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For Keeps

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Overview

For sixteen years, Josie Gardner and her mom, Kate, have been a team. It's been the Gardner Girls against the world, and that's how Josie likes it. Until one day, they find out that Paul Tucci, Kate's high school boyfriend-the father Josie has never met-is back in town. Josie's mom suddenly turns back into the heartbroken teenager she was when Paul moved away. Meanwhile, Josie's on the verge of having her first real boyfriend. And when Josie learns some surprising truths about Paul Tucci and the past, she begins ...

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Overview

For sixteen years, Josie Gardner and her mom, Kate, have been a team. It's been the Gardner Girls against the world, and that's how Josie likes it. Until one day, they find out that Paul Tucci, Kate's high school boyfriend-the father Josie has never met-is back in town. Josie's mom suddenly turns back into the heartbroken teenager she was when Paul moved away. Meanwhile, Josie's on the verge of having her first real boyfriend. And when Josie learns some surprising truths about Paul Tucci and the past, she begins questioning what she thought she knew, and finds out what happens when a girl gets the guy she always wanted and the dad she never knew she needed.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Having been deserted by her father before she was born, Josie fears abandonment and heartbreak. Her mother fuels this fear with her own reluctance to pursue relationships. Luckily Josie's best friend, Liv, encourages her to make connections with her family and with the very cute and enigmatic Matt. When the parents of Josie's estranged father move back to the area, Josie forges a friendship with her grandfather that gives her some insight into her roots. A tragedy brings the truth about Josie's family to light and provides an unexpected opportunity to forge new relationships. Believable characters and smart dialogue make this story both memorable and entertaining. Fast-paced and full of little twists, Josie's story is a sweet and savvy coming-of-age tale. The story is only slightly marred by its unfortunately saccharine ending, in which everything conveniently works out for the best. Readers will root for Josie and Matt's budding romance, sympathize with the difficulties surrounding unconventional families and be inspired by Liv's honesty and quirkiness. Hopeful and endearing. (Fiction. 14 & up)
Publishers Weekly
Like the Gilmore Girls, the Gardner girls are close friends as well as mother and daughter. When she was 16, Kate dropped out of high school to give birth to Josie, while her high school sweetheart, Paul (the father), moved to Arizona with his family. Now, 16 years later, Paul's parents have returned, pushing the past back into the present. Although Josie has no desire to meet her father, fate intervenes and secrets are revealed to Josie and Kate about the circumstances of Josie's birth. Adding to the drama are new men in the lives of both Gardners, and a pregnancy scare for Josie's sassy best friend, Liv, which allow for additional discussions about teen pregnancy and safe sex. Josie's dry sense of humor (“Here I am, asking the question to end all questions... and this is what I get. My head is pounding. I need coffee”) helps balance out the heavier themes. Things wrap up a bit neatly and Josie tends toward the theatrical, but Friend (Bounce) weaves a strong story that should hook readers. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
Booklist
This isn't just an issue-driven story. There is a real plot, filled with fast, immediate dialogue.
Children's Literature - Annie Laura Smith
Josie finds herself becoming the mother as her mom reverts to a teen fantasy and a romance of her own. Because Josie has had her single mother to herself for sixteen years, sharing her with her mother's new romantic interest becomes problematic. Now that both mother and daughter have boyfriends, their family companionship becomes less involved. Josie wonders whether her new boyfriend will hurt her just like her father hurt her mother by leaving her to become a single parent. The dynamics of her paternal grandparent's return to town and the relationship of mother and daughter with their new romantic interests provide excellent conflict and resolutions throughout the story. It focuses on the issues of dating, teen pregnancy, and safe sex. These teen issues are similar to Friend's earlier books, Lush and Perfect. These two books address alcoholism and eating disorders. Each of the three books present issues about which teens need to be aware because these challenges face many adolescents. Reviewer: Annie Laura Smith
VOYA - Nikita Agrawal
For Keeps opens with Josie, an adolescent without—but not in search of—a father or boyfriend. As complications arise, however, Josie finds herself reluctantly accepting new truths and making new choices, changing her life and the way she lives it. Although characterization remains shallow and the plot predictable, Friend humorously captures the universal challenge of transitioning from youth to adulthood. Friend's tale is a great read for any early teenager! Reviewer: Nikita Agrawal, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Isabel Crevasse
Fun and engrossing, this novel is populated with surprisingly realistic, human characters. If Josie and Kate's relationship begins a bit too Gilmore Girls-ian, it quickly evolves into a real mother-daughter relationship, complete with frustration, tears, and awkward make-ups. Teens will recognize—and laugh at—Josie's perfect description of the "Makeup Mafia." Although not a new story, it is an enchanting read. Teens will have fun reading. Reviewer: Isabel Crevasse, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Lauri J. Vaughan
Josie Gardner and her single mother, Kate, have navigated through life without Josie's father, Paul Tucci, for the last sixteen years quite happily. Signs of his imminent arrival—specifically the return of Paul's elderly parents to the small town where Kate grew up and has raised Josie—are not particularly welcome. Enter Jonathan—Kate's first serious romance in years—to sufficiently refocus her attention just in time. Enter, also, Matt Rigsby—Josie's first serious romance ever. Equilibrium is short-lived in the Gardner household, however. Jonathan's presence is taking far more of her mother's time than Josie would like. Best friend Liv is not being terribly sympathetic—in fact, she thinks Josie's being selfish. The relationship with Matt is heating up, and what is she to do about grandfather Tucci—who does not know that he is a grandfather but enjoys showing up at the coffee shop where Josie works? Through Josie's snappy narration, Friend manages to make the reader feel like a regular at the coffee shop rather than a detached observer. The pacing is excellent, and sharp transitions keep the story moving. Friend artfully cloaks several somewhat-serious coming-of-age issues in the winsome adventures of Josie and Liv. Josie is forced to confront her feelings about the father she believes skipped out before she was born, as well as the assumptions about her parents' relationship. On the surface, this novel is a light teen read. Enough thoughtful moments will keep it on the radar long past when similar titles will have faded from memory. Reviewer: Lauri J. Vaughan
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Josie's junior year is more eventful than she had expected. While navigating her first serious romance, she must come to terms with the fact that her mother has a boyfriend for the first time in 16 years. Josie has never known her father, who moved out of state with his family before she was born. When her paternal grandparents move back into town, she has to face the possibility of meeting him. This fast-paced story takes many twists and turns as the teen discovers the truth behind her parents' separation and her father's absence. Josie is humorous and sincere as she narrates both her mother's struggle and her own to let go of the past and embrace new relationships. The book discusses sex and abortion, and includes adult language and underage drinking. Many readers will be able to relate to this protagonist, whose strength and maturity set a positive example. Friend skillfully portrays the challenges of adolescence while telling an engaging story with unique and genuine characters.—Erin Carrillo, formerly at Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142418468
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/2011
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,388,219
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Natasha Friend was born to an English professor father and a poet/actress mother. She was raised in a house without a television. At the time, she thought this was the worst form of child abuse. Now, she understands the method to her parents’ madness: they wanted her to be a reader. Spending most of her childhood at the Hamilton Public Library, Natasha found her mecca, the young-adult section, and her hero, Judy Blume. She, too, wanted to write stories about girls who felt alone. Girls whose parents were screw-ups. Girls with spunk and spirit and resolve.

