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Friends: Stories About New Friends, Old Friends, And Unexpectedly True Friends Hardcover – August 1, 2005


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Hardcover, August 1, 2005
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 930L (What's this?)
  • Series: Friends
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439729912
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439729918
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,250,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8–This collection of stories by well-known authors spans a broad definition of the term friend, and also approaches the topic from a wide variety of viewpoints. There are pieces about real-life friends, imaginary companions, animal friends, and those who fit the old saying, with friends like that, who needs enemies. Some of the selections are written as if the events are happening in the present, some from the viewpoint of an adult looking back at childhood. The selections by Ann M. Martin, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Rachel Cohn, David Levithan, and Patricia McCormick are among the more outstanding entries. It is unlikely that any one reader will like all of them, but it is also likely that every reader will find at least one that hits home. The trick will be to get youngsters to keep reading to find that one.–Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-6. Middle-school friends (including some imaginary friends) and enemies feature in many of these short stories by 11 well-known authors, including Virginia Euwer Wolff, Meg Cabot, and Brian Selznick. A few stories are messagey, but some raise questions without presenting a lesson. Adults play important roles in some of the tales. In one story a teacher proves a good friend. In another, elderly pals are drawn without sentimentality. Readers will easily recognize the elemental conflicts about loyalty and betrayal, making this a great title for group discussion. The writers and editors have donated their royalties to the nonprofit Lisa Libraries, which contributes new children's books to organizations serving needy children. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

I find it downright baffling to write about myself, which is why I'm considering it somewhat cruel and usual to have to write this brief bio and to update it now and then. The factual approach (born '72, Brown '94, first book '03) seems a bit dry, while the emotional landscape (happy childhood, happy adolescence - give or take a few poems - and happy adulthood so far) sounds horribly well-adjusted. The only addiction I've ever had was a brief spiral into the arms of diet Dr Pepper, unless you count My So-Called Life episodes as a drug. I am evangelical in my musical beliefs.

Luckily, I am much happier talking about my books than I am talking about myself. My first novel, Boy Meets Boy, started as a story I wrote for my friends for Valentine's Day (something I've done for the past twenty-two years and counting) and turned itself into a teen novel. When not writing during spare hours on weekends, I am editorial director at Scholastic, and the founding editor of the PUSH imprint, which is devoted to finding new voices and new authors in teen literature. (Check it out at www.thisispush.com.)

With Boy Meets Boy, I basically set out to write the book that I dreamed of getting as an editor - a book about gay teens that doesn't conform to the old norms about gay teens in literature (i.e. it has to be about a gay uncle, or a teen who gets beaten up for being gay, or about outcasts who come out and find they're still outcasts, albeit outcasts with their outcastedness in common.) I'm often asked if the book is a work of fantasy or a work of reality, and the answer is right down the middle - it's about where we're going, and where we should be. Of Boy Meets Boy, the reviewer at Booklist wrote: "In its blithe acceptance and celebration of human differences, this is arguably the most important gay novel since Annie on My Mind and seems to represent a revolution in the publishing of gay-themed books for adolescents" - which pretty much blew me away when I read it. Viva la revolution!

My second book, The Realm of Possibility, is about twenty teens who all go to the same high school, and how their lives interconnect. Each part is written in its own style, and I'm hoping they all add up to a novel that conveys all the randomness and intersection that goes on in our lives - two things I'm incredibly fascinated by. The book is written in both poetry and linebroken prose - something I never dreamed I would write. But I was inspired by writers such as Virginia Euwer Wolff, Billy Merrell, Eireann Corrigan, and Marie Howe to try it. It is often said that reading is the greatest inspiration to writing, and this is definitely the case for me.

My third novel, Are We There Yet?, is about two brothers who are tricked into taking a trip to Italy together. The natural questions to ask when faced with this summary are: (a) Do you have a brother? (Yes.); (b) Is he the brother in the book? (He's neither brother in the book.); (c) Have you been to Italy? (Yes.); (d) Which city was your favorite? (Venice.); (e) Is this based on your trip there? (The sights are, but the story isn't; the whole time I was there, I took notes in my notebook, not knowing exactly what they'd be for.)

Marly's Ghost, my fourth novel, is a Valentine's Day retelling of A Christmas Carol, illustrated by my friend Brian Selznick. To write it, I went through A Christmas Carol and remixed it - took phrases and themes and created a new version, centering around a boy named Ben whose girlfriend, Marly, has just died. When he looks like he's giving up on life, Marly reappears in ghost form - and sends some other ghosts to get him to embrace life again. It was a hard book to write - it's about both love and grief, two very difficult things to capture truthfully. But I genuinely don't see any reason to write a book if it doesn't feel like a challenge.

My next book came unexpectedly. My friend Rachel Cohn proposed that we write a back-and-forth novel, with her writing from a girl's perspective and me writing from a boy's. The result is Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, a kick- butt love story that we wrote over a summer without really planning it out. It just happened, and it was one of the best writing experiences I ever had. It has even been bought for the movies - stay tuned on that front.

A different kind of collaboration is The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Other Identities, an anthology I co-edited with my best friend Billy Merrell. It contains true stories from LGBTQ writers under the age of 23, and the Lambda Award for Best LBGTQ Children's/Teen Book.

