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A Little Friendly Advice Hardcover – March 1, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for A Little Friendly Advice: "Populated with real characters who have authentic emotions, this debut novel manages to be at once uplifting and heart wrenching. Vivian is clearly an author to watch." -Kirkus Reviews "Cultural references keep the narrative hip, but it's Vivian's skill at subtly shaping the personalities that makes the book work." -San Francisco Chronicle "A bright new voice that holds nothing back." -Cecil Castellucci, author of Boy Proof

About the Author

Siobhan Vivian is the author of the PUSH novels A Little Friendly Advice and Same Difference. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Push (March 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545004047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545004046
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,603,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Let me give you A Little Friendly Advice: Read Siobhan Vivian's debut novel. Now.

Realistic from the get-go and written in present tense, the rhythmic and funny narrative will grab readers right away. It all starts when four people come to celebrate with a birthday girl - one of whom was not invited.

The book begins on Ruby's Sweet Sixteen, when the birthday girl hanging out in her humble house with her mom, waiting for her friends to arrive. She has ziti, a whale-shaped ice-cream cake, and a foil party crown.

Shortly after receiving an old Polaroid camera from her mom, Ruby tests out her gift, capturing her mom in a little white square. The guests start to arrive, and Ruby takes a picture of each one. Her friends are very distinguishable, both in looks and in personality. First is Beth, petite, exuberant, the best friend ever. Next comes maudlin Katherine, who is far more Beth's friend than Ruby's, and two years ahead of the other girls in school. In bounces sassy Maria, thus completing the guest list.

Then the last person Ruby ever expected to walk through that door does exactly that. She takes the opportunity to run out of the door, her friends close behind her. His presence pushes the story forward, as his long-term absence has huge part of her past.

Along comes someone else, someone new. His name is Charlie, and he's a sweet, easygoing boy who likes to make buttons and conversation. Like a picture from Ruby's camera, Charlie will instantly capture the hearts of readers, but it will take a while for their relationship to develop - and he'll patiently wait.

There are plenty of laughs to be had and tears to be shed, sometimes simultaneously, as Ruby re-evaluates her friendships and her parents' divorce.
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Format: Hardcover
A Little Friendly Advice, Siobhan Vivian's fantastic debut novel, is blurbed on the back cover by Cecil Castellucci and Maureen Johnson. To some of you, blurbs may not matter, but for me, a book blurbed by two fantastic authors always moves higher up on the to-be-read stack! Which is good for the book, but it also probably raises my expectations, which could turn out to make me unreasonably disappointed.

In this case, however, those high expectations were certainly warranted! I absolutely loved A Little Friendly Advice. It's a smart, funny novel that is mainly about people and their relationships (friends, love interests, and family). It all starts on Ruby's sixteenth birthday, when her father shows up unexpectedly after years of being totally out of the picture. She was planning on a nice celebration with her mother and group of three close friends (her longtime best friend, Beth, her boy-crazy sometimes-outrageous friend, Maria, and the new addition to their group, Katherine), but all that goes out the window when Jim comes through the front door.

One good thing does come out of Ruby's birthday, though: her mother has gotten her an old Polaroid camera, which she uses to document the events that follow. She realizes her best friend, Beth, has been keeping secrets from her, but with good intentions. She must make some difficult choices about her relationship (or lack thereof) with her father. A new guy steps into her life, Charlie; this is a new area for never-been-kissed Ruby! The friendship dynamics within her group are changing, too. The next few days are very eventful for Ruby, and it's all a bit much for a girl to handle alone, and her friends' advice may not always be for the best.
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Format: Hardcover
A Little Friendly Advice has its ups and downs, but overall was a bit of a disappointment. If I had read this book by Siobhan Vivian first, I probably would have had a better impression, but having read Same Difference and knowing she's capable of great things, this was a letdown. The writing was fantastic, she really does know how to bring the masterful language, but the plot was pretty pathetic, not gonna lie. The situations were realistic, the dialogue was realistic, but the combination of the different plots just doesn't work. A lot of the emotions seem natural, but some seem extremely blown out of proportion. I'm also aggravated that there was even the need for a cliche love interest, and I feel it would have been a great book without that element. Family and friend issues are more than enough to deal with, but having that supportive boyfriend there, that's going too far. There is some obnoxious symbolism here, but I'm really not sure if it was intentional or not. I think what bothered me most was that a lot of this book was ridiculously shallow. Ruby has so much going on in her life, and how does she fix it? By getting drunk at age 16, of course. I'm not saying that's not realistic, I just don't think it was the best decision creatively. It is one of those scenes where I cringed the whole way through, and particularly upon seeing her mother's reaction. Other than that, plenty of flat characters that I had trouble caring about, not enough detail about the interesting characters and too much on the boring ones. The relationships are, with minor exceptions, extremely empty. Empty flirting, empty friendships, unfortunately accurate, but still empty. I was, for the most part, glad with the ending, although again, the love interest is just irritating. The plot twist at the end redeemed the book for me greatly, but I still greatly preferred Same Difference to this.

Rating: 2.25/5
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