cover image Friend or Fiction

Friend or Fiction

Abby Cooper. Charlesbridge, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-62354-108-8

In this lightly fantastical tale, sixth grader Jade has a history of losing best friends. People don’t stay in her tiny Colorado town for long, so to fight lunchroom loneliness and science-class boredom, Jade writes stories in a big yellow notebook about her ideal best friend, a charismatic girl named Zoe, with whom she shares private jokes and secrets. When a classmate, nicknamed Clue, steals her notebook and promises “a big surprise,” Jade is initially furious, but her curiosity wins out, and she agrees to wait for Clue’s big revelation. Then, a girl exactly matching Zoe’s qualities moves in across the street, and an astonished Jade must rely on her storytelling abilities as never before: since the fictional character only knows what has written about her, Jade must keep adding to her stories to avoid attracting suspicion. Cooper (Bubbles) integrates tips about writing and being a good friend into her magic-touched, relatable middle school story, while somber subjects, such as family members with cancer and life in an economically distressed town, add further layers to the appealing narrative. Ages 10–up. [em]Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Oct.) [/em]