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Friend or Fiction

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One creative middle-schooler schooler discovers that the best friend a girl can have is the one she makes herself in this charming magical realism read. Jade's life hasn't exactly been normal lately, especially since her dad's cancer diagnosis. Jade wishes her family could leave their no-name town in Colorado already--everybody else does sooner rather than later, including One creative middle-schooler schooler discovers that the best friend a girl can have is the one she makes herself in this charming magical realism read. Jade's life hasn't exactly been normal lately, especially since her dad's cancer diagnosis. Jade wishes her family could leave their no-name town in Colorado already--everybody else does sooner rather than later, including every best friend Jade's ever had. So she makes one up. In the pages of her notebook, she writes all about Zoe--the most amazing best friend anyone could dream of. But when pretend Zoe appears in real life thanks to a magical experiment gone right, Jade isn't so sure if she likes sharing her imaginary friend with the real world. To keep her best friend (and even make some new ones), Jade learns how to cope with jealousy, that friends should let friends be true to themselves, and that maybe the perfect best friend doesn't exist after all.


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One creative middle-schooler schooler discovers that the best friend a girl can have is the one she makes herself in this charming magical realism read. Jade's life hasn't exactly been normal lately, especially since her dad's cancer diagnosis. Jade wishes her family could leave their no-name town in Colorado already--everybody else does sooner rather than later, including One creative middle-schooler schooler discovers that the best friend a girl can have is the one she makes herself in this charming magical realism read. Jade's life hasn't exactly been normal lately, especially since her dad's cancer diagnosis. Jade wishes her family could leave their no-name town in Colorado already--everybody else does sooner rather than later, including every best friend Jade's ever had. So she makes one up. In the pages of her notebook, she writes all about Zoe--the most amazing best friend anyone could dream of. But when pretend Zoe appears in real life thanks to a magical experiment gone right, Jade isn't so sure if she likes sharing her imaginary friend with the real world. To keep her best friend (and even make some new ones), Jade learns how to cope with jealousy, that friends should let friends be true to themselves, and that maybe the perfect best friend doesn't exist after all.

30 review for Friend or Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Abby Cooper

    This book is so special to me. I can't wait to introduce you to Jade, Zoe, and Clue! This book is so special to me. I can't wait to introduce you to Jade, Zoe, and Clue!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly Dawn

    ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Jade Levy is lonely at her new school and longs for a lasting friendship. Alone at lunch, she hugs her big yellow writer’s notebook to her chest, then opens it and begins writing of an imaginary girl named Zoe. Jade imagines all of the fun she will have with Zoe as a best friend who will never disappoint her or move away. To Jade’s surprise and delight, a girl named Zoe soon moves in across the street. Has Jade’s story in the yellow writing notebook (sprinkled with a few drops of m ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Jade Levy is lonely at her new school and longs for a lasting friendship. Alone at lunch, she hugs her big yellow writer’s notebook to her chest, then opens it and begins writing of an imaginary girl named Zoe. Jade imagines all of the fun she will have with Zoe as a best friend who will never disappoint her or move away. To Jade’s surprise and delight, a girl named Zoe soon moves in across the street. Has Jade’s story in the yellow writing notebook (sprinkled with a few drops of magic from the forbidden pond) really brought Zoe to life? Will this ‘magical’ friendship stand the test of time? With just a touch of magical realism, the focus is on the meaning of friendship. A strong, loving family unit is portrayed as together they face the cancer diagnosis and treatments of Jade’s father. Packed full of humor and wisdom; also sprinkled throughout are plenty of useful writing tips from Mrs. Yang, Jade’s English teacher. A lighthearted, enjoyable read, Friend or Fiction is sure to appeal to middle grade students with its focus on friendship. This novel should interest aspiring young writers as well. I received an electronic ARC from Charlesbridge Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. #FriendOrFiction #NetGalley #CharlesbridgePublishing Sent from my iPhone

