Friends for Life
When Jessica sits on a bench beside a quiet boy named Francis, she is shocked when he offers her tea. This is because Francis is the first person who has been able to see or hear her in the year since she died. Francis’s interest in fashion has made him a pariah at school, so any friend—even a ghost—is welcome. The two immediately bond and get another surprise when Andi, a new student whose aggressive tendencies have isolated her, can see Jessica, too. Three becomes four when Roland, an outcast because of his weight, also sees Jessica. The question of why Jessica has lingered on Earth remains, and the novel shifts from a gentle friendship story to one about depression and suicide as the truth becomes clear. Norriss (I Don’t Believe It, Archie!
) has written a sensitive novel that illustrates how easy it is to feel alone, the ways differences can be isolating, and the power of friendship and connection. This memorable story will leave readers thinking about how small actions can have a significant impact. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)