The Hard Kind of Promise [NOOK Book]

Overview

Sarah promised Marjorie when they were five years old that they would be best friends forever. But that was before seventh grade, when everything changed—everything except Marjorie. While Sarah wants to meet new people and try new things, Marjorie still likes doing the same things they always did. It seems the more time the two girls spend together, the more time Sarah wants to spend apart. How did a promise that was so easy to make become so hard to keep?

With beautifully drawn...

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The Hard Kind of Promise

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Overview

Sarah promised Marjorie when they were five years old that they would be best friends forever. But that was before seventh grade, when everything changed—everything except Marjorie. While Sarah wants to meet new people and try new things, Marjorie still likes doing the same things they always did. It seems the more time the two girls spend together, the more time Sarah wants to spend apart. How did a promise that was so easy to make become so hard to keep?

With beautifully drawn characters and vivid details, this incisive novel portrays middle school in all its complexity—both the promise of what is to come and the pain of what must be left behind.

This e-book includes a sample chapter of PRETTIEST DOLL.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this quiet, strongly realistic novel, Willner-Pardo (My Mom and Other Mysteries of the Universe) explores the intricacies of preadolescent social life, where the worst possible thing is to be "weird." Seventh-grader Sarah struggles between her devotion to her longtime best friend Marjorie--who is weird, and doesn't seem to care--and her new, cooler, but not as interesting friends. She loves and admires Marjorie for her idiosyncratic individuality but, acutely aware of social mores, cringes when she sees her through the eyes of other seventh-graders (Marjorie "was still wearing shirts with cartoon characters on them"). Mild and accepting on the outside, Sarah is inwardly obsessed with trying to understand how personality and popularity develop: "If you could just turn out weird for no reason, then maybe you could become weird out of the blue. The idea absolutely terrified her." Sarah matures in a believably clear-eyed manner as she explores a new friendship, discovers a talent for playing poker, and finds unexpected joy in singing in the school choir. Willner-Pardo's avoidance of overblown crises and dramatic climaxes creates a steadily paced, authentic story. Ages 10-up. (June)
From the Publisher
"A quiet, strongly realistic novel."—Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

"This changing-friendship novel is refreshingly presented without villains or victims. . . . A perceptive, poignant novel of middle-school identity and friendship."—The Horn Book

"A particularly accessible [story]. . . . Readers will sympathize intensely with Sarah's dilemma."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"The dialogue is right-on, and readers will recognize the vicious social warfare from the lunchroom to the school bus."—Booklist

"A heartwarming story about life's unexpected lessons, through the eyes of a girl experiencing them for the first time."—School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
Middle school is turning out to be more difficult than Sarah Franklin anticipated but not because of the classes or multiple teachers. It is fitting in and learning the unwritten rules of social interaction that are tough to understand, especially with a BFF like Marjorie Fingerhut. Marjorie does not just march to her own drummer; she leads the band with outlandish clothes, smelly lunches, and inappropriate discussion of body functions with people who could ease the way for Sarah into social acceptance. Sarah's mother says that it is okay to have a lot of friends, but the new friends that Sarah makes do not want to hang out with Marjorie. So Sarah has to choose between loyalty to Marjorie or acceptance by slightly cooler Lizzy and Carly. At first glance, this title is another learning-the-rules-of-early-adolescence book, but it is really more than that because Willner-Pardo has an excellent ear for the inner voices of preteens, child-like one day and right at the threshold of full teen behavior, the next. The angst of choosing new alliances and discovering the opposite sex is there, as well. She also captures the tough decisions that middle school sets forth when kids are forced to forge an identity by the classes that they pick: will it be socially gold sports participation, the more artsy world of the choir kid, or film and anime club geekdom. In addition, the author portrays many kinds of family configurations including single mom, remarried dad, four parents, and extended families. This book oozes empathy, especially for young girls trying to make the tough kid-to-teen transitions. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Sarah has always found Marjorie's odd behavior entertaining and charming. She never questioned their promise, made at age five, to be best friends forever. Then, in seventh grade, Marjorie's smelly lunches, love of old movies, and insistence that her friend play a big blue alien for her film production project cause Sarah to pull away. When she overhears a classmate call her a loser for hanging out with Marjorie, Sarah begins pursuing new friendships with girls in her choir class. These kids are classic seventh-grade-snarky, yet somehow also endearing. Sarah awkwardly tries to include Marjorie, who refuses to fall into anyone's idea of normal, while simultaneously trying to be popular and become her own person. Sarah's emotional turmoil and guilt over the changing friendship is painfully and realistically portrayed, but gentle humor keeps the story light. The sensitively drawn and satisfying conclusion will have girls nodding their heads with understanding as Sarah struggles with the promise she made years ago. A heartwarming story about life's unexpected lessons, through the eyes of a girl experiencing them for the first time.—Mandy Lawrence, Fowler Middle School, Frisco, TX
Kirkus Reviews
The title refers to the promise five-year-old Sarah and Marjorie made "to be best friends . . . forever." Now they are in seventh grade and something has changed-"Nothing ever bothered Marjorie. Which was part of the problem." Sarah begins noticing boys, worries about what others think and starts to chafe under the pressure of being Marjorie's best friend. Although Marjorie has been a steady, understanding support through Sarah's bumpy life, she now seems increasingly freakish and embarrassing. Conflicted by staying true to her promise while trying to figure out what she wants for herself, Sarah suffers through a series of uncomfortable situations that pit her budding desires to sing and make new friends against loyalty to her fading friendship with Marjorie. Willner-Pardo captures Sarah's torment well, and readers will vacillate between frustration and empathy with her actions. Scenes with Sarah's practical mom and salty Grandpa offer some comic relief, as do those showcasing Marjorie's fierce individualism. After a few too many episodes of anguish, the plot resolves on a realistic trajectory, but perhaps a bit too neatly. (Fiction. 10-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547487458
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 6/7/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • File size: 884 KB

Meet the Author

Gina Willner-Pardo is the author of 15 books, including Jason and the Losers and Figuring Out Frances, which won the Bank Street College of Education Josette Frank Award. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2011

    hmmm.......

    ........ theres classic seventh grade for you.....

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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