Our household is a big fan of Abby Cooper, especially since we interviewed her after her first novel STICKS AND STONES was published. With this third novel, Abby has again done what she does so well–come up with an unbelievable plot premise and somehow build a novel around it that reads like realistic fiction.
Friend or Fiction Review
In FRIEND OR FICTION, Jade lives in a town where no one sticks around for very long. This makes it tough to make friends, so Jade invents one of her own. Every day she writes about her exploits with her fictional friend Jade and reads them to her dad, who is in treatment for liver cancer.
Then one day, with the help of a magical pond and a classmate named Clue, Zoe comes to life and everything Jade has written about starts happening in real life. Even better–Jade can control Zoe by writing new stories.
It doesn’t take long for Jade to figure out that controlling everything someone does doesn’t make for a very fulfilling friendship. I think middle grade readers will see the parallels between this fictional friendship and some real-life ones in which fitting in or please people replaces true connection. Abby contrasts this nicely with the new, authentic friendships that start to bud in Jade’s life throughout the story.
This book will appeal to new middle grade readers especially. Parents, teachers, and librarians can feel comfortable recommending it to those younger kids who are stretching for new MG material. It’s completely age appropriate, while still presenting complex themes and challenging ideas.
Get the Book
FRIEND OR FICTION will publish on October 8, 2019, from Charlesbridge Publishing.