Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Pea's Book of Best Friends by Susie Day (Children's, 9 years, 10E/10E)

5th July 2012, Double Day
288 pages, Paperback
Review copy

Themes: chaos/excitement/upset of moving house, starting over at school, being friendless, sisterhood (including going along with crazy plans, getting coerced into believing something is a good idea when it clearly isn't, various pranks & squabbles), setting realistic expectations, finding friends, taking action to make things better, Tudor addict, mysterious doors, bizarre neighbours, sweet au pair, realities of being a writer, chapters of mischief and laughter, a few tissues needed

When Pea Llewellyn's dizzy but dazzling single mum becomes Marina Cove, author of the bestselling Mermaid Girls books, everything changes. It's time to leave their tiny flat in Tenby for a proper house in London, and a whole new life.

Pea likes the red front door, and the attic bedroom all to herself. She even likes her hideous new school uniform, in a masochistic Malory Towers sort of way. But there's an empty chair beside her in every lesson, and no one seems to want to fill it. In the absence of volunteers, Pea is going to have to acquire herself a best friend . . .

Nayuleska's thoughts

Pea and her sisters are hilarious. They have heaps of issues to deal with, some of which are huge even for an adult. Pea's main issue is finding a new best friend. She has a list which gradually reduces throughout the book of what a best friend should be like. She learns through her sisters that those who appear popular are often lonely, it's the quiet ones who need watching & often problems aren't discussed when they are small and managable and are left until something drastic happens.

I always enjoy characters like Clover just because I used to admire girls like her. I now know being myself is the best person I can be, a lesson the environment aware Clover learns. Equally I adore girls who play wicked pranks like Tinkerbell, just because I never dared rebel when I was little. A lot of the pranks were rather naughty, displaying her intelligence and thinking outside the nailed shut door. Pea is a happy medium as she does particiapte in a few tricks, pretends to be Clover to get friends but it doesn't work - she gets to see the consequences of what her sisters do, as well as learning that life as an adult is really like that of a child - only with responsibilities.

You can find out more on Susie's website. Book 2 is out in 2013!

Suggested read

For more siblings coping under unusual circumstances check out The Comic Cafe by Roger Stevens.

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