The Kind of Friends We Used to Be

The Kind of Friends We Used to Be

4.5 169
by Frances O'Roark Dowell
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Edgar Award–winning novelist Frances O’Roark Dowell explores the shifting terrain of middle-school friendship in this follow-up to the beloved The Secret Language of Girls. Kate and Marylin are smack dab in the middle of middle school—seventh grade—and they know they can never be best friends like they used to be. Marylin is a middle

See more details below

  • Checkmark Kids' Club Eligible  Shop Now

Overview

Edgar Award–winning novelist Frances O’Roark Dowell explores the shifting terrain of middle-school friendship in this follow-up to the beloved The Secret Language of Girls. Kate and Marylin are smack dab in the middle of middle school—seventh grade—and they know they can never be best friends like they used to be. Marylin is a middle school cheerleader obsessed with popularity and hairstyles, and Kate is the exact opposite with her combat boots and hankering to learn guitar and write her own songs. Still, Kate and Marylin yearn to find some middle ground for their friendship—but it’s harder than they ever imagined.

Editorial Reviews

Mary Quattlebaum
This touching sequel to The Secret Language of Girls alternates perspectives between Kate and Marylin. This allows for a nuanced portrait of an evolving friendship…By building sympathy for both characters, Frances O'Roark Dowell creates an emotionally complex story of girls going their separate ways but managing to reconnect, sometimes in a funny and poignant fashion.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

This sequel to Dowell's The Secret Language of Girls follows Marylin and Kate as they start seventh grade on a tense note, having drifted from being BFFs to being neighbors who tiptoe around each other, unsure of what to say. The third-person perspective shifts between the two: Marylin learns that being a cheerleader means putting up with obnoxious snobs, and Kate develops an interest in songwriting. This even-handedness is both a strength and a weakness. Both girls are sympathetic but the constant switching back and forth between their various crises-Marylin's parents' divorce; Kate's anxiety over a cute boy in her creative writing club-means neither girl's story gets substantial treatment. It's more a slice of middle school life, kept afloat by Dowell's smart insights into the way the middle school mind works. The territory is familiar, but for girls on either end of a friendship whose contours keep changing, Dowell's treatment will act as a balm. Ages 8-12. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

This insightful sequel to The Secret Language of Girls (S & S, 2004) stands alone, but readers will want to go back and find out more about these engaging characters. Kate and Marylin used to be best friends, but sixth grade changed things. Now, as seventh graders, they are trying to work their way back to the way things "used to be." But it's not so easy when they are so different; Kate's new passion is the guitar-and her heavy black boots-while Marylin, a cheerleader, is determined to be feminine and popular at all costs. Alternating points of view make it easy for readers to relate to both girls as they navigate friendship, romance, and family relationships. Dowell gets middle-school dynamics exactly right, and while her empathetic portraits of Kate and Marylin are genuine and heartfelt, even secondary characters are memorable. A realistic and humorous look at the trials and tribulations of growing up and growing independent.-Laurie Slagenwhite, Baldwin Public Library, Birmingham, MI

Kirkus Reviews
"Do you ever miss it?" Marylin asks Kate. "Being all-the-time friends, like we used to be?" The protagonists of 2005's The Secret Language of Girls return, their sixth-grade year having found these two BFFs drifting apart. One year further along, they are still negotiating their new relationship, cheerleader Marylin desperate to help her friend not seem quite so "weird," while budding rocker Kate declares, "I'm good the way I am." At school, the girls occupy their separate orbits, finding new friends and new interests while still checking in with each other. Marylin's decision to run for student government provides her the opportunity to define herself and to develop a more mature friendship with Kate. The shifting third-person narrative follows each girl in turn, investing both with clearly distinct and highly sympathetic personalities that lead them in occasionally criss-crossing directions; the questions they ask themselves as they try out new identities arise naturally and their answers are always disarmingly honest. Dowell's characteristically sensitive exploration of the inner lives of these two girls will resonate long and loud. (Fiction. 10-12)

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416997795
Publisher:
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
04/27/2010
Series:
Secret Language of Girls Trilogy Series, #2
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
151,592
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 5.24(h) x 0.68(d)
Lexile:
950L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >