Best Friends For Never
April 26, 2016
After Hattie and her three best friends watch one of their classmates publicly defriended in the school cafeteria, they make a loyalty pact promising never to mistreat each other. But after Hattie unwittingly breaks the pact, her friends begin ignoring her. In fact, they literally don't even know who she is anymore! Can Hattie figure out how to break the spell and make things right again?
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
I've enjoyed Vrettos' work in the past, but it's definitely been more Young Adult. This shows a fine feeling for the need for middle school students to find a group of friends and do whatever they can to stay a part of that group. Hattie wears corduroy pants, a stripy hoodie, and Converse tennis shoes (which she actually rather likes) just like her friends, and participates in a sport to keep their approval. She also eats things she doesn't like, and is not free to talk about the passions she had back in NYC with her friend Rae. This all rings so true to life.
The leap into fantasy confused me at first, but made a lot of sense the more I thought about it. It plays off the fear that most 7th grade girls have-- my friends will all suddenly decide to NOT be my friends any more. It is nice that Hattie gets to know Zooey better, and the delving into town history has its moments.
Hattie's parents, as well as the other adults in the book, are wonderful and supportive, and make brief appearances taking the girls to activities and consulting about problems. This is a nice touch, instead of killing off all the parents!
Readers who enjoy magical realism, as well as middle school drama, will want to add Best Friends For Never to their bookshelves alongside Margolis' If I Were You, Hubbard's You Wish, and Standiford's Switched at Birthday, as well as Mass' Willow Falls series.
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