We both received Friend or Fiction through Netgalley months and months ago. Since it’s an October release, we kept pushing it forward and forward. And suddenly we realized this book was released and we still hadn’t read it! We saw the audiobook on Storytel and decided this was the moment to finally read it. And today we want to tell you all about it, so let’s get going!
One creative middle-schooler schooler discovers that the best friend a girl can have is the one she makes herself in this charming magical realism read.
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.
Friend or Fiction by Abby Cooper
Published by Charlesbridge on 08/10/2019
Genres: Magical Realism
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Candyce This cover is so cute! The colors really caught my attention and it fits the book perfectly. After reading the book, I can really appreciate it even more, because it makes just a little more sense. Lately, middle grade has been amazing when it comes to book covers. The YA world could definitely learn from them!
Isabelle I really like this cover! It’s a pretty simple cover at first glance, but the details are a lot of fun. Especially once you’ve read the book! I think this design fits the story very well and is one that is appealing to a younger audience. This is after all a MG story and hopefully they will pick this one up along with all the (young) adults this book is also fantastic for.
Candyce Friend or Fiction really took me by surprise. I had a feeling that this would be an interesting read, but this one definitely hit me in all the feels! I don’t read many magical realism stories and this one reminded me that I really need to pick up more of them.
In Friend or Fiction, we follow our main character Jade. Life hasn’t been normal for awhile. Her family moves around frequently and that hasn’t made it easy to make friends. Things get even harder when her Dad is diagnosed with cancer and her best friend isn’t the greatest friend after all. She has a clear idea of what the perfect best friend should be like and writes the adventures she wishes she’d have with that best friend.
This story sucked me in right away and I finished it in no time (it’s under 300 pages, so a fast read anyways). I loved this story and it’s very realistic. Jade has a lot to cope with and I think the author showed us how a kid her age would deal with everything. She doesn’t make the greatest decisions, but no one is always perfect. The most important part of this whole story is that she really learns a lot while going. Friend or Fiction has great character development and is perfect for this age group. I think it’s important they get stories that are realistic and some that they may be able to relate to.
Friend or Fiction is really touching and definitely brought tears to my eyes. I can’t imagine what it was like for Jade. She has so much to deal with at a young age. Jade makes mistakes, but learns from them as well. This book is very friend and family orientated. Even though this book is filled with lessons, the journey is very enjoyable! I can’t wait to see what this author writes next!
Isabelle This is a pretty short book, a little less than 300 pages. It’s a MG and those usually make for some shorter stories, especially the more contemporary ones. And Friend or Fiction reads as a contemporary in my opinion! There is a magical realism element in the story that is very important, but before and even after that happens it all feels very contemporary.
I listened to the audiobook for this one and was pretty much right away sucked into the story. We follow Jade, who lives in a small town in Colorado. Everyone seems to move from there all the time which makes it hard on her to find and keep a best friend. After hearing upsetting news about her dad’s health and finding out her current best friend isn’t that good of a friend either she stops trying. And instead she makes up her own best friend Zoe in her notebook, she writes about all the adventures they go on and fun days they have.
It was very interesting to see Jade cope with everything her family has been going through. She tries to not be a bother for her parents, to keep her dad’s spirits up and to just take care of her own problems. While she wasn’t dealing with her problems in the most healthy way, I do think it was a very accurate depiction of a young girl in this situation. It made it very real for me and I felt for Jade right away.
Jade made some decisions that weren’t necessarily the best ones she could make, or ones I’d personally make. But it did make for a great way to show her growth and developments. I also think it was very realistic. And I think a lot of kids could learn something about making friends and friendships from this novel.
Candyce This story basically focuses mostly on Jade, which is completely understandable. I think she’ll be a very realistic character to relate to for kids the same age. Even though this book isn’t very long, I loved the development she goes through and the lessons she learns. Jade is stronger than she thinks and learns that change isn’t always a bad thing.
Besides Jade, there isn’t a lot ot say about the different characters. I think of them more as side characters and they really completed the story. Jade’s family was so much fun! They’re going through a lot and are trying to make the best of it. Friend or Fiction shows us that adults are human to and can make mistakes. Jade’s dad is my favorite and I enjoyed the moments with him in it. Her family plays an important part of the story and I really enjoyed this!
Zoe is the best friend she goes on adventures with and while she plays an important part in this book, I didn’t really connect with her. Maybe that was the point? Jade needed her in many ways, but that’s about as far as she does anything in this story!
Another interesting character was Clue. I wasn’t sure what to make of him in the beginning, but he ended up playing a bigger role than I expected. There was definitely a little twist in his storyline that I wasn’t expecting. Definitely a good decision by this author!
Isabelle We have our main character Jade, like I said I think she can be very relatable for kids and I really enjoyed reading about her. She went through a great development and her story brought tears to my eyes more than once.
The other characters are mostly side characters. We read about Zoe, Jade’s fictive friend, who doesn’t really has a personality if I’m being honest. I didn’t think she brought that much to the story herself, and she was mostly used for Jade’s plot.
We also read about Jade’s family, I especially loved her dad. I laughed out loud multiple times in regards to her family. But they were also present for some of the moments were I shed some tears haha. A very enjoyable and supportive family to read about, I wish we saw that in YA books 😉 The last important character is Clue. I don’t want to say to much about him, but I did really like his character. He isn’t what he seems to be at first glance and I think he was a great addition to the story.
We both really loved this middle grade book! The lessons and messages are always so good. Have you read any good middle grade books lately? Let us know in the comments!