SECRET FRIENDS by Elizabeth Laird


Age Range: 11 - 14
Email this review


From Laird (Kiss the Dust, 1992, etc.), a brief tale of a friend quickly won and lost to a sudden, unexpected death in this British novella. Lucy narrates how she came to call the new girl, Rafaella, “Earwig” because of her large, protruding ears. Both girls live to regret it when the name catches on among their classmates. A fast friendship is formed, but on the sly; Lucy wants to keep her friends at school, who dislike Rafaella. Rafaella alludes to a “surprise” that will take place over the holiday break; she enters the hospital for cosmetic surgery on her ears but dies from a previously undetected heart defect. Characters are developed in broad strokes and the plotting skims along; Lucy’s narration is spare—reined in emotionally and lacking physical details or descriptions. Short, plain sentences and wide margins may have some appeal for struggling readers, but it’ll be hard for them to squeeze out tears when everything happens so cursorily. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-399-23334-2
Page count: 70pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1999