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Dear Anjali Hardcover – July 6, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 13 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 8
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; 1 edition (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416995994
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416995999
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,127,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8–Meredith's best friend has just died and Meredith is lost. Anjali was her anchor in the stormy sea of being a tween, having crushes, and dealing with bullies. She simply cannot fathom a life without Anjali or a day without speaking to her, so she begins writing letters to her. It is Meredith's way of keeping the connection to her best friend alive, because without Anjali, who is she? Through the course of her grief, Meredith begins to learn things about herself and her friend that put their relationship in a new light. Taking on a tough and little-explored subject, Haber skillfully handles the child's heartache, her loneliness, and the conflicting desires of wanting to continue on with her life but not wanting to forget Anjali. By placing the story between the keys of Meredith's dad's old typewriter, the author gives the narrative a believable realism (complete with a 12-year-old's typos). The format allows an intimate look at the inner workings of the girl's grief and the self-deprecating view she has on her friendship with Anjali. With such an interesting protagonist, it is slightly disappointing that it is Noah Spivak, Meredith's crush, who becomes the catalyst for change and not Meredith herself. The plot is slightly predictable, but the realistic, not-too-tidy ending brings truth to this novel, underscoring that life is complicated.Naphtali L. Faris, Saint Louis Public Library, MO
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Twelve-year-old Meredith’s world has tilted: her best friend, Anjali, has died suddenly of encephalitis, and the only way Meredith can cope with the loss is to write daily letters to her friend. Meredith’s insecurity about the prettier Anjali slowly rises to the surface as she works through feelings of grief, anger, and isolation. Noah (the object of both girls’ affections) joins Meredith in grieving, and when their friendship starts to move to another level, Meredith wonders if Anjali would be happy or jealous. Is Meredith betraying her friend, or has that already happened? Haber’s epistolary novel is aimed at middle-schoolers who can appreciate the drama and angst (shown with bold caps and exclamation points) of a preteen girl. Frequently typed on her dad’s old typewriter and full of spelling errors (which may be a distraction for some), this story is fairly successful in portraying loss and betrayal, in spite of sometimes wooden, two-dimensional characters and a nebulous view of the afterlife. Grades 5-8. --Melissa Moore

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sparrow on August 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Parent-child book groups need books that speak to both age groups, are fun to read, and laced with serious human themes worth discussing. Dear Anjali supplies this all.

Don't be concerned that the story is launched by the death of the speaker's best friend. This event is handled gently and balanced with insight and humor; it is completely appropriate for teen or pre-teen readers. Moreover, although dealing with the death of a friend is (fortunately) something that few teens experience, the event provides the framework for a story full of themes that every teen (and adult) will understand and relate to. One of the key themes of the book is following the trajectory of first seeing a friend with pure and unrealistic admiration, to recognizing imperfections and duplicity, and back to a realistic and mature appreciation of the shared ground. What teen, or former teen, can't relate to that? Kids who connect well to books and writing but are less confident about their social connectedness will particularly see themselves here, and rejoice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gabe on July 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Don't worry, boys: the pinkness of this cover is meant to be ironic. As long as you can handle a very first-person (complete with typewriter glitches and spelling oddities) girl voice, you'll be just as happy with this book as any of your female counterparts would be.

"Dear Anjali" was a great read. It can't be easy to treat a serious subject like a friend's unexpected passing, while neither becoming glum nor seeming irreverent. The book pulls it off by skimming over the details of Anjali's death and focusing on best friend Meredith's efforts to cope. But it's also a healthy middle-school romance -- so there is a lot going on, and the characters are both likable and real enough that I always wanted to hear more from them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I read this book because I have read and enjoyed the other books by this author. Each of her books has been very unique. This novel surprised me, because I often found myself laughing out loud as I read, even though the book dealt with serious topics, such as death. It was very thought provoking, and made me think about life and friendships. I would highly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Awesome book. It's about a girl whose best friend has died. The book is a series of letters to her dead friend. When I first looked at this book, I thought, "It's probably for girls." However, when I began reading it, I found that it was actually a really good book. Sometimes it can be funny, but some parts of it are sad. I really liked this book.
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By surfinnsb on October 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I've read this book several times and I love it enough to know I'll read it again. If you've ever had a best friend, and if you've ever fallen in love... this book is for you. It's beautiful and sad and poignant and honestly funny. I'd like to be the kind of friend that Meredith Beals is.
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