Sixth-grade friends chronicle their transition to middle school in a shared journal.
When best friends Piper and Olivia discover they have only one class together, they start a shared journal to communicate with each other. While the girls vow to remain best friends, each feels socially adrift at school. Piper’s unexpected opportunity to have a special birthday party motivates the girls to devise a plan to join school clubs in order to widen their social circles. From badminton to spelling bees, the girls valiantly search for a club that suits them, with some comical and a few calamitous results. Leavitt and Mellom address the self-consciousness and uncertainties of navigating social life in middle school. Their astute observations also reveal the girls’ family concerns: Piper yearns for personal attention amid her bevy of siblings, while Olivia longs for her father’s time and approval. As each girl struggles to find her niche, their journal entries become increasingly self-reflective. With their interests diverging, their friendship reaches a crisis point as the date of Piper’s party approaches. The book’s format, featuring journal entries between the girls, emails, text messages, and blog posts, combines with Dening’s whimsical artwork to create the feel of a well-tended journal.
Leavitt and Mellom’s humorous and perceptive tale deftly explores the quandary of how to sustain a cherished friendship while nurturing individual growth. (Fiction. 9-13)