MY NEW BEST FRIEND by Julie Bowe

March 27, 2009 at 12:29 am Leave a comment

new-best-friendSequel to My Last Best Friend (2007) in which fourth grader Ida, whose best friend moved away becomes friends with the new girl, Stacey. Now the girls discover an old mermaid night-light which they decide has the power to grant wishes. Forming a secret mermaid club and exchanging secret notes, the two girls come to believe they can control events (a Math quiz is postponed). Suspecting that Stacey has been lying about her family (living with a “rich aunt” when in fact her parents are divorced), Ida is drawn in to a more serious situation when Stacey convinces Ida to lie to her own mother so Stacey can spend the weekend. Her mother wisely advises “sometimes you have to stand up to a friend if you want to stand up for her”, and Ida risks losing Stacey’s friendship when she refuses to go along with the lies. At the same time, Ida begins to recognize that bossy, mean Jenna may not be so awful after all (Dad is out of work, Mom resents having to work two jobs) and reaches out to her.

Well-developed characters, good depiction of fourth grade friendships, rivalries and concerns. Ida’s difficulties supporting her friend and having to stand up to her when she is wrong are nicely drawn and her tentative friendship with Jenna is realistic and satisfying.

J–Fic Recommended- Diane McCrink (Yonkers Will)

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