Some Friend

Sally Warner, Author
Sally Warner, Author Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers $15 (128p) ISBN 978-0-679-87620-5
Paperback - 156 pages - 978-0-679-87619-9
Paperback - 978-0-614-28835-3
Hardcover - 978-0-517-27543-6
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-11857-6
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Case Hill, the 12-year-old Philadelphian introduced in Dog Years, has plenty to cope with--starting with his father, still serving time for armed robbery. So he can appreciate his best friend Ned's dilemma. Ned has been living with his grandmother ever since authorities took him away from his alcoholic mother in Texas. But when Granny is hospitalized and Ned put into foster care, he fears he'll be forced to return to his mother. ""They like to move kids around, I guess. You know, like chess,"" explains Ned. Operating under a kid-like confusion about loyalty and responsibility, Case agrees to help Ned run away and hide out in a vacationing neighbor's apartment. Warner inventively uses the Hills' newly acquired answering machine to propel her story, opening each chapter with a recorded message from one of the characters. The author's grasp of heartrending situations and their effects on kids gives her novel a hard-hitting, realistic edge. Yet she balances the shadows that darken her characters' lives with witty, lighthearted moments. Effective characterization, credible dialogue and recurrent imagery neatly integrated into an affecting plot add up to choice middle-grade fiction. Ages 8-12. (June)
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