cover image The Best Friend Battle

The Best Friend Battle

Lindsay Eyre, illus. by Charles Santoso. Scholastic/Levine, $5.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-0-545-62028-4

Sylvie Scruggs is desperate. Miranda Tan, her best and only friend, is making new friends (with boys, no less), and Sylvie is terrified that she’ll be left friendless. Despite Miranda’s assurances that Sylvie will like Georgie and Josh if she gives them a chance, Sylvie isn’t sure (“He was like a flea waiting to pop out of the grass and bite me”). With Miranda’s ninth birthday party approaching, Sylvie is determined to keep Georgie from outdoing her, so when she suspects that Georgie is going to give Miranda some expensive pets as gifts, her imagination and fear go into overdrive. Sylvie’s escapades highlight the power of jealousy, even as she learns that friendships can form when least expected. Adolescents will identify with Sylvie’s delicate self-esteem and fierce anxiety—Santoso’s b&w illustrations do a fine job of playing up her emotional turmoil—and they’ll laugh heartily as Sylvie forges ahead with a risky plan chock-full of hilarious antics and funny dialogue. Eyre’s entertaining debut will have readers looking forward to Sylvie’s next adventure. Ages 7–10. Author’s agent: Caitlin Blasdell, Liza Dawson Associates. Illustrator’s agency: Shannon Associates. (Mar.)