Other anthologies I've edited or co-edited include: 21 Proms, a collection of prom stories by YA authors, co-edited with Daniel Ehrenhaft; Friends, an anthology of middle-grade friendship stories, co-edited with Ann M. Martin; and three PUSH anthologies of the best young writers and artists in America: You Are Here, This Is Now (2002), Where We Are, What We See (2005), We Are Quiet, We Are Loud (2008). Another PUSH anthology is This is PUSH, featuring new work from all of the authors who've written for PUSH.

My sixth novel, Wide Awake, starts with the election of the first gay Jewish president, and is about two boyfriends who must go to Kansas when the election results are threatened. In many ways, it's a "sequel in spirit" to Boy Meets Boy, since it's about many of the same things - love, friendship tolerance, and taking a stand for what you believe in. It was written right after the 2004 election, and published right before the 2006 election, which made me hope that a gay Jewish president was a closer reality than I might have thought. (No, I have no intention to run. But if you read the book now, it's sometimes how eerie how it echoes the 2008 race.)

My second collaboration with Rachel Cohn, Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List, was inspired by a phrase my best friend Nick and I came up with after he moved to New York City. It's about a straight girl and a gay boy who've been best friends forever . . . but have to deal with a lot of things that have gone unsaid after the boy (Ely) kisses the girl's (Naomi's) boyfriend. This time, Rachel and I decided to rotate the point of view between a number of characters, not just the titular two. The result was harder to write, but just as fun to create.

How They Met, and Other Stories, was published in 2008, which happened to be the twentieth anniversary of my Valentine Story tradition. It contains a few stories I wrote in high school and college, and more that I wrote more recently, some for anthologies, and some just for myself and my friends.

The first series I ever worked on (as a writer) is Likely Story, which I wrote with two of my friends, Chris Van Etten and David Ozanich, under the pen name David Van Etten. Chris and David both have experience working on soap operas, and had the idea for a TV show about the daughter of a soap opera diva who ends up running a soap opera of her own. I know nothing about writing a TV show, so I said, "Hey, that would be fun to write as a series of books, too!" And, voila!, Likely Story was born. It was a blast to write, and the main character, Mallory, is one of my favorites yet.

In 2009, Knopf published Love is the Higher Law. It's the story of three teenagers in New York on 9/11, and how their lives intertwine in the days and weeks and months that follow. I know this sounds grim, but it's really the story of things coming together even as it feels like the world is falling apart -- because that's how it felt to be in New York at that time, both tragic because of the events that happened and magical in the way that everyone became their better selves in the face of it. It's a love story between friends, a love story for a city, and a love story for love itself, and the way it can get us through things, however daunting or shocking they may be. Or at least that's what I aimed for. I hope you'll read it and let me know if I got there.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson started, in many ways, back in college, when I kept being mistaken for another student named David Leventhal. He was a beautiful dancer; I was not. So people would continually come up to me and say things like, "I saw you on stage last night - who would have thought you could be so graceful?" And I'd have to say, "Um...that wasn't me." Our paths finally crossed at the end of school, and we became best friends when we both moved to New York City - him to dance, me to edit and write. Fast forward ten years or so - I had the idea to write a book about two boys with the same name, and called my friend John Green about it. He said yes on the spot, and it took us five years from first conversation to publication day. The result? A novel about identity, love, and what it's like to make a musical out of your own life. You know, the universal themes.

My third novel with Rachel Cohn, called Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, came out in October 2010. It's a romantic cat-and-mouse chase through New York, with a special shoutout to The Strand, a bookstore I am particularly fond of.

The Lover's Dictionary, my first novel about post-teenagers, was published by FSG at the start of 2011. It's the story of a relationship told entirely in dictionary form. Once again, this started out as a Valentine's Day story, and grew from there. I'd often been asked if it would be different to write about adults than it is to write about teens, and I learned that, no, there isn't any difference. A story is a story. And when I write, I'm not thinking of audience -- just of being true to the story. My hope is Lover's Dictionary is as honest as I can be,

Upcoming? A different kind of YA collaboration for me -- a novel I wrote based on photographs my friend Jonathan Farmer gave me. I never knew which photo would come next, and he never knew what I was writing. The result is a very strange, somewhat dark, portrait of a boy on the verge of a complete breakdown. It's called Every You, Every Me, and it will be published in fall 2011.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#79 in Books > Teens
#79 in Books > Teens

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on August 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
FRIENDS: Stories About New Friends, Old Friends, and Unexpectedly True Friends is a collection of stories by many well-known children's authors. It celebrates the many different forms that friendship can take.

Allegra moves around a lot because her mother is always searching for a better life. She finds herself living in the Shady Grove Trailer Park in Alligator Grove, Florida. Her best friend, Alexandra, has red hair and freckles; the only problem is that she isn't a real person --- she's an imaginary friend. Sometimes that's the best friend a girl can have.

Squirrel is an old dog, and she has done fine on her own for most of her life. The garbage pile was her best friend for a long time, until she met another old girl named Susan. Maybe Squirrel does need a friend after all.

The eleven talented writers in this collection all recognize friendship for what it is: something intangible that passes between two people and creates a special bond. Sometimes the friendship lasts a lifetime, other times it is very brief. And sometimes the friendship is unexpected and comes as a surprise.

The authors of this collection have asked for all the profit from the book to go to the Lisa Libraries. This nonprofit organization donates new children's books to needy children to honor and memorialize children's book editor Lisa Novak. You can find out more about this organization by visiting [...]

Readers of FRIENDS will be able to enjoy touching stories of friendship and help a worthy cause at the same time.

--- Reviewed by Renee Kirchner ([...])
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