May 20, 2014

Top Ten Books About Friendship

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

The Secret of the Attic is the first book of the Magic Attic Club series and introduces the four original girls: Heather Hardin, Keisha Vance, Megan Ryder, and Alison McCann. In the book, Heather's the new girl, and while the others are very friendly and even invite her to join in their Christmas festivities, she's uncomfortable--mostly because she doesn't celebrate Christmas.

But after a trip through the magic mirror in their neighbor's attic, their friendship solidifies and Heather finally admits what's been bothering her. After that, they're close friends for the rest of the series.

My review of The Secret of the Attic can be read here.

Wait Till Helen Comes is a ghost story from Mary Downing Hahn. The protagonist, Molly, and her brother, Michael, have just welcomed two newcomers into their family: a stepfather and a stepsister named Heather. But Heather's young and immature, and she has a very difficult time accepting that her father's remarried; though she's terribly lonely, she wants nothing to do with her new stepsiblings. Instead, she befriends a mysterious girl near a burned-out, abandoned building: a ghost named Helen who seems friendly enough... but who definitely isn't.

Wait Till Helen Comes is what you get when you mash-up a friendship/sisterhood story and a children's ghost story, and it's a pretty fun read--or at least it was when I read it in elementary school.

The Wig in the Window is a MG mystery novel with a friendship subplot. The main character, Sophie Young, gets in a fight with her long-time best friend, Grace Yang, and during their separation, Sophie finds herself befriending another girl, the very unpopular Trista (who is an awesome character, by the way). Because it's MG, I don't think it should surprise anyone that Sophie and Grace work through their issues, but I find the Sophie/Trista friendship to be every bit as interesting and important as the Sophie/Grace friendship.

My review of The Wig in the Window can be read here.

Meet Marie-Grace is the first book of the second most recent (as of today!) American Girl series; set in 1853, it tells the story of Marie-Grace Gardner and Cécile Rey, two young girls growing up in New Orleans. Though they're from different worlds--Marie-Grace being White American while Cecile is Black American--they become good friends in Meet Marie-Grace and spend the next five books dealing with slave-catchers, orphans, and 1853's deadly yellow fever epidemic.

Meet Cecile, the second book in the series, retells the story from Cecile's perspective.

Snap is a MG novel about friendship and grief that deals with Eddie Beckey, an eleven-year-old girl obsessed with list-making, whose best friend Sally's grandmother--a woman Eddie and Sally both love deeply--falls fatally ill.

It definitely made an impression on me when I was around the protagonist's age. Not so much when I reread it as an adult, but I suppose that's to be expected.

When I sat down to read the Dimwood Forest series, having read Ragweed, Poppy, and Poppy and Rye as a child, I didn't expect a series about mice to have such an emotional ending. Poppy and Ereth, however, really got me emotionally.

When Poppy's husband Rye dies, her grieving process is interrupted by a run-in with a bat. Ereth, believing Poppy to be dead, takes it upon himself to put a truly spectacular memorial service together in her memory. The entire story is about gruff, cranky old Ereth's oft-hidden love for his aged mouse friend, and it is so utterly sweet that I nearly cried.

The last time I got that teary-eyed reading a book was when Harry revealed Al's middle name.

Mary Anne Saves the Day is the fourth Baby-Sitter's Club book. By this point in the series, the friendship between the four original sitters--Kristy Thomas, Mary Anne Spier, Claudia Kishi, and Stacey McGill--has already been established. The first three grew up together, and the latter was fairly quickly welcomed into the group.

But in Mary Anne Saves the Day, the girls end up in a fight that threatens to tear the club apart. During the rift, Mary Anne warms up to the new girl, Dawn Schafer.

Again, since it's a MG novel about a baby-sitting club, the Baby-sitter's Club gets back together by the end, and Kristy, Claudia, and Stacey welcome Dawn into the fold.

My review of Mary Anne Saves the Day can be read here.

Define "Normal" is a MG coming of age novel about two unlikely friends: prissy Antonia Dillon and punky Jasmine "Jazz" Luth. Antonia thinks her meetings with Jazz are peer counseling sessions to help the punk deal with her "rough" life, but it's really the seemingly perfect, straight-A Antonia whose world is spiralling out of control.

The friendship between Antonia and Jazz is filtered through the lense of "don't judge a book by its cover" and, obviously, the question of what exactly "normal" is, but it's a friendship story nonetheless.

Kirsten Learns a Lesson is the second American Girls: Kirsten book. While Meet Kirsten chronicled Kirsten's immigration to the U.S.A., Kirsten Learns a Lesson has two intertwined plots: Kirsten's efforts to learn English for school and her friendship with a young Native American girl named Singing Bird. By the end, Singing Bird and Kirsten are close friends; the former refers to Kirsten--Yellow Hair, as she calls her--as her "sister" and wants the Swedish American girl to join the tribe when it travels to new hunting grounds.

Though Kirsten obviously decides not to go, Kirsten's friendship is treated as genuine, emotional, and important--especially considering the terrible stereotypes her friends and family hold about the indigenous people--and Singing Bird reappears in Kirsten on the Trail.

City Dog, Country Frog is a surprisingly emotional story about two friends who are--you guessed it!--a dog from the city and a frog from the country.

I won't run the story for you, but I highly suggest reading it in you enjoy picture books that (try to) have an emotional impact.

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