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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Book Review: Real Friends by Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Ugh, middle school. Ugh, cliques. Ugh, complicated friendships. This book hits all of these rife topics on the head. Ms. Hale really recaptures what it felt like to be navigating the uber-complicated world of junior high (as it was called in the 1980s) and how, to quote Heathers, "Sometimes I don't really like my friends." And Shannon's friends certainly are mostly frenemies, so who can blame her?

But as the book goes on, she does find a new group of friends who are not mean girls and don't exclude people or make fun or every quirk and nuance about them that doesn't conform. It's awesome. That rarely happens in real life and I hope those two girls who were the defacto leaders of that trend know how awesome they are. It's also rough when you go home and your home life is no respite from the trauma of school. Shannon's sister Wendy is also a terror, meaning Shannon has no refuge.

Sadly, I've found friendship difficulties can even happen in adulthood. So this is a great book that pretty much every kid ought to read. Friendships mean a ton therefore there are fraught. And it's best to try to figure out how to navigate them before they get poisonous, and while there's still room to maneuver around. This book felt very real, and hopeful.

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.

This book is published by Macmillan, my employer.

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