Goodbye, Stranger by Rebecca Stead is an excellent story of middle-school friendship.
Bridget, Tabitha, and Emily have been best friends forever, but middle
school will try their friendship in new ways. Bridge has made a new
friend, Sherm. She doesn't think she's in love with him, but is it
possible to fall in friendship just as powerfully as you fall in love?
Tab has discovered feminism, thanks to an inspirational teacher, but
she's about to be reminded that she still doesn't know everything. And
Em has developed a figure that is getting attention from boys --
including a certain boy, who wants her to send him a certain kind of
photo. Meanwhile, in another story line, an unnamed high school girl
deals with betrayal and disillusionment in her own friendships.
book is a really excellent middle-school book, which is actually
comparatively rare. The characters act in ways consistent with actual
middle-schoolers, and deal with issues that face middle-schoolers, and
while the issues are addressed frankly, they never venture out of the
middle-school realm. And of course, since it's Rebecca Stead, the
writing is generally excellent and the characters are distinct and
develop over the course of the story. Recommended both to the target
audience and to anyone who enjoys well-written juvenile fiction.
(Reviewed from an advance copy, courtesy of the publisher.)