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A bully a wedding and a larger than life family add up to a hilarious and heartfelt middle grade novelMary Margaret Miller is going to be a junior bridesmaid that is if she isn't grounded for the rest of her life She's feuding with school bully Brent Helzinski and her cousin Eden aka The Bride is clashing with her grandmother about wedding plans Mary knows it's her job as a junior bridesmaid to make the day run smoothly but she sure could use a little help from above


10 thoughts on “A Patron Saint for Junior Bridesmaids

  1. says:

    If you were raised Catholic and particularly inundated with patron saints this is a fun book for you However the story is so sweet and solid that even if you are not familiar with the Catholic parts you will enjoy the zany full of love family and the uestions of honestyassertiveness that are presented within the bookI fell in love with Mary the protagonist and her internal dialogues about trying to live up to her own sainthood of sorts I love characters and there is a nice panorama of them in this book Hard issues like having to move for economic reasons losing faith in God when a loved one dies social anxiety and are handled tenderly and without preaching This book is a winner


  2. says:

    Mary's cousin Eden is getting married and she's been named a junior bridesmaid It's exciting but also nervewracking There isn't a patron saint for junior bridesmaids so how will she know the best way to help Eden?This is such a sweet fun story I loved Mary and her super crazy and super close family They're also Catholic and Mary especially takes saints very seriously My knowledge of Catholicism isn't very good so I loved learning about it If you want a laugh out loud middlegrade this is for youI also really want to read Shelley Tougas' backlist now


  3. says:

    This was thoroughly entertaining It's rare to have an exploration of spirituality and religion so neatly served up with humor and heartMary Margaret's family is struggling a hardware chain has forced the closing of their family owned hardware store and her dad has moved from Minnesota to North Dakota for work Her mom is working long hours at a gas stationconvenience store and then trying to find work and a new home with their dad Luckily they have lots of family support and Mary Margaret and her brother Luke can move in with their grandmother but that support comes with its own complicationsThe plot starts off with big news Cousin Eden is getting married The entire family including Eden's parents is notified of the impending wedding via email because Eden suffers from social anxiety disorder and doesn't like to talk to large groups of people Luckily this news eclipses the fact that Mary Margaret despite being named Minnesota Church Youth Group Member of the Year has gotten detention for punching a classmate in the face In alternating chapters Mary Margaret keeps insisting that she does NOT want to talk about Brent Helzinki Finally also via email Eden asks Mary Margaret to serve as her junior and only bridesmaid And thus begins Mary Margaret's challenging summer protecting the fragile Eden from stress and anxiety mainly consisting of their steamroller grandmother's fixation on a spectacular wedding Also somehow Mary Margaret has to keep her grandmother from finding out that her little brother never made his first communion their hard working mom didn't have time to take him to classes while living under her roof The summer unfolds with entries in her Patron Saint notebook because unlike God they might actually listen to her prayers conversations with her grandmother's cute Vietnamese American neighbor Unitarian Nick who uestions her Catholic beliefs choosing wedding dresses and cakes and getting to know Eden better We find out what happened with Brent Helzinki and it's not exactly what you might think By the end of the summer both Mary Margaret and Eden find ways to stand up for themselves in this close demanding and ultimately loving familyThe handling of Eden's disability is respectful and matter of fact Mary Margaret's faith is very important to her but she is open about her uestions and doubts and willing to consider other points of view She's a funny and feisty character who comes into her own over the course of the story Highly recommended


  4. says:

    I’m not a Catholic but loved this book and it’s conceptMary is going to be a Junior Bridesmaid on top of that she is also moving and her family who had a hardware store is closing She has a lot to pray about Instead of getting God involved over her petty problems she has decided to ask the help of Saints So this book opened my eyes there is a Saint for almost anything And pray she does are they listening? Maybe it seems to be going as planned maybe? Anyway this was a fun uirky book Very refreshing from the steamy young love and teen angst


  5. says:

    E ARC from Edelweiss above the TreelineMary Margaret Miller is trying to deflect attention from herself by getting her mom excited about cousin Eden's wedding mainly because Mary punched Brett The two had been having problems all year and even though Mary is usually a good kid she couldn't take their bickering any Her mother forgives her soon enough because her father is already working in North Dakota after the family's Minnesota hardware store had to close Mary's mother is going to spend the summer trying to find a job and Mary and her younger brother are going to stay with Eden and her family to help plan the wedding Mary's grandmother is VERY excited and is planning something huge and festive Eden is less thrilled with the idea since she suffers from social anxiety Mary tries to keep her grandmother happy while looking out for Eden's best interests all while worrying about her own family situation and feeling bad about what happened with BrettStrengths This was a fairly happy book despite the various problems I loved the VERY supportive family and the depiction of Eden and her interactions Mary is a singular character but very well meaning typically middle school and uite realistic I also like the budding romance with the neighbor boy as well as the twist involved in the story with Brett Since I have 37 cousins mostly older on my mother's side of the family I could definitely identify with the family wedding plansWeaknesses Mary's family is VERY Catholic I grew up in a largely Catholic community and never met anyone uite so devout or interested in saints so that part seemed somewhat unrealistic I think readers will see this as a window into Mary's world instead of a mirror of their own which is fine Pair this with Every Single Second for the future nuns among your patronsWhat I really think I think the wedding planning and family angle will appeal to readers so I will buy a copy


  6. says:

    I think this book was pretty interesting it was funny The main character was a girl named Mary and she is Catholic Sometimes in this book I am really shocked about Mary's actions it the book because she's Catholic and she would follow Catholic rule right? WRONG Mary is just so WOW You will never read a book with a character like Mary The author made her one of a kind The one thing I don't like is that the book keeps switching and switching to new problems and goes back to solutions and it's all crazy Overall though I think it would be a good book for maybe 6th grade and 7th grade


  7. says:

    35A cute funny story Though Mary's Catholicism is emphasized in the reviews I read I feel like this book was written for people who don't know much about Catholicism rather than explicitly for a Catholic audience A good light hearted clean read


  8. says:

    Mary Margaret Miller is thrilled to serve as junior bridesmaid to her older cousin Eden But while she takes her duties seriously she's also dealing with an impending move from Minnesota to North Dakota her mother's proclivity for lying to her grandmother and her own part in a long standing war with class bully Brent Helzinski The author has captured the essence of a young girl torn between good intentions and the anger that roils through her veins Even though Mary knows the proper way to behave she also nurses deep seated resentment at the family's loss of its livelihood a hardware store that has been in the family for generations but has been closed due to the arrival of a chain store that put them out of business While her mother joins her father in the Dakotas to look for a job Mary goes to stay with her Eden's family She meets a friendly neighbor named Nick who helps her pass time pleasantly even while she tries to deal with her grandmother's rigid rules and insistence on an over the top wedding something Eden is not interested in at all The Millers are a very strict Catholic family and Mary begins to uestion her faith when her prayers aren't answered Intermediate and middle grade readers may enjoy this one with its brief references to social anxiety disorder which Eden and her groom have as well as its exploration of strong faith and a focus on various patron saints something that intrigues Mary The insertion of various pages in which the protagonist expresses annoyance at Brent her nemesis and the revelation of what happened to cause her to punch him in the nose add to the pleasures of reading this one and offer some surprises and insights into both Brent and Mary Watching Eden cope with her own anxieties and her well meaning but extremely controlling grandmother and Mary trying to properly play the role of junior bridesmaid was highly entertaining and the perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday morning Although there are plenty of loose ends kept flying readers will be glad to have met this feisty girl whose behavior like most of us is a mix of both good bad and in between There isn't so much wedding detail that those not interested in that sort of thing will be bored but there is enough to hold readers' interest while highlighting the conflict between the wedding plans of Eden and her grandmother We've all been in her shoes after all torn between making a big deal about what we really want or keeping the peace and remaining silent For me it's the little details here that make the story work well; for instance the battle over foods and cultures waged between her German grandmother and her Irish uncle provides plenty of humor


