Friday, September 25, 2015

Anna Banana and the friendship split by Anica Mrose Rissi, illustrated by Meg Park

This looked like a really fun new beginning/intermediate chapter series with a diverse main character. But for some reason it just didn't grab me.

Anna loves her best friend Sadie, but they don't always get along. She thinks Sadie is lucky, with parents who let her do whatever she wants. But Sadie can also be bossy and mean. When they have a fight on Anna's birthday, she's devastated and at first tries to make up with Sadie. But then she realizes she needs to stand up for herself and tries...but it all goes wrong. Does she have to choose a new best friend?

I guess what mainly bothered me about this is that Anna's parents are supposed to be a contrast to Sadie's - involved, caring, etc. But it takes them quite a while to realize that something is drastically wrong with Anna and then they just...don't really do anything. Really, I suppose I'm looking at it from an adult standpoint and not how it would appear to a kid, so it's not a legitimate complaint, but it just bothered me.

There are illustrations throughout the book, but this was an ARC so I didn't see the finished illustrations. Despite my own reservations, if you have readers who like stories about friendship with lots of interpersonal stuff going on, this would definitely be a good choice. The writing is snappy and fresh, the characters aren't too stereotyped for this type of book, and a lot of kids struggle with friendship issues.

Verdict: I think this just wasn't a good fit for me personally, since I dislike stories that focus primarily on relationships and this whole series looks like it's going to be one friendship drama after another. I'm going to take the ARC to work and see what my book club kids think about it, but most of my readers are more interested in books where something happens (although that might be my own bias coming through) so I don't think this series is necessary for us. However, it's really nice to see a diverse main character and if I had a bigger budget I'd definitely add this one.

ISBN: 9781481416054; Published May 2015 by Simon and Schuster; ARC provided at ALA Midwinter 2015

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