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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Best Friend Next Door by Carolyn Mackler

Best Friend Next DoorMeet Hannah.  Her best friend has just moved away to Canada, another country! Her father and step mother are going to have a baby. She can't have a cat because her stepmom is allergic to them.  And now this new girl moves in with the same birth date (New Year's Day), wearing the same tie-die shirt and claiming to hate pizza (just like Hannah)! What's going on?

Emme doesn't want to live in this new place.  She loved living in Florida! She misses her friends back home and she has to start 5th grade at a new school.  Now the the girl next door doesn't seem to like her. It's not Emme's fault they were born on the same day, are wearing the same shirt and have names that are palindromes! Thank goodness she still has her cat, Butterball.

It's that love for Butterball that brings the girls together. When Butterball goes missing, Emme finds out that he's been at Hannah's house. So they decide to share him and thus a friendship is born. The girls find out they have so much in common. But it's not going to be an easy friendship because Hannah is moody and lashes out when things don't go her way. Emme is quiet and somewhat shy. Hannah is lucky she found Emme because Emme is a true friend through thick and thin.

The families in this story are not the traditional ones.  Hannah's dad has full custody of her and she's never known her birth mom; Hannah's stepmom Margo is adopting her;  Emme has two moms. I liked how Mackler showed that even though friends' interests change, it doesn't mean that friendships themselves need to. She also shows how tough fifth grade can be, especially if you are the "new kid."

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