FRIEND OR FICTION

A solid, unusual story that speaks to the need for friendship.

A lonely girl creates her own best friend.

No one stays in Tiveda, Colorado, for long. Friends come and go, and no one keeps in touch. Sick of making friends and losing them, aspiring author Jade Levy writes herself a best friend. Although Zoe exists solely on paper, she’s real to Jade. She lives next door, they do everything together, and when Jade needs her, she gets out her beloved notebook and writes herself and Zoe into a story. Reality and fiction collide when an actual girl named Zoe moves in next door. Jade thinks she’s dreaming; this can’t be her Zoe. But everything about this girl mirrors Jade’s creation. They look alike, and real Zoe’s first day in Jade’s sixth grade class unfolds exactly like the one Jade wrote for her. Jade finally has the real best friend she’s longed for. But then Zoe deviates from the stories and starts thinking for herself, throwing Jade into a whirl of worry. What if Zoe finds another best friend? A subplot concerning Jade’s father’s cancer circles neatly around to meet the main narrative. Jade is introspective and narrates with quiet humor; anyone would be lucky to have her as a friend. Jade is white and Jewish, and Zoe has olive skin. An important secondary character is adopted and has two dads; another wears hijab.

A solid, unusual story that speaks to the need for friendship. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62354-108-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

GHOSTS

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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