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This Full House

This Full House

5.0 1
by Virginia Euwer Wolff

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LaVaughn has made it through the projects, she’s gottenover heartbreak, she’s grown up, and now she might finally have her ticket to college. She believes that she’s keeping alert to all possibilities. But discoveries she makes during her senior year in high school disturb everything in her small universe. And in an effort to bring together people


LaVaughn has made it through the projects, she’s gottenover heartbreak, she’s grown up, and now she might finally have her ticket to college. She believes that she’s keeping alert to all possibilities. But discoveries she makes during her senior year in high school disturb everything in her small universe. And in an effort to bring together people who should love each other, she jeopardizes the one prize she has sought her whole life long.

When do you know whether you’re doing the right thing? What happens when you can’t find a way to make lemonade out of lemons?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Fans of Make Lemonade and True Believer have been eager for the final episode of this verse trilogy, to see where Wolff takes her protagonist, LaVaughn. For a while it seems as if LaVaughn's good heart and tenacity have been cleanly rewarded: she wins a spot in a highly selective program for underprivileged girls planning on careers in medical science. Although focused on her future, she remains acutely aware of others' struggles: her friend Annie gets pregnant; she learns that Jolly, the single mother whose children she babysits, was abandoned in infancy; and she regrets spurning brilliant Patrick ("And I never found out if he forgave me/ for being mean and childish and not noticing I was"). Even Dr. Moore, the inspiring woman who founded the medical science program, turns out to have a blistering secret in her past. Struggling to "act according to your conscience/ even when you don't want to," LaVaughn finds herself in murky ethical waters when Wolff contrives a very big coincidence for her to address. The steady, sympathetic characterizations more than compensate for the unlikely plot twist, however, and the trilogy closes warmly, sagely and, yes, even triumphantly. Ages 14-up. (Jan.)

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VOYA - Chris Carlson
In the third installment of the Make Lemonade trilogy, LaVaughn is now a senior in high school. Responsibilities increase as she juggles doing well in school, working at the children's hospital, supporting her friend Annie through her pregnancy, and babysitting for Jolly's children while Jolly completes her GED. When LaVaughn is chosen to participate in a program for poor girls interested in a career in medicine, she meets the charismatic Dr. Moore. Circumstances lead LaVaughn to suspect that Dr. Moore might be Jolly's mother. After enlisting her friend Patrick to confirm it by DNA samples LaVaughn collects without their knowledge, LaVaughn jeopardizes both her friendship with Jolly and her future in Dr. Moore's program. But the story ends happily with LaVaughn's acceptance into a city college, a new boyfriend, and Jolly's reluctant acceptance of Dr. Moore as her mother. Although the description of how LaVaughn secures a DNA analysis somewhat stretches credibility, this book is definitely a satisfying read. LaVaughn's desire to make a difference in the lives of her friends is the strong voice that carries the story, although the supporting cast is equally well defined, giving readers a better understanding into the plight of the urban poor. Wolff's use of free verse somehow makes the struggles of the characters seem less harsh. Underlying the plot is an exploration on how easy it is to love yet how difficult it can be to forgive. Readers who have come to care about the characters will find a fitting and optimistic end to the trilogy. Reviewer: Chris Carlson
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up

