When her best friend’s parents separate, a seventh grader struggles to keep their friendship alive
When Carrie and Jill are alone together, they can be anyone in the whole world. Whether they’re pretending to be movie stars, environmental activists, or the leaders of the free world, there is one thing they don’t have to imagine: They are as close as any friends could be. Going into seventh grade, there is a lot that Carrie is afraid of, but she knows Jill will be by her side forever—until, suddenly, she’s not.
When Jill’s father announces that he wants a divorce, it puts a distance between the two friends that never used to be there. As Jill’s life falls apart around her, Carrie must find a way to talk to her friend again and save her from a problem that’s anything but make-believe.
Seventh graders Carrie Baird-Talmann and Jill Densley have been best friends for as long as they can remember. But when Jill's father leaves his wife for another woman, the girls' relationship and their parents' long-standing friendship are dealt what may be a fatal blow. In an intriguing reworking of a classic problem-novel theme, the story is told from Carrie's point of view, not Jill's, and focuses on the Baird-Talmann clan's efforts to cope with the repercussions of the Densleys' separation. Unsure of how to reach out to her friend, Carrie is hurt and jealous when Jill seems to prefer the company of a classmate whose parents are divorced. The urgent, rather melodramatic narrative also describes Carrie's newfound anxieties: when her father fails to show up for a tennis date, she assumes that he, too, has abandoned his family. Only occasionally is the book's overall grimness alleviated by Pfeffer's ( The Year Without Michael ) wonderfully authentic snatches of preteen conversation. Contrived scenes--such as the ill-starred attempt of Jill's father to introduce his girlfriend to Carrie's family--and two-dimensional adult characters give the novel a stiff, preachy quality. Ages 9-12.