19 February 2008

What I am Reading Today--My Last Best Friend

Ida May is a bright, regular fourth grader who has just suffered the biggest blow of her young life--her best friend Elizabeth, moved away. Once bitten, twice shy, Ida determines never to make another best friend. This should be easily accomplished since class meanie Jenna Drews has made a career out of telling everyone what a loser she is. So when upbeat, popular, newcomer Stacy Merriweather arrives on the scene and wants to be Ida's friend, Ida has absolutely no interest in reciprocating. Uh uh. Not.At.All.

These days I can't seem to read books about little girls without internalizing their struggles, because my own daughter is just setting down this road: learning that life is unfair, that other kids are mean, and that their parents won't always "get" them. Then I read a book like My Last Best Friend, and I feel a little bit better, remembering that there's good stuff too: that kindred spirits hone in on each other no matter what the obstacles, that mom and dad have seen it all themselves and are there for you, that excellent teachers will notice you and encourage you. There are no real surprises in this book--other than the fact that Jenna Drew might actually have a humble side to her. The reader knows that Stacy Merriweather can't be all that she seems (Ida herself has already figured this out,) and you just know that Ida and Stacy are each what the other needs. This book is funny, touching, and gives the reader everything she wants. And with a sequel on the way, that's good news. This is going straight to the 'Staff Picks' shelf at work!

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