and highschool. I think every mother of a preteen daughter should read this book....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
  • 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
  • A must read!
    If you have a daughter currently in middle school, this is a must read before high school! ...more info
  • Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman
    As a thirteen-year old girl, I thought the book was really insightful an showed exactly what girls are going through in the world. The examples that she gives are accurate and she quotes from teenage girls.
    The book gives reliable advice for all ages of adolescence, and gives tips to coping with anything from bullying between girls to drugs and parties. I thought it was great and really recommend it, for not only parents, but other girls like me....more info
  • Sugar and Spice? More like Napalm and Hot Sauce!
    I survived eight years of single sex education (high school and college), and work in an industry populated by mostly women in office settings. I am here to tell you, it doesn't matter if you are a teenager in classes with other teenagers, or if you are in a multi-age group setting in an office - GIRLS / WOMEN ARE JEALOUS AND TWO FACED! As the movie Mean Girls was based on this book, it was more of a documentary than entertainment (although it was certainly both), and you realize how depressing it really is.

    Girls are mean. Period. No human female despite age, race, soci-economic backgrounds, value system, etc. is immune to the sociopathic tendancies that women are capable of. This is a good book for women to understand their peers and for mothers to understand what their daughters are going through. Traditionally, women were not taught until relatively recently that we are able to achieve the same things that men are. How we attained power was to cut each other in half with words. You as a woman must overcome jealousy and stop pitting one against the other.

    However, while this book gives sound advice as to how, why and what to do about the caddiness of girls / women, it can only give you good coping skills. The best way to handle these situations is to be nice, but not too nice to others. Don't let people get too close that they have ammunition to use against you. Believe me, if you have never experienced this before, you have no idea the lengths people will go to in order to cut you down. And, somewhat crazy as it may sound, I am a 33 year old woman whose closest friends are all men. Jealousy, emotion, and irrational behavior has cost me several women friends I've had over the years. It's rough sometimes, but, I guess I have no choice, do I?...more info
  • A snappy title, but not much else
    With my 12 year old now in middle school, I was anxious to read this book. It had such a cute and snappy title, and I was sure it would be chalk full of good info. Almost right away I was disappointed. At the beginning of the book the author happily tells us how her infant son thinks the automated swing in her home is his "mother", because he has spent so much time there while she was trying to finish her book. This turned me off in a big way---am I going to take parenting advice from a woman who gleefully babbles about neglecting her own baby? I think not. Also in the early chapters Wiseman talks about all of the pitfalls that a teenage girl faces but concludes (and I'm paraphrasing because I don't have the book in front of me), "but not to worry, because one day your daughter will become a totally cool adult." Totally cool? Like THAT is what I'm hoping for my daughter? What about independent, productive, self-supporting, kind, giving back to the community, moral, strong values, etc., etc. No, the goal evidently--according to Wiseman-- is for them to be "cool." At about this point I had had almost enough and just skimmed through a few more chapters which I didn't find especially interesting. I can't tell you how glad I was that I had taken this book out of the library and not actually spent money on it....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

