Excerpt from Queen Bees & Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Queen Bees & Wannabes

Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends & Other Realities of Adolescence

by Rosalind Wiseman

Queen Bees & Wannabes
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2002, 352 pages
    Mar 2003, 352 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Once I figured this out, I got busy. I created the Empower curriculum to address the connection between girls' friendships and vulnerability. I love what I do. I love the feeling when I first walk into a classroom with a group of girls and tell them that all we're going to talk about is their friendships, enemies, reputations, and popularity. They look at each other in disbelief. There's an immediate buzz in the room—we're going to talk about a juicy secret. Are they really going to get to talk about this stuff? Once we get going, it's hard to stop.

As I enter Girl World, talking with girls in school hallways, cafeterias, and teaching in their schools, Girl Scout troops, athletic teams, and church groups, something becomes clear. In trying to prepare girls for adolescence, adults are failing. We refuse to see what's really going on in their lives. We trivialize and dismiss these experiences as teen drama. Adolescence is a time when social hierarchies are powerfully and painfully reinforced every moment of every day. Girls can be each other's pillars of support and saviors, but they can also do horrible things to each other—and the lessons they learn from one another set all of them up for worse experiences in the future.

Almost as often as I talk to girls, I talk to their parents. I often feel like a translator between girls and parents; an ambassador who shuttles between Girl World and Planet Parent, two fiefdoms with different languages and rules. Why is the communication between these two worlds so lousy? For many parents, the need to deny that their little girl is growing up so fast can make it difficult to listen to what their daughter is really saying. The first hint that their daughter is sexually maturing can fill parents with an anxiety that only widens the communication gap with their daughter—at the very time when the daughter needs guidance the most. The other reason is parents don't like to admit to themselves that their daughters could be mean, exclusive, and catty—or, on the other end of the spectrum, isolated and teased. Parents so often see their daughter's behaviors as a reflection of the success or failure of their parenting that they refuse to look at their daughters for who they really are. On the other hand, girls are renegotiating their relationship with their parents at a time of maximum change and confusion. One moment they can be impossibly distant and sneaky, wanting and demanding to be treated as adults; two seconds later they're clingy and scared, insisting that their parents psychically divine that now they want to be treated like little girls again.

This book will ask you to see the world through your daughter's eyes. It'll ask you to acknowledge and respect the environment she interacts with every day. You may not want to know everything about Girl World, but if you want your daughter to realize her full potential, have a sure sense of herself, and be happy and safe, knowing her world is paramount.

Most chapters will begin with a thorough analysis and description of a different aspect of Girl World. Next, in the "Checking Your Baggage" section, I'll challenge you to answer a few questions about your experiences when you were your daughter's age, because understanding your own biases and preconceptions can show you how they've affected your behavior toward your daughter. Then I'll give you specific, step-by-step strategies to help her.

For further assistance, I've asked girls to take an active role in the development of this book. I've shown multiple drafts of every chapter to girls of different ages, races, cultures, communities, and socioeconomic levels. They've helped me fill in missing perspectives, pushed me to delve more deeply into certain issues, and offered their "political commentary," which you'll find throughout the book. They've anonymously shared personal stories, feelings, and opinions—all to help you know how to reach out to your daughter in the best possible way.

Excerpted from Queen Bees & Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman Copyright© 2002 by Rosalind Wiseman. Excerpted by permission of Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.