  3. 5 out of 5

    Fuzaila

    This was absolutely delightful, thoughtful and a must read for kids! 4.5/5 stars Many thanks to netgalley for the copy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    Jade is tired of all of her friends moving away so she decides to create her own friend named Zoe that she writes stories about in her notebook. What would happen if her best written friend came to life? Read on and find out for yourself. This was a pretty good fantasy slice of life YA middlegrade novel. If you like these types of stories, be sure to check this book out at your local library and wherever books are sold.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Esther

    Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The story, first of all, felt very original. The part that I liked most was that the main character, Jade, was aspiring to be writer. She is writing "oppservations" in her diary and that were the most fun parts for me, since the questions she asks there, are pretty philosophical and would be good for Middle Graders to think about. Sadly, I was annoyed by the main character most of the time, and didn't Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The story, first of all, felt very original. The part that I liked most was that the main character, Jade, was aspiring to be writer. She is writing "oppservations" in her diary and that were the most fun parts for me, since the questions she asks there, are pretty philosophical and would be good for Middle Graders to think about. Sadly, I was annoyed by the main character most of the time, and didn't enjoy the story that much. That made me give the book 2 stars. A longer review can be found at BiteIntoBooks I'm pretty sure it's harder to write Children's and Middle Grade books if you're an adult author, because how do we know what kids of those ages like? Well, I do know what I want to teach kids in life, and I do know what I like as a reader, and this story just kinda missed the mark for me. I am curious what other readers and younger readers think, tough. The few oppservations in the book were fun and the message behind the story was nice, but I was mainly annoyed with Jade and the story.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This is such a cool book, and it has two levels. One level is that Jade is lonely and so writes about her imaginary friend. Zoe is the perfect friend, and all her stories tell of how perfect she is, how fun she is, and what a good friend she is. The other level is why Jade has created an imaginary friend to write about, and how Clue notices this, and understands, and so decides to help her by using magic water to bring Zoe to life. I loved how Zoe was exactly what Jade had imagined, down to not h This is such a cool book, and it has two levels. One level is that Jade is lonely and so writes about her imaginary friend. Zoe is the perfect friend, and all her stories tell of how perfect she is, how fun she is, and what a good friend she is. The other level is why Jade has created an imaginary friend to write about, and how Clue notices this, and understands, and so decides to help her by using magic water to bring Zoe to life. I loved how Zoe was exactly what Jade had imagined, down to not having parents, because Jade had never done that part of the backstory for them. Then there is the issue of Jade's father having cancer, that is driving her to need to have something good in her life. I thought the story was only predictable when it came to Clue. But everything else was a delightful surprise, and kodos for not making the Sparkly Girls into mean girls. I am tired of that cliche. Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amber Webb

    Jade lived in a town where people didn't really stick around for long. Because Jade's family has decided to be in Triveda a little longer, Jade struggles to make any real friends. So instead she turns to her journal where she writes the best friend stories she could dream up. While she is busy writing stories she is missing out on a few things. But a strange turn off events with a boy named Clue have her questioning if her friendship stories are real or fiction. With a little magic, important te Jade lived in a town where people didn't really stick around for long. Because Jade's family has decided to be in Triveda a little longer, Jade struggles to make any real friends. So instead she turns to her journal where she writes the best friend stories she could dream up. While she is busy writing stories she is missing out on a few things. But a strange turn off events with a boy named Clue have her questioning if her friendship stories are real or fiction. With a little magic, important teachers and new experiences, Jade learns the importance of living in the moment with the people closest to you and the value of real friends. Cooper did a great job with Friend or Fiction with characters to wanted to know about, settings that were relatable and situations that made you to laugh, cry and read it all over again. I can't wait to share this with readers.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lorie Barber

