Virginia Euwer Wolff achieves a great deal in Make Lemonade. She paints a picture of two families in poverty going in drastically different directions; LaVaughn is poor but has a plan for life and a mother who supports her. Jolly has no one but her children, and lives from one day to the next. Wolff creates in Jolly a character who is sympathetic and frustrating at the same time. She shows the tension between LaVaughn’s responsibility to herself and her desire to help others.
Amidst all this, Wolff uses language that is both artful and accessible. Written in verse, Make Lemonade feels like poetry but is not at all stilted. Each line flows into the next, but it’s clear that each line break is carefully chosen. Make Lemonade would be an excellent introduction to the verse novel for those who may be wary of the genre.
I would recommend Make Lemonade to readers who enjoy verse novels, as well as anyone looking for a story that is uplifting without being saccharine.
Book: Make Lemonade (Affiliate Link)
Author: Virginia Euwer Wolff
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Original Publication Date: 1993
Age Range: Young Adult
Source of Book: Library