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Love Me Tender

Touching mother-daughter tale for tweens.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The focus is on loving family members despite their mistakes, forgiving one another for past failings, and learning how to communicate better.

Not applicable

A family discusses how a parent was upset that a woman was having a child outside of marriage.


A mother threatens her kids often, but it's understood that they are empty threats.


Few references to products including one mention of Coke and talks about Elvis.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there isn't anything objectionable here. There's discussion of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and possible divorce, however the majority of the book deals with the complicated relationships that occur between family members. This is a good novel for families dealing with a major shift in female relationship dynamics.

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What's the story?

Elvira is stuck in a crazy family. Her dad dresses up like Elvis for singing gigs, her mother just announced she's pregnant again, and her 8-year-old sister is a pain in the rear. Just when she thought things couldn't get worse, her dad takes off for an Elvis competition in Vegas and her mother receives an urgent call from her family -- a family she hasn't spoken to in years. Elvira's trying to keep it together while wondering what else could go wrong, or maybe what else could go right?

Is it any good?


In LOVE ME TENDER author Audrey Couloumbis navigates the highs and lows of family life with witty banter and all the tenderness the title suggests. There are several types of relationships explored throughout the book: mother/daughter, sisterly, and spousal. The author uses the characters to portray the type of honesty that occurs when there are tough times in a family and everyone is tired of being polite.

Even though the novel is a great exploration of family, tweens may not be interested in a book so focused on feelings -- it even finishes like a romance novel: tidy and too abrupt. And strangely, one of the major sources of angst in the story ends with a few kind words and a sigh. Still, parents will enjoy the positive messages of unity and forgiveness and kids will identify with the emotions and inner conflict of 13-year-old Elvira.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about forgiveness and the importance of communication within families. How did Elvira and her family communicate before they went to Memphis? Did you see any similarities between Mel and Clare's relationship versus Elvira and Kerrie's? What about Elvira and her mother's relationship versus Mel and and her mother?

Book details

Author:Audrey Couloumbis
Genre:Family Life
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Random House
Publication date:April 22, 2008
Number of pages:224

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