We Used to Be Friends
The Best Friend Break-Up
Tell me if this sounds familiar: last summer, you and your best friend were absolutely inseparable. First thing every morning you grabbed a piece of toast and hopped on your bike, straight to your bestie's house. Then it was nothing but water balloon fights, lemonade stands, and bad TV marathons til it got so dark you had to call home and ask if you could spend the night. A perfect summer.
But this year, suddenly nothing feels quite right. Your best friend only wants to talk about the cute boys or girls at your school. Your friend says only little kids have lemonade stands. Your friend wants to go to the pool, but just to lay by the side, and never to go down the water slide. Or worst of all: your friend is too busy hanging out with other, cooler kids from school to spend time with you.
It's the dreaded Growing Apart, aka the Best Friend Break-Up. It happens to friends all the time, but that doesn't make it hurt any less. If you and your closest friends are growing apart, check out one of the books below for some commiseration. And don't lose hope - you may not be able to make things exactly like they used to be, but you and your friend may still find a way to have fun together.
Books to Get You Through It
In Always Abigail by Nancy Cavanaugh, Abigail and her two best friends know they are going to start sixth grade with a bang - until Abigail gets put in a different homeroom. A bummer, but not so bad - but then Abby doesn't make the pom-pom squad, either. And then she gets stuck in a paired assignment with a totally weird, uncool girl she barely knows. Suddenly sixth grade is going all wrong! Will the year be a total disaster, or will Abigail find a way to stick with her old friends, and make some new ones, too?
Cinderella Smith isn't your typical Cinderella. She doesn't have an evil stepmother, and she doesn't spend all day cleaning the house. But she does have serious shoe trouble - she loses them all over the place, even the red tap shoes she needs especially for her recital. Her troubles don't stop with footwear, though. Her former best friends, Rosemary and Rosemary, have cut her out of the friendship over the summer, and when school starts again they don't get any better. They want to cut her out of their dance recital, too! Cinderella needs some new friends in her corner, asap, but where will she find them?
Wendy Mass' book, 11 Birthdays, is a Growing Apart classic. Amanda and Leo have celebrated every birthday together, until it comes to number eleven, when Amanda wants to go solo. But after a big blow-out fight, Amanda wakes up to discover it's her eleventh birthday again - and again, and again. The only way to get out of her Groundhog Day birthday seems to be fixing things with Leo. But how?
In Water Balloon by Audrey Vernick, Marley is ready to be the water balloon champion by planning the perfect sneak attack on her two best friends - it's a tradition, and they fight for the glory of best sneak attack every year. Marley bombards her friends at a pool party, and they get totally soaked! But Marley's friends don't laugh and grab their water guns like Audrey expected. They yell at her for embarrassing them in front of the cool kids at the party, and suddenly Marley's on her own. Is her summer ruined? Or is there hope for saving their friendship?
And don't think that you can't have a little adventure, too, even in the middle of best friend drama. Holly Black's creepy book, Doll Bones, is a spooky mystery AND all about a best friend trio trying to stay close as they approach middle school. Zach, Alice, and Poppy have always acted out great adventures with their dolls, but they're starting to feel a little too old - or at least two of them are. Poppy wants the game to go on, and she has a good reason. She's convinced that one of their oldest, creepiest dolls has actually got the ghost of a girl trapped inside, and she'll only be at peace if they can bury the doll at her grave. Zach and Alice aren't so sure. Is Poppy right about the doll, or is she just playing an elaborate prank to keep the trio together?
Chelsey never grew out of playing pretend, even though her friends all did. You'll find her pretending to be a spy whenever she visits a foreign city.