The third verse novel finds narrator LaVaughn in her senior year of high school. She is still determined to have a career in the sciences, despite the fact that her underfunded public school has run-down lab equipment, the teens in her neighborhood never consider higher education, and her subtle but persistent belief that those who succeed are somehow fundamentally better than she is. Characters from the previous books are reintroduced. Jolly, the young mother for whom LaVaughn has become a babysitter and near kin, is working on her GED and dating a man who seems willing to stick around. Annie, LaVaughn's hyperreligious childhood friend, has become pregnant by her hypocritical youth group leader. Awkward Patrick, with whom LaVaughn studied science during the summer, earns her jealousy by attending a new school with access to the university's state-of-the-art facilities. LaVaughn also faces a new challenge when she is accepted into Women in Medical Science, a local hospital's rigorous after-school enrichment program for underprivileged girls. Wolff's language is rich and poetic, using scientific words like "tibia" and "deoxyriboneucleic acid" to both intellectual and aesthetic effect. LaVaughn's emotions, from fear to joy to disbelief, are palpable and realistic. The story falters a bit when a major plot contrivance strains credibility and diminishes what is otherwise an inspiring, relatable tale of perseverance, forgiveness, and family.-Megan Honig, New York Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
The long-awaited conclusion to the trilogy begun with 1993's Make Lemonade delivers on its promise. More than a year has passed since the events of True Believer (2001), and two summers of Summer Science have taught LaVaughn more than she ever could have learned at her underfunded inner-city school. Now she's studying after school at WIMS: Women in Medical Science, a program created by Dr. Moore, an inner-city success story who's returned to give poor girls the support she never had. LaVaughn works hard at WIMS, dreaming of one day becoming a nurse. But though LaVaughn is indebted to the program, she has suspicions about Dr. Moore's history, suspicions that lead her into the conflict between what's right and what's necessary. In heartbreaking free-verse chapters, LaVaughn discovers that helpful adults are not perfect and that forgiveness is necessary even for the unforgivable. Despite the book's oversimplification of religion and a conclusion that would seem pat if it were not so emotionally right, this portrayal of the dignity of poverty is quite the tearjerker. The audacity of hope, indeed. (Fiction. 13-15)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.11(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

Virginia Euwer Wolff is the distinguished author of six books for young readers. Her books have won the National Book Award, the Michael L. Printz Honor, the Golden Kite Award, the International Reading Association Children's Book Award, the Jane Addams Book Award, the PEN-West Book Award, and the Oregon Book Award, among many other honors. Critics have called make lemonade and true believer, the previous two books in this trilogy, "triumphant" (School Library Journal), "transcendent" (ALA Booklist), and "groundbreaking" (Publishers Weekly). Virginia Euwer Wolff lives and works in Oregon City, Oregon.

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This Full House 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
THIS FULL HOUSE is the conclusion to the MAKE LEMONADE trilogy by Virginia Euwer Wolff. It will be on store shelves in January of 2009. It has been fifteen years since the first book about LaVaughn and Jolly. Having just finished the Advanced Reader's Copy of THIS FULL HOUSE, I can say it was worth the wait.

High school student LaVaughn and single mother Jolly first met in MAKE LEMONADE. LaVaughn reluctantly took on the job of babysitter to Jolly's two young children. Watching Jolly struggle as a single, teen mother makes LaVaughn realize the importance of getting an education and making something of herself. What followed was TRUE BELIEVER and even more experience watching and helping Jolly make ends meet for her little family.

THIS FULL HOUSE provides a satisfying conclusion and a hopeful future for both LaVaughn and Jolly.

An interest in science and medicine along with a determination to attend college gives LaVaughn the encouragement to apply for a program designed to give girls like her a unique opportunity. The program, WIMS - Women in Medical Science - is run by Dr. Moore. She has dedicated her life to medicine and wants to offer other girls the chance to thrive and succeed, as well. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, LaVaughn has the privilege of attending lectures and working in labs to study and learn the science that has always fascinated her.

LaVaughn's life is filled with the WIMS classes, her own final high school classes, a job in the hospital laundry, watching Jolly's two kids while Jolly studies for her G.E.D., and juggling anything else that comes her way. With the encouragement of those around her, LaVaughn is beginning to think college might actually be in her future.

However, the constant desire to help her friend Jolly find the answers to her mysterious past are about to possibly derail the future she has fought so hard to plan. LaVaughn thinks she might have found the long-missing mother Jolly so desperately needs and wants in her life.

Those readers who have yet to discover this remarkable trilogy should stop by the library or bookstore and get their hands on a copy of MAKE LEMONADE. Meeting LaVaughn and Jolly in that first book will bring readers back until they reach the conclusion in THIS FULL HOUSE.

It was definitely a story worth waiting for.