Natasha began dictating stories to her father, who typed them up on his 1930’s Remington typewriter. Most involved rainbows, unicorns, and poor orphan girls discovering treasure. She knew she was supposed to be a writer in seventh grade, when a sweet boy gave her a love poem and she felt compelled to correct it for syntax and rhyme scheme. Today, Natasha is the award-winning author of Perfect, Lush, Bounce, For Keeps, and My Life in Black and White. When she isn’t writing, she is building forts and making chocolate-chip pancakes. Natasha lives on the Connecticut shoreline with her husband, three children, and dog, Beckett.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 28 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2013

    Anonymous

    I read this book and it was sooo good that I read it 3 TIMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ITS OFFICIALLY MY FAVE BOOK OF ALL TIME! I LOVE ALL THE ROMANCE!!!! NATASHA FRIEND IS MY FAVE AUTHOR EVAAAAA!!!!!!! WISH I COULD GIVE IT................. INFINITY STARS!!!!!!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    The story For Keeps by Natasha Friend is a book that tells a fresh, funny, and smart story about what happens when girl gets the guy of her dreams and a dad she never knew she needed. The main characters are a 16 year old girl named Josie, her strong, beautiful, and young
    mother Kate, and her unique and bold best friend Liv. The story takes place in the month of August before school starts and many months through out the school year.
    When Josie starts school her life is almost perfect, she has a job, a best friend, plays soccer, and has a wonderful mother. The only thing she doesn't have is the boy she has always wanted and a father. On the last friday of august before the new school year Josie and her mom Kate are at Shop-Co to get groceries when her mom sees her ex boyfriend from high school (also Josie's father)'s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Tucci.
    During the book Josie finds love, her father and a lot more reasons to be happy. This book spoke to me as a person because I know if my father was not there for the first sixteen years of my life I probably would have acted the same way Josie did. I think the author's purpose of writing this book was to reach out to younger teenage readers like me and maybe try and relate to some of our stories. I think the moral of this story is to always be true to yourself and that everything will work out in the end. From this book i learned to be thank full for what I have, like my family, because some people don't have all that I do. If you are someone who likes to read about fun loving books and heartwarming stories, I recommend this book to you.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2012

    This totally deserves five stars.

    ?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2012

    A good book :D

    I really enjoyed this book because of the cute moments between josie and her bf :P

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    Wonderful!

    I am a huge fan of Natasha Friends books and when i read the sample of this book I was excited to buy it. Friend has written 4 books including this one, they are all unique. Many authors who write more than one book continue to keep the same trends but Natasha Friend has consistant new ideas that keep the reader interested. Books like Friends are the reason I actually read. Natasha Friend is helping millions of kids actually enjoy reading books and I just had to let you know how good of an author she really is!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 26, 2011

    Ok!

    This was a good book! Gilmore Girls is my all time favorite tv show, so when i saw this book being compared to it i was so exicted! I was a little let down by this book but only because i excpeted to much!

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    For keeps

    This book was pretty good

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 3, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Give It a Read!!!

    When I read the first five words of the Publisher's review online below the book info I was a goner for this book. The first five words were "Just like the Gilmore Girls". I was sold right then and there on this book. To put it simply lets just say I am a Gilmore Girls FANATIC! So, if you like me are a crazy fan of GG pick up this book!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 23, 2011

    its cute

    Its a good quick read. Some parts are ...sort of predictiable though. I still reccommend it. ;)

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    Posted January 4, 2010

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    Posted September 18, 2011

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