Sunday, November 3, 2019

Review: Friend or Fiction

Author: Abby Cooper
Started reading: October 21st 2019
Finished the book: October 27th 2019
Pages: 272
Genres: Middle Grace, Magical Realism
Published: October 8th 2019
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads score: 4.21
My score:
Jade's life hasn't exactly been normal lately, especially since her dad's cancer diagnosis. Jade wishes her family could leave their no-name town in Colorado already--everybody else does sooner rather than later, including every best friend Jade's ever had. So she makes one up. In the pages of her notebook, she writes all about Zoe--the most amazing best friend anyone could dream of.

But when pretend Zoe appears in real life thanks to a magical experiment gone right, Jade isn't so sure if she likes sharing her imaginary friend with the real world. To keep her best friend (and even make some new ones), Jade learns how to cope with jealousy, that friends should let friends be true to themselves, and that maybe the perfect best friend doesn't exist after all..

My thoughts
The story, first of all, felt very original. The part that I liked most was that the main character, Jade, was aspiring to be writer. She is writing "oppservations" in her diary and that were the most fun parts for me, since the questions she asks there, are pretty philosophical and would be good for Middle Graders to think about. Sadly, I was annoyed by the main character most of the time, and didn't enjoy the story that much. That made me give the book 2 stars.

  • Original story: The story was an original one. A realistic story with a twist of magic. I'd love there to be less Fantasy stories and more Magical Realism stories. The story has a deep emotional layer in it and the final chapters were pretty good. I got the message behind the book and for that I applaud the author.
  • Oppservations: The oppservations from Jade were mature questions and I had hoped to see more of that maturity in her behavior. It felt like the oppservations were written by a totally different person. It did make you feel a little bit more involved in the story, because unknowingly, I was still pondering about the questions that Jade asks herself.
  • Clue: My favorite character in this book. He's sweet and honest and just felt like the only real person that was in this book.
  • Shallow characters: There could've been so much more development in the characters in this book. Zoe doesn't even have parents and Jades parents feel shallow even though something big is happening with Jades father. Zoe doesn't know certain words in the story, because Jade made her up, but that only comes forth in one or two scenes, because how can you communicate with someone that only knows certain words? Jade is using her notebook to keep Zoe for herself out of jealousy. She doesn't even want to go on a family trip, because she is afraid her friend is going to hang out with other people? I just couldn't at some point...
  • Confusing: I was cringing a lot while reading this book. Everything felt very stereotypical, and I'm not sure if that is what we want to teach our Middle Graders. The story is kinda weird, because no one is freaked out by Jades made up friend coming out of her notebook. Some stories in the notebook have already happened, and some stories that Jade wrote still have to happen, so that was confusing. At the end, the message didn't really get through to me, because I was just annoyed with Jade and the story overall.
I'm pretty sure it's harder to write Children's and Middle Grade books if you're an adult author, because how do we know what kids of those ages like? Well, I do know what I want to teach kids in life, and I do know what I like as a reader, and this story just kinda missed the mark for me.  I am curious what other readers and younger readers think, tough. The few oppservations in the book were fun and the message behind the story was nice, but I was mainly annoyed with Jade and the story.

Thanks for reading!
I'd love to talk books; please let me know what you think about this book/review.


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