Brooke and Madeline have been best friends since they first met. And now they’re going to be best friends in high school, then go to the same college where they’ll be roommates, date—and marry—boys who are also best friends. Finally they’ll live next door to each other and go on family vacations together. Nothing could possibly change that, right?
Well not so fast. A new school year brings new challenges, and suddenly Brooke and Madeline’s friendship isn’t looking so solid. When the cracks in the relationship become chasms, is there anything worth salvaging at all?
Taylor Morris has written a laugh out loud funny, touching, novel about what happens when “Best Friends Forever” becomes “Best Friends No More.”
How many of us have gotten into fights with out best friends? Fights so bad you aren’t sure that you’ll ever be friends again? I know I have! And then throw into the mix a group of new friends seemingly taking your best friend away. Isn’t that a lot of tween girls’ fear? Well that’s what BFF Breakup is all about. Having a best friend and losing her. It’s such a realistic premise that many girls will be interested just because it’s something they can so completely relate to. What’s great is that the story goes beyond just an interesting premise. The story itself is well written, true to the age of the character and reader and it doesn’t sugar coat going through something like this.
I’ve said it before, but it needs to be said again. One thing that I find wrong with some middle grade (tween) books I read is the voice of the characters. They don’t sound like kids I see and hear everyday at school. This wasn’t really an issue with Brooke and Madeline. Their reactions (the cute boy you like sitting next to you), their language (deciding the word disco would mean whatever you wanted it to) were spot on. But what was more completely tween was how they reacted during the fight. Avoiding each other, refusing to look at each other, blurting out things they have no clue where it came from, saying bad things about the other to new friends because of anger. It was all there. I think the most realistic was when Madeline sent Brooke and apology email thinking it was worded just perfect not at all realizing how it might sound to Brooke. I’ve heard apologies like that! Their reactions rang true to me. Kids are really are really turned off by books that don’t represent them accurately. I don’t think that would happen with this book.
A secondary story is Madeline’s parents separating. I think this too is a situation that some tweens could relate to. And I did believe Madeline’s reaction to it. She was angry and confused which all seemed natural. I did think the parents handled it a little dis-functionally, kind’ve letting the kids deal with in on their own, but it wasn’t bad enough to really bother me. Having Madeline going through this crisis added another layer to the problems between her and Brooke. Not only were they growing and changing, but now they had to figure out how to handle a crises with one of them. It also set up nicely why Madeline thought her new friend Susanna was ‘better” than Brooke. And it helped show some of Brooke’s naivety. I wondered if this story line was really necessary – could it have just focused on the first – but I realized it was really needed. It pushed along a lot of what happened and fueled the emotions both girls were feeling.
There were a few scenes that I did have a bit of a hard time believing. They mostly involved Brooke and a boy named Christopher. Christopher would be seen as a bit odd by most kids this age (he wears ties to school). Brooke though thinks he’s cool. Some of the scenes where she encourages his personality were a little harder for me to buy into just because I know how kids this age can have a hard time encouraging individuality because it could put the spotlight on them in a wrong way. It know it was to help encourage being ok with who you are and letting others be who they are, but I also know the struggle with this at 7th grade. This wasn’t a huge deal, but it was the one point I wasn’t completely sure of.
I won’t say what happens in the end, but I was very pleased with how it was handled. It wasn’t all perfection and sunshine and rainbows. It was more realistic and I liked that. I think a young reader would take more away from the book because it didn’t try to snowball them into believing something they know would be somewhat unrealistic. Honesty with this age goes a long way and this book was honest.
Final Thought: Good real look at losing your BFF
Best stick-with-you image: When Madeline turns really mean to Brooke. Ouch!
Best for readers who: Have every had a fight with their BFF
Best for ages: 9-12
For the Boys? Nope. Pretty much a girl topic.