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The Queen Bee and Me

The Queen Bee and Me is a novel for Middle School girls which is simply written but encompasses many concepts and themes. As an adult reader I thoroughly enjoyed the whole story and read the ending with breath held. It needed to be real and true; and it was. The story revolves around the complexities of relationships at school, and how they change as maturity and understanding grows.

Meg is a girl in year seven, who is surrounded by a loving family. Mum, Dad, brother Conrad and baby Elsie, who loves wearing purple princess shoes. Meg has been best friends with Beatrix since they were in kindy together. Beatrix is a leader and a strong, confident girl; her mother has a great deal of power in the small town. At the beginning of the new school year, Meg has been placed in the advanced science class with a favourite teacher. On the first day in this class a new girl arrives. She is friendly and polite, but her dress most certainly doesn’t conform to the standards of the other girls. She has bees sewn on her jumper and socks. Hazel is a bee lover. Meg is terrified of bees.

Hazel sits with Meg, and they are both enjoying the challenge of the class. However, Beatrix dislikes Hazel instantly and arranges for the group to ostracise her which causes Meg to feel threatened by this behaviour. She feels she must work out solutions but meanwhile, there is the joint project she and Hazel are working on. Environmental issues surrounding bees are well described, and while learning about the life of bees, the many threats to them become ever more apparent.

The Queen Bee and Me is a steady, realistic snapshot of young people today, how they consolidate their personal values, and how vital that quiet nurturing background is for this progress to occur. Books like The Queen Bee and Me can aid that progress.

Author Gillian McDunn
Publisher Bloomsbury Children's Books
ISBN 9781547605729
Distributor Bloomsbury Children's Books
Released July 2021