    I always forget how much I love magical realism until I read a middle grade book that takes issues so familiar to upper elementary kids and gives it a slight fantastical twist, making the impossible seem possible. Such is true with Abby Cooper’s latest, Friend or Fiction. Set in Colorado, Jade and her family are struggling with her dad’s diagnosis and treatment for a serious illness, and Jade herself is finding it easier to write about an imaginary world than try to connect with the kids in sixt I always forget how much I love magical realism until I read a middle grade book that takes issues so familiar to upper elementary kids and gives it a slight fantastical twist, making the impossible seem possible. Such is true with Abby Cooper’s latest, Friend or Fiction. Set in Colorado, Jade and her family are struggling with her dad’s diagnosis and treatment for a serious illness, and Jade herself is finding it easier to write about an imaginary world than try to connect with the kids in sixth grade. Classmate Clue, dealing with his own set of circumstances, turns Jade’s world upside down, making the impossible possible for her. At first, it’s great, but then Jade begins to realize what she thinks is perfect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Lots to love about Friend or Fiction! The characters are well-developed and are ones for which kids will be both cheering and feeling empathy. The plot moved at a solid pace, problems were solved, with all characters learning and growing. I loved the lessons kids can learn from this story, including letting people be who they are, that it’s okay to be scared and to talk about your feelings, and that asking for help is so much better than trying to go it alone. A definite add to my classroom library, with many thanks to the author for sharing it with my #bookexpedition reading group!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Wendi Lee

    Jade's had a rough couple of years. The small town she thought her family was just drifting through turned out to be more permanent than she expected. Her father was diagnosed with liver cancer, plus all the friends Jade managed to make have moved away. Writing stories in her notebook is the only way Jade feels in control of her life, and she creates a literary best friend for herself: Zoe. Things get very interesting when a real life Zoe shows up to school, and Jade's frenemy, Clue, admits that Jade's had a rough couple of years. The small town she thought her family was just drifting through turned out to be more permanent than she expected. Her father was diagnosed with liver cancer, plus all the friends Jade managed to make have moved away. Writing stories in her notebook is the only way Jade feels in control of her life, and she creates a literary best friend for herself: Zoe. Things get very interesting when a real life Zoe shows up to school, and Jade's frenemy, Clue, admits that he helped bring her to life. This was a cute tale about friendship, the unpredictability of life, and letting go of what we cannot control. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nicole M. Hewitt

    This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction This book is an exploration of what it truly means to be a friend. But it also covers many other relevant topics for kids today, like economic challenges, terminal illness, and loss of friendship due to moving. Jade lives in a sort of "stepping stone" town---people don't stick around for long there. So, she's struggled to make meaningful friendships and has resorted to an imaginary friend named Zoe who she writes about This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction This book is an exploration of what it truly means to be a friend. But it also covers many other relevant topics for kids today, like economic challenges, terminal illness, and loss of friendship due to moving. Jade lives in a sort of "stepping stone" town---people don't stick around for long there. So, she's struggled to make meaningful friendships and has resorted to an imaginary friend named Zoe who she writes about daily. When Zoe comes to life, it seems perfect, but Jade struggles when Zoe fails to live up to her expectations of what a best friend should be. She also struggles to deal with her father's cancer and his inability to be completely present in her life the way she'd like him to be. I'm not going to lie: Jade is sometimes a difficult character to like, even when you do sympathize with her. She often acts selfishly (with both Zoe and a boy named Clue, who she holds a grudge against), and her perspective is skewed by her past experiences of loss. Still, even though I didn't always love Jade's attitudes or actions, I was always rooting for her to grow and learn from her mistakes. By the end of the book, Jade realizes that she hasn't been looking at friendship the right way. The magical elements of this book are intriguing and mysterious. And I love the way that Jade's love of writing was woven into the story (and into the magic in an unexpected way). Overall, this was a lovely story! ***Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shaye Miller

