Ava Lin, Best Friend

Ava Lin, Best Friend
Age Range
Release Date
June 04, 2024
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Brand-new first grader Ava Lin is determined to find a best friend—even if she’s a bit unclear on how to go about it—in this launch of a funny, super relatable chapter-book series.

Ava Lin is six and a half years old, and she loves bubble tea, finding treasures, and animals (note the 117 varieties of pets on her wish list). She’s very good at drawing and balancing pasta on her nose. And there’s a Very Exciting Thing happening in her life right now: tomorrow is her first day of first grade! Which means she gets a new backpack, new pencils, and a new lunch box. But what she really wants to get in first grade is a best friend, which isn’t as easy as she thought.

Ava’s quest has her navigating some confusing social rules, with unintentionally comical results—but she always manages to wriggle out of her mishaps in ways young readers will find very familiar. With an engaging text, humorous graphic panels, and black-and-white illustrations, Vicky Fang draws on her Chinese American family’s experience to create a heroine kids will instantly love.

Editor review

1 review
The first book in a new series
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Ava is a very 2020's kind of gal; she's impetuous, fearless, and often acts without thinking. Her family reacts productively to her most of the time, and keeps her worst impulses in check. It's interesting to compare characters from the history of early chapter books; Haywood's 1930s era Betsy would be considered quite the prissy, too well behaved girl today, and Parks 1990s Junie B. Jones would probably have a diagnosis, medication, and a therapist! Ava is somewhere in the middle, and is a realistic, young character who is trying to figure out her life.

This is a very early chapter book, and perfect for readers who are the same age as Ava, and just starting to be able to hand more extended text. The black and white line drawings are expressive and help support text comprehension.

Ava would be a good friend to Hiranandani's Phoebe Green, DiCamillo's Bink and Gollie, and Manushskin's Katie Woo. I would love to read some of these with a first graders and see what they think of the different ways that children behave in books!
Good Points
Ava is very excited to be starting first grade, especially since her cousin Nikki, who is in fifth grade, met her very best friend when she was that age. Ava is well prepared, with two lunch boxes and a dress with pockets. She is excited about Spaulding Elementary and her teacher, Ms. Montgomery. She sits next to Kushi, who seems friendly enough. At lunch, Kushi offers her a delicious looking crunchy snack, but having seen how her parents act when they are offered something to try, she declines, even though she is disappointed. Later, Ava finds a small, sparkly jewel stuck to her chair, and puts it in her pocket. Because Kushi has been so nice, she offers the jewel to her, and is sad when her new friend actually accepts it. Of course, this means that Ava is able to have some crunchy snacks until Ms. Montgomery reminds them that there is a very strict no sharing policy. Ava likes small, exciting finds like snail shells and anything sparkly, and these often end up in her pockets. So does a crayon, and her mother decides that Ava has to wear a dress with no pockets to school. Of course, Ava finds a sparkly stone while the class is doing a mosaic art project. To keep it safe, she puts it in her EAR. This results in Ava's mother having to come get her and take her to the doctor to have the stone removed. Ava gets to wear pockets again, and is now friends with Kushi. She has yet to fully bedazzle her notebook, but she's working on it, and will be able to progress further in Ava Lin: One of a Kind, which is being published in January of 2025.

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