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From the Friends for Keeps series, volume 5

by Julie Bowe

Pub Date: June 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3692-4
Publisher: Dial Books

Best friends and summer camp! What could be better?

As Friends for Keeps protagonist Ida May prepares to leave for sleep-away camp for the first time, she remembers Elizabeth Evans, her first best friend, who moved away a year ago and failed to keep in touch. Getting over this loss was no picnic, but now Ida May has new friends—two best friends, in fact—and she is looking forward to a week of excitement and fun that they'll all experience together. Punchy sentences sprinkled liberally with kid-friendly language nicely capture Ida May’s sense of anticipation, but it all comes to a screeching halt at camp when she encounters Elizabeth in the flesh. How can this be?  Peer pressure, hurt feelings, mild ethical quandaries and middle-school group dynamics blend with arts-and-crafts, swimming and bonfires, as Ida May deals with Elizabeth’s betrayal and decides if they can ever be friends again. Secondary plots dealing with bullying and crushes provide the finishing touches to this believable and accessible tale of friendship-on-the-rocks, and well-rounded characters raise it a notch above the usual series fare. Preteens will gobble up this girl-friendly depiction of the world of early middle school and its ensuing changes.

A good choice for girls not quite ready to leave behind the innocence of childhood for the spills and thrills of adolescence.

(Fiction. 8-12)