    12-year-old Jade Levy writes stories. Since she doesn't have a best friend anymore, she creates a fictional one named Zoe. They have all sorts of adventures together and Jade even enjoys spending her lunch period creating more episodes in her notebook.  Jade's father has cancer and he finds comfort in listening to Jade's stories. But one day, her friend Cue takes her writing notebook away without explanation. And when a real-life Zoe suddenly moves in next door, looking and acting exactly like th 12-year-old Jade Levy writes stories. Since she doesn't have a best friend anymore, she creates a fictional one named Zoe. They have all sorts of adventures together and Jade even enjoys spending her lunch period creating more episodes in her notebook.  Jade's father has cancer and he finds comfort in listening to Jade's stories. But one day, her friend Cue takes her writing notebook away without explanation. And when a real-life Zoe suddenly moves in next door, looking and acting exactly like the fictional Zoe, Jade is both excited and worried. What did Cue do to her writing notebook? Is Zoe really here to stay? But most of all: Can Jade trust Zoe to make the right decisions or do they need to be tediously detailed in her notebook?  Filled with magical realism, this story is one of hope and bonding. We clearly see that friendships are messy. Every day cannot be perfect and fun and everything we've ever dreamed about. We have all had to learn, at one time or another, that having friends doesn't mean we don't experience loneliness. And this point is such an important lesson for Jade to digest if she wants to be a good friend. I also appreciated that the story dives into how to write and how to trust your readers to fill in the gaps. This gave me pause as I thought back over the books I've read where the author gave me just enough for my imagination to fill in the cracks as well as the books that fed me every last detail. There's so much content here for open discussion with young readers and writers! Thanks to Netgalley and Charlesbridge for approving an e-ARC so that I could provide an honest review. This title published on October 8th, so run out and grab a fresh copy! For more children's literature, middle grade literature, and YA literature reviews, feel free to visit my personal blog at The Miller Memo!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it. One creative middle-schooler schooler discovers that the best friend a girl can have is the one she makes herself in this charming magical realism read. Jade's life hasn't exactly been normal lately, especially since her dad's cancer diagnosis. Jade wishes her family could leave their no-name I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it. One creative middle-schooler schooler discovers that the best friend a girl can have is the one she makes herself in this charming magical realism read. Jade's life hasn't exactly been normal lately, especially since her dad's cancer diagnosis. Jade wishes her family could leave their no-name town in Colorado already--everybody else does sooner rather than later, including every best friend Jade's ever had. So she makes one up. In the pages of her notebook, she writes all about Zoe--the most amazing best friend anyone could dream of. But when pretend Zoe appears in real life thanks to a magical experiment gone right, Jade isn't so sure if she likes sharing her imaginary friend with the real world. To keep her best friend (and even make some new ones), Jade learns how to cope with jealousy, that friends should let friends be true to themselves, and that maybe the perfect best friend doesn't exist after all. This is a cute, enjoyable middle-grade read for girls - don't we all have a perfect friend in the back of our head even at our age? It was well written and I had passed it on to my niece and she thought that it was a good read as well and I trust her opinion. As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it 🧜‍♀️🧜‍♀️🧜‍♀️🧜‍♀️🧜‍♀️ because mermaids are magical, too!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Seema Rao

    Sensitive ~ Thoughtful ~ Endearing tl;dr: Friends can help you see the real you. This sweet tale of young girls learning that being themselves is important. This story was well-written and sweet, telling the story of Jade, an observent, gentle girl, and her new friend Zoe. The writing is tight, and age-appropriate. But, what I appreciated most how Cooper brings emotion into subtly crafted sentences. In the end, this book is learning how to be honest with yourself and learning to love your imperfe Sensitive ~ Thoughtful ~ Endearing tl;dr: Friends can help you see the real you. This sweet tale of young girls learning that being themselves is important. This story was well-written and sweet, telling the story of Jade, an observent, gentle girl, and her new friend Zoe. The writing is tight, and age-appropriate. But, what I appreciated most how Cooper brings emotion into subtly crafted sentences. In the end, this book is learning how to be honest with yourself and learning to love your imperfections. Really solid, enjoyable, girl-centered, empowering middle grade read. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    Don’t mistake the long lull between start and finish for anything more than extremely BUSY January. I loved the story of Jade and her family. Jade’s dad has cancer and she doesn’t make friends since they all leave the town anyway. She’s a writer! She writes during lunch and is supported by her teacher. Well one day her sort of friend Clue takes over and suddenly her writing comes true. There is a new girl named Zoe enters her school. Is it coincidence that Zoe is the best friend she has always d Don’t mistake the long lull between start and finish for anything more than extremely BUSY January. I loved the story of Jade and her family. Jade’s dad has cancer and she doesn’t make friends since they all leave the town anyway. She’s a writer! She writes during lunch and is supported by her teacher. Well one day her sort of friend Clue takes over and suddenly her writing comes true. There is a new girl named Zoe enters her school. Is it coincidence that Zoe is the best friend she has always dreamed Of having? Read to find out! Fun story about relationships and overcoming obstacles. Well done, Abby Cooper!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    This book will always hold a special place in my heart. Thank you, Abby, for the precious gift of including a boy that loved books in your story. Another great middle grade realistic fantasy that explores friendship, family, and dealing with loss. Fans of Sticks and Stones and Bubbles will be super excited to read Abby’s latest novel! I’m excited to share it with students.

  16. 5 out of 5

    J.C.

    **I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.** A sweet middle grade story—but I was left confused by some aspects. Friend or Fiction contained some cool themes that I really loved, presented in an original, fun, and upbeat way. It had well-developed characters and a magical, imaginative storyline. However, the ending left me hanging... and not in a positive way. Our main character, Jade, hasn’t exactly had the best luck with friendships. She lives in a “tr **I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.** A sweet middle grade story—but I was left confused by some aspects. Friend or Fiction contained some cool themes that I really loved, presented in an original, fun, and upbeat way. It had well-developed characters and a magical, imaginative storyline. However, the ending left me hanging... and not in a positive way. Our main character, Jade, hasn’t exactly had the best luck with friendships. She lives in a “transient town,” which means most friends don’t stick around long enough to become best friends, something that is a hardship for sociable Jade, who only wants a best friend. So Jade comes up with a solution: she’ll just invent her own best friend. She begins writing about Zoe—the dream best friend, the best friend Jade has always longed for. Her notebook goes with her everywhere, and she can face anything with Zoe along with her for the ride. Safe in the pages of a notebook, she can invent all sorts of wild, fun adventures for her and Zoe, adventures where nothing ever goes wrong and they laugh and laugh for hours. This was so heartbreakingly sweet and sad at all once. Jade’s vivid imagination is clear and transparent, something I think many will relate to. The concept of wanting a perfect best friend is a relevant concept to middle-graders for sure, and this aspect of the story was communicated fluently. But then the story takes a magical turn when Zoe is brought to life by another classmate, Clue. Jade has always thought Clue was weird, and never really talked to him, but now she is forced to after he somehow has done this feat for her: Zoe is alive! And at first, Zoe is the most perfectest best friend Jade could ask. She also learns that anything she writes happens; she now has the opportunity to actually live all of her and Zoe’s wild adventures! But after weeks of manufacturing friendship, and wondering if Zoe would even be her best friend if she had her own choice, Jade must face the reality of friendship. And this is where these themes appear. You can’t control others; you can’t force a friendship. Additionally, that friendship is built off of bad times alongside with good times—Jade has to learn that true friends don’t just laugh and laugh and build a friendship, but that it also involves going through tough situations together, something she never imagined in her notebook adventures. Against the backdrop of desperate, relatable Jade, who is transparently both so sweet and so human, I thought these themes were messages hard to miss—and ones so important for the middle school crowd as well. (view spoiler)[ The end, however, flummoxed me. Jade makes the bold, and brave, decision to let Zoe go. She has realized that she cannot force the friendship and that she isn’t a good friend if she tries to manufacture friendship. So she lets Zoe go—and Zoe....disappears? With how Zoe was brought to life explained so thoroughly, this sudden lack of detail surprised me. Further, the story ends with Jade realizing Clue is now her best friend. Essentially, the impression was that Zoe was a lesson, something important, but not the most important. And if Zoe had always remained on the page, this would have been absolutely correct. Zoe, in a way, paves the way to Jade’s personal growth and also teaches her about friendship, so she is able to open up to other people (aka, Clue). But the fact that Zoe was actually a person introduced an empathy in the reader that, to me, shook up this theme. Since Zoe was real—where did she go? Was she a real person who had no worth? Was she a meaningless real person? Was she a valuable person, who was easily discarded? A little more clarification on this magical tone would have cleaned up a lot of confusion for the reader. (hide spoiler)] To sum it up, I loved the thematics and appreciated the incredible creativity of the author’s mixing of reality and fantasy. However, I felt it needed a little more cleaning up to really make sense to the reader and make the impact desired. 3.5 stars

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lana

    Jade is going