  9. says:

    Shelley Tougas writes such believable kids it's impressive and yet because she' so great at it I think it's an overlooked skill The most highly skilled people make the hard work look easyNo one believes that Mary's cousin Eden is getting married but Mary's not going to look an offer to be a junior bridesmaid in the mouth Not to mention it distracts from her being disciplined at school for hitting a boy Brent Not that her mother needs a lot of distracting lately with her father having moved to North Dakota for work and her mother hanging on as a single parent with a low paying job so Mary and her brother can finish out the school year she's pretty distracted most of the time But it finally is the end of the school year and Mary and her brother are going to live with their Grandmother and Eden while their mom heads to North Dakota to look for a job and a place for them to all liveMary throws herself into being a good bridesmaid And one of the first thing she learns is that her job is to make the bride's life easier And considering that Eden has crippling social anxiety as does her fiance which is how they met in a support group Mary knows that trying to help mitigate the giant fancy wedding their grandmother is planning that Eden doesn't want should be her number one goal But she doesn't want to hurt their grandmother's feelings either and she's a very formidable woman who basically always gets her way Mary has found praying to Patron Saints a lot easier lately but she can't find a patron saint for junior bridesmaids so she's having to navigate a lot of tricky waters with her family not to mention the cute boy down the street soloThis is a great middle grade book because it's not chock filled with Big Issues Don't get me wrong it's not a light fluffy novel with nothing at all bad it's just not dark or depressing and things work out in the end The reason that Mary punched the boy in her class and the aftermath of that is by far the most compelling story although it's by no means the main storyline It's really nice to see Eden dealing with her anxiety in productive ways and actively working to get better and it's nice to see a positive and empowering story with that particular issue Mary has a close loving family whose biggest problem is that they tell white lies to spare each others' feelings and there's a bit of an internal fightjoke about whether Irish or German food is better I especially liked the neighborhood boy who is a love interest that never really gets off the ground but as a Unitarian opens Mary's eyes a bit to her own Catholic faith and to the wider world around her


  10. says:

    Interesting combination of themes Religion Anxiety Weddings Something for everyoneMary tries to be a good Catholic girl She knows her saints and keeps a record of her prayers Then she ruins her perfect record by hauling off and hitting the class bully On the same day she learns that her cousin Eden is getting married and wants her to be the junior bridesmaid Her mother deals half heartedly with both issues then runs off to North Dakota to support their dad in his new job Meanwhile Mary and her brother Luke are off to spend the summer with Eden and her family This puts Mary smack dab in the middle of the wedding planning frenzy Eden's anxiety has her dreading the idea of a big wedding but their grandmother wants nothing less Marriage is one of the sacraments after allMary's family tows the Catholic line The best example is when Mary's mother goes to great lengths to keep her grandmother from finding out Luke never had his 1st communion This backfires when Luke tries to maintain the lie by taking part in communion anyway then regrets it and spits out the wafer Mary then feels compelled to hide the half chewed wafer because you can't throw away the body of Christ Like any teen in a religious family Mary has uestions but her science minded friend Nick has her on the defensiveThere aren't too many books that tackle the Catholic religion in this way so this definitely fills a niche Eden's anxiety is portrayed well and many tweens will relate to some of her examples of anxiety causing situations The wedding planning is also portrayed well Choosing dresses Tasting cakes Bridal shower games There's a lot to take in The characters are interesting Mary is introspective and often humorous about it Her mother is loving but distracted Her grandmother is concerned with tradition and has a type A personality I like how the author effectively weaves the punching incident throughout story A nice tween girl read