  • Marketing Collateral
    So I bought the book in hopes of learning something about my 13-year-old daughter. What I found was the author's attempt to sell her program: "Empower." I would have been better served if she were more focused. I felt the book strayed--there was lots roll-playing which I believed to be a distraction. At this point I'm on the hunt for a book that will really be of benefit to me, my daughter, our relationship and her roll in her social circle....more info
  • Disappointed
    Just not that impressed with this book. The write-up was much better than the book itself. Superficial. Will be selling my copy as used....more info
  • Realistic and honest
    I am a 25 year-old girl who has experienced many of the situations cited in this book, either as the target or the bully. I grew up an overweight, unpopular, artsy little girl. In the 8th grade, I lost a ton of weight, grew, and my clothes became trendy. Needless to say, things changed. With one easy swoop, I went from victim to bully. Only now, as a (young) adult, I come to terms with both my nerdy, victim past and my mean girl high school years, with the help of this book. As other reviwers noted, most teenage girls will probbaly experience both sides of the scenario and often are a combination of the traits lised for each of the diff. person. types. As others noted with this book, there is no judgement imposed on the "mean girls". Most girls have "mean" moments, no matter how quiet, shy or unassuming, and I think Wiseman portrays this accurately. Sometimes, the worst bullying is from girls who simply follow others or stealthily do things, like not inviting someone out with a group of friends or not being honest because they're too "nice". I find it completely annoying that alot of the mothers/teachers/family friends/etc. who are commenting on here refuse to believe that their daughtes/students are not like that. ALL girls, or kids, are to some degree. It doesn't make them evil or not great kids. It makes them human. You can still be "hysterically funny, kind, emotional, creative and most of all INDIVIDUALS" as one reviwer wrote but still have mean girl moments. I don't think Wiseman oversimplifies. I think alot of the parents and teacher do in their reviews. Kids are much more complex than being good or bad. The mean girls need love too and have problems as well. I'd like to believe that some people are just mean and that's it but that's often not the case. Some are defensive or have family problems or are insecure or are being abused or may be depressed. Wiseman doesn't demonize anyone in this book, which I find great. In addition, to the reviewer who said she has no credentials and should not be writing about this, as a youngish adult woman, I'd rather have someone who knows what goes on and is close in age commenting on this stuff than someone who is out of touch....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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Every parent with a daughter needs this book
    Wow, if you are female this book will take you back in time and make you more compassionate towards your daugher. If you are a dad - you need to read this to realize what your daugher is going through. It is a quick read. I think my daughter apprecaites that I am reading this book. By the way it was suggested by her Dr. that I read it. ...more info
  • Good for understanding younger grades too
    Teen and Tweenie social lives can be a touchy subject for some. I'm a teacher, and I love kids, and I like all of the ones I deal with, whether they fit as "Queen Bees", "Wannabes" "Floaters" or any other little label.

    But still, I think as adults we tend to idealize kids, see the cute and innocent qualities, and tend to turn a bit of a blind eye to the politics between friends, and sometimes even to the attitudes of our students toward class outcasts. As adults, the way they behave can seem quaint, but for the kids themselves, grades 6-8 can be a hard time socially, and it doesn't make it any easier if teachers just turn a blind eye to it and shrug it off thinking "they'll grow out of it".

    On the flipside, I think adults that had a hard time during these grades themselves tend to want to brush it aside as "that was then, now I'm all grown-up, and I realize how silly all that was, and one day my daughter/students will too". As nice as that feels to say as an adult, it might not be very helpful to a 12-year-old who'll have to deal with school as her reality for 6 more years.

    Finally, a complaint I've heard about this book is that while it presents a depressing reality at times, it doesn't give much advice on what parents and educators can do, and the counselling advice is dismissed by some as being too preach or too idealistic.

    I think that this book is worth reading even if you don't intend to try a counselling approach right away. It could change yor attitudes to how you handle your class. Speaking as an elementary school teacher, what I've come to realize since I read this is that while you can't always cram everything you know and think down your students throats, sometimes just knowing what's going on and having an objective view of it can help you build a healthy classroom where everyone is appreciated and respected- the popular kids as well as the loners.

    For example, the author describes how when the popular girl in a fifth grade class gets paired up with a fat unpopular girl and has to hold her hand during a game in gym class, she feins digust and how all the other kids laugh. A lot of teachers blow this off as kids being kids and ignore it, but if your read this book you'll have a clearer idea of whats going on, and the pecking order that makes it allowable.

    I can't claim my classes are little social utopias now, with every kid and group in perfect harmony, but I CAN say that in the time since I've read this book, those types of situations happen much less if at all. The popular kids are still popular, but while I don't come right out with it and try to preach, subtly through the first few months there are different expectations on them about what makes a good person and what kind of attitudes will make them accepted and respected. The kids get along better, aren't embarrassed about being in other groups for work (Even if they'd prefer being with their friends), and most importantly, the shyer and more awkward kids are more comfortable to speak and participate, and begin to get along with the others and become more accepted.

    In short, the world of girls at this age is complicated and not an easy thing to deal with for anyone. But learning about it and having a clear view of it WILL help....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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • yikes
    This book is about how to talk to your daughters about things. The author gives horrible ways for you to sit down and talk. Ok and the situations don't happen in middle school or high school that happen in the book. Wiseman went to my cousins school for like 2 months and took the worst events and made them sound worse then they were. Now they are making a movie called "Mean Girls." The things the author tells is not at all helpful....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
  • 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
  • Great insight
    I bought this book because of the special features on the Mean Girls DVD (which is an awesome DVD), and really enjoyed the book. Wiseman eloquently described the horizontal violence that girls (and women) heap on each other. Usually it's not boy against girl which is he big problem, but girl on girl. Although the phrases and slang in the book are very time specific (they'll be outdated in time), the principles behind this book are timeless. Nothing's changed from generation to generation, although we like to think everything's improved. Although I'm not a parent, the author definitely gives great suggestions for parents in relating to their teenage daughters, the friends, and the friends' parents (also the enemies and their parents). My best friend, who is a parent of two girls in this age range), said it is a must read and that it is helping her with relationships with her daughters. I would recommend it to school professionals (that's another place it's geared), counselors, clergy (Christian or otherwise), and other people who work with teenage girls....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
  • 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
  • Unpleased with the service
    AS already knmown by know the baook that I ordered more than a month ago never arrived and actually a wrong book arrived through a third party seller that Amazone had assigned. The reason for their not sneding the book was they found out it was more costly than had been charged by Amazon!!

    These information was obtained through my persistant E- mailing to the book sellers.

    Final review is a thumb down....more info
    That review that came from the freshman at the all girls school HAS to be a Queen Bee! LOL! This Book is AMAZING! I wish my parents had read it! The world of teen girls is a dangerous place! I am 30 years old and still bear the scars! Wiseman really gives such a brilliant glimpse into the treacherous waters girls must swim in their teens. Of course you dont realize it until you are a grown up and it is wonderful that Ms Wiseman is giving parents the tools and tips to help our daughters through this time. My daughter is only 2! I am getting a head start because I think that some of this stuff is happening earlier and earlier. My 7 year old sister came home crying from 1st grade because her "Friends" were telling her she wasnt pretty and had hairy arms!!! So I am arming myself now!! Thank god there are books like this out there!i havent got a chance yet but Im going to check out the empower website too. I would love to help girls like that in our schools here. ...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
  • 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
  • A must-read to understand adolescent girls OR boys!
    Though this book is intended for parents, anyone who spends time with young people- mentors, teachers, program administrators, etc.- will benefit from the insights and detailed instructions contained in this highly readable volume!

    It is clear that Ms. Wiseman has done her homework. Working with diverse groups of teenagers for years myself and having been one not THAT long ago) I recognize and relate to the characters and conflicts she describes and value the advice she offers.

    If you've seen the movie, MEAN GIRLS, which was based on this book, you've gotten a small taste of what's addressed here- cliques, fads, teen politics, gossip, sex, and parental influence- but there's lots more!

    And for those of us who are raising boys to be honorable and respectful young men, Queen Bees and Wannabes is a terrific resource, too.

    I've often heard that there is no "manual" for raising kids. I respectfully disagree- there are MANY manuals for raising kids and this is the best one I've read dealing with adolescents and teens.

    READ it and encourage others to do so. The young people in your life will thank you for it!...more info
  • Not culturally sensitive
    This book is great if you come from WHITE AMERICA! I am sorry but I think we need authors who write books such as this to research more on other cultures rather than white suburban cities. Each culture is different when I comes to cliques, gossip and bullying in schools. It will be hard for me to apply this to my school since I am a counselor in a Native American community....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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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


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