“This story convinced me all over again that love and imagination are life’s biggest magic.” —Rebecca Stead, author of Newbery Award winner When You Reach Me
Ben Coffin has never been one for making friends. As a former foster kid, he knows people can up and leave without so much as a goodbye. Ben prefers to spend his time with the characters in his favorite sci-fi books…until he rescues an abandoned mutt from the alley next-door to the Coney Island Library.
Scruffy little Flip leads Ben to befriend a fellow book-lover named Halley—yes, like the comet—a girl unlike anyone he has ever met. Ben begins thinking of her as “Rainbow Girl” because of her crazy-colored clothes and her laugh, pure magic, the kind that makes you smile away the stormiest day.
Rainbow Girl convinces Ben to write a novel with her. But as their story unfolds Ben’s life begins to unravel, and Ben must discover for himself the truth about friendship and the meaning of home.
Paul Griffin’s breathtaking middle-grade debut will warm your heart as much as it breaks it.
"Full of pace and laughter, bruises and heart. Paul Griffin is the sort of writer you're torn between telling the whole world about and keeping all to yourself."—Markus Zusak, author of Printz Honor Winner The Book Thief
“‘Friendship’ is an absolutely beautiful, heart-expanding book. I cried, but more than that I felt this giant balloon of love for everyone. This story convinced me all over again that love and imagination are life’s biggest magic. It’ll make you want to grab hold of everyone important to you and lick them on the nose.” —Rebecca Stead, author of Newbery Award winner When You Reach Me
"Some books change the way you see the world. Some change the way you breathe. This book will leave you breathless. This is Paul Griffin's best book yet—and that's really saying something." —Patricia McCormick, author of National Book Award Finalist Sold
"When Friendship Followed Me Home is both a beautiful book, and an honest book; it is, in fact, beautiful because it is honest. We see the pain of loss, and the glory of community. We see love in its many forms, and we witness the truth that love goes on despite all barriers. Cheer for Ben and Halley: it is kids like these who are our hope.” —Gary D. Schmidt, author of Okay for Now
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
1 CHUNKY MOLD
You’d have to be nuts to trust a magician. I learned that lesson the hard way. And then, if you can believe it, I actually became a magician’s assistant. That part was the Rainbow Girl’s fault, but the rest of it I blame on a little dog named Flip.
The trouble started the second Friday of seventh grade. Damon Rayburn shoved me out of the lunch line. “Thanks, Coffin,” he said.
“For what?” I said.
“Offering to buy me a slice.”
If you think a little threat like that could get me to surrender my pizza money to an idiot like Damon Rayburn, you know me pretty well. He slapped the back of my head and cut to the front of the line.
“You’re half a foot taller than him, Coffin,” this kid half a foot shorter than Rayburn said. His name was Chucky Mull, but everybody called him Chunky Mold. “You should have belted him. Now he knows he can push you around.”
“Allow me to quote Yoda, from The Empire Strikes Back,” I said. “‘A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.’”
“You were being called upon to defend your inalienable right to eat meatball pizza,” Mold said.
“Yoda also says don’t be a wimp.”“Yoda never uses the word wimp.”
“He says, ‘Fear is the path to the dark side.’ Dude, hello, The Phantom Menace?”
There was no debating Mold on this stuff. He had the T-shirts—the sheets too. I shoved him toward our spot far, far away in the dark corner where they kept the garbage dumpster nobody ever dumped. Mold’s mom had stuck a note on the waxed paper that barely covered his foot-long hero. It said, LOVE YOU. ⁄ He tossed the note and crammed a hunk of sandwich into his mouth. “Any chance you would consider splitting that with me?” I said. “Come on, Mold, you’ll never be able to finish the whole thing.”
“Watch me,” Chucky said. “Holy crud, here she comes.”Mrs. Pinto worked her way toward us. She was really pretty for a principal or even a normal human being. “Hi guys,” she said.
“Good, how are you?” Mold said.
“If you ever need anything, stop by my office, okay?”
“You too,” Mold said.Mrs. Pinto patted my shoulder as she left.
“She totally just touched you,” Chucky said. “You, a loser, caressed on your loser shoulder by Mrs. P. I sent her the wink almost like four hours ago now. Nothing. Why are you staring at me like that? Dude, the emoticon? Are you visiting from The Stone Age?”
“I know what the wink is. I just can’t believe you sent her one.”
“So?”“She’s old. Mold, she’s like thirty.”
“It’s not what you think. On Facebook the wink is a sign of supreme respect. It’s like when somebody inspires you, you wink at them. It’s true. It’s an ancient custom that goes all the way back to classical times, the Greeks and Romanians. It’s like you’re bowing to her to acknowledge her awesomeness.”
“Then why not just send her a bow?”
“Because there’s no emoticon for that, you moron. Just because she has a totally amazing butt doesn’t mean she can’t be my hero too, for her, you know, incredible wisdom and everything.”
“That’s why you winked at her—her wisdom.”
“What do you know anyway? You’re not even on Facebook. It’s a real thing, I swear. In many cultures it’s considered rude not to send the wink.” He batted away a fly from where the peanut butter slimed his lip like a gluey booger.
I had to believe him, firstly because you can tell when somebody’s lying, and he truly didn’t think he was, and most of all because he was right about me not being on Facebook. The whole friends thing: It wasn’t really happening. Even Mold was more aggravation than ally. I moved to the neighborhood less than two years before. In a year me and my mom were heading to Florida, right after she retired. We could live great down there for cheap, she said. I figured why bother making friends when I was out of here pretty soon?
“Chucky, not even a bite? Really?” I said.
“Dream on,” he said, or something like that. I couldn’t tell with the sandwich all gunked up in his braces.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When i first started reading it i wasnt to into it but then about 1/4 into the book i began to loveit! I coulfnt put it do and reading it mademe grin. But eventually it mad me cry even tho i know its just a book. :p but it was definittly one of the best books ive ever read i HIGHLY recommend this book
Its kinda confusing at points but I thinks such a deatailed book and there was alot of thought put into writing this book.
Its kind of like the fault in our stars, or mayday. It makes you sad and happy at the same time~ the oracle at delphi
I have not laughed and cried while reading a book in a long time. I thought I knew what was happening, and I was correct once and wrong once, but cried equally both times. The relationships and humor in this book lightened it so that although it can be sad at parts it isn't depressing. And guess what...after reading this book I seriously went out and adopted a dog! Unfortunately she needs a little more training to be "Flip"-like, but I love her anyway! Think Fault in Our Stars but taken down to a level appropriate for, but CERTAINLY NOT limited to, 5th and 6th grade.
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book as it's my first Paul Griffin book. I thought it might be a little young for me since I'm in my 40s but I was wrong. It's complex, heart-wrenching, funny, and totally kept me guessing. Somehow he made serious themes within the book seem relatable to everyone, at any age. It's honest and painful yet you can't put it down. A definite must read for all ages. We can all learn something from this book.
My 11 year old daughter and I both really enjoyed "Adrift", so we were excited to have the opportunity to read Paul Griffin's new release "When Friendship Followed Me Home". Once again, Paul manages to capture your attention with charming characters and engaging story lines that leave you laughing, crying and wishing the story did not have to end. Given that the book is aimed at middle grade readers, I am impressed with the way that he gently handles adult themes such as love, family tensions, serious illness and loss (on several levels). Readers of all ages will enjoy this heart-warming story about friendship, family and finding your way through a life filled with twists and turns.