Monday, December 14, 2009

The Kind of Friends We Used To Be (MG)

Dowell, Frances O'Roark. 2009. The Kind of Friends We Used To Be. Simon & Schuster. 234 pages.

When Kate decided to play the guitar, she realized she would need new shoes.

I loved this one. I just loved it. I loved it because I could relate to it. I loved it because I could see myself in both friends, in Kate and Marylin. I loved it because it had this oh-so-right feel to it, it felt authentic, genuine. This book is narrated by both girls.

Like so many books for this age, it deals with identity. With getting to know (and love) yourself. With trying to make sense of the fast-changing world. With friendships--both new and old. (With frenemies too.) With school, family, and life. What is it about? It's about two girls finding themselves, learning what they want and need, and coming to terms with each others' differences. You don't *have* to be the same all the time. You can like what you want to like, do what you want to do. For Kate that means learning to play guitar, and getting comfortable enough to write her own songs, her own lyrics. For Marylin that means deciding who she really is and what she really wants. Does she really, really want to be a cheerleader who cares only about hair and fashion? Or does she want something a little more? Will being part of the student council help her decide?

You might remember Kate and Marylin from The Secret Language of Girls. (But you don't have to have read the first book to appreciate this one!) It was a very satisfying read.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Suko 8:07 PM  

This sounds good enough to recommend to my 12-year-old daughter the next time she asks, "What should I read?". Thanks for your review, Becky.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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