MY NEW BEST FRIEND

From the Friends for Keeps series , Vol. 2

This delightful sequel to 2007’s My Last Best Friend continues the story of fourth-grader Ida May, her growing friendship with Stacey and her rivalry with bully Jenna. While looking for costumes in her attic, Ida May and Stacey unearth a mermaid nightlight. Turned off, the mermaid has a pleasant smile; turned on, the smile turns into a scary, glowing grin. Stacey believes the lamp will cast evil spells like those in horror movies. They form the “Secret Mermaid Club,” and Ida May directs the first spell at bossy Jenna. The two girls believe their spells actually work, but things become complicated when they need to lie to make Stacey’s spells come true. Can Ida May straighten things out without endangering their friendship? The unexpected twist, with Ida May extending the hand of friendship to Jenna, is believable and satisfying. Bowe is spot-on with Ida May’s feelings toward Stacey and her change-of-heart toward Jenna. Issues surrounding divorced households are handled realistically. Fans of Ida May will be overjoyed to read this new installment. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-15-206498-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2008

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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A sweet and entertaining series opener about family and friendship.

NINA SONI, FORMER BEST FRIEND

From the Nina Soni series , Vol. 1

Nina is worried that her best friend, Jay, might not be her best friend anymore.

Nina Soni has been best friends with Jay Davenport since before she was born. But when Jay’s cousins move to town, he has less and less time for Nina—so little time, in fact, that she wonders if they’re still best friends. Nina is so distracted that she forgets about her Personal Narrative Project, an assignment in which Nina is supposed to write about something interesting that’s happened to her. At first, Nina wonders how she’ll ever write the essay when her family—and, by extension, her life—is so boring. But when Jay announces that he’s going to write the best PNP ever, Nina sees his challenge as a way to recover their friendship. Sheth’s language is poetic in its simplicity, and her narratorial voice is a pleasure to read. The book particularly sparkles whenever Nina interacts with her small but tightknit family, especially when she has to rescue her quirky younger sister, Kavita, from endless scrapes. The conflict between Nina and Jay, however, feels forced and tangential to the story, which really centers on Nina’s personal narrative and her loving, albeit exasperating, relationship with her family. Both Nina and Jay are Indian American; she on both sides of her family and he through his mother (his father is white).

A sweet and entertaining series opener about family and friendship. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68263-057-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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