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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Niki Ames can't wait to start eighth grade, that all-important year before high school. She and her best friend Ava have shared so many plans for the coming year. But then the unthinkable happens: at gym class pair-up, Ava chooses someone else to be her partner. Niki is devastated. It's clear that Ava wants to be part of the popular group, leaving Niki behind. Niki has to decide who her real frien…

Bad Best Friend

by Rachel Vail

Overall Book Review:

After loving Well, That Was AwkwardI was anxious to read Rachel Vail’s latest novel, Bad Best Friend. Vail definitely met my expectations. Dripping with dry humor and sarcasm, you’ll love her writing. She gave us the less-than-confident main character Niki, who is always bending over backward for her BFF, Ava, who apparently doesn’t know how to be a good friend or really do anything that doesn’t shine the spotlight on herself. Then there’s the popular trio, present in any middle school, who you can’t quite tell if they’re sincere or fake. Don’t forget the ancient gym teacher who doesn’t care about conforming and tells it like it is. Throw in several characters who actually know how to be good friends to Niki and try to help her feel good in her own skin but it will take some time to see who she decides to listen to. Also, in the mix is Niki’s little brother who is just a little different from others his age. Vail addresses the relevant issue, that many families are dealing with, of trying to diagnose the differences and struggles that a lot of kids are experiencing. One of the best parts is when one of the characters gets new glasses. Anyone who’s ever gotten glasses will love and relate well to this comical part. If you enjoyed The Queen Bee and Meor you love coming-of-age stories you definitely need to give this book a chance. Five stars for Rachel Vail’s satirical Bad Best Friend!

Review of an Advanced Reading Copy provided by the Publisher for Review

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  3 religious exclamations; 14 abbreviated religious exclamations; 1 mild obscenity; 7 scatological words.

Violence/Gore:  Several (16) brief incidents including characters joking about death and wanting to hurt another; reference to an elderly person dying in the near future; reference to animals getting killed; reference to a person dying from cancer; reference to hurricane destroying things; second-hand report of a young character throwing a book at someone; reference to drowning; second-hand report of a character crashing on a bike and receiving a minor injury; second-hand report of a young character getting upset and throwing things that end up breaking and cause another to cut her finger on broken glass. 

Sex/Nudity:  Several (11) brief incidents involving young teens including references to characters liking another; flirting; holding hands; kissing; character saying he will ask a girl if he can kiss her later and touches her chin; character kissing another against her will; reference to female body parts and menstrual period; character asking another if her pottery creation is supposed to look like male genitalia (it isn’t).

Mature Subject Matter:

Crude talk about wetting pants; lying; willingness to shoplift; possible parental divorce.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Reference to adults drinking wine; adults drinking and smoking at a party.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I love being able to help busy parents who just don’t have the time to pre-screen all their children’s books and know how much I appreciate it as my sons have gotten older. I feel very blessed that my amazing husband makes it possible for me to be a stay-at-home mother to four amazing boys. When not reading or enjoying time with my family, I like baking, especially trying new recipes, and the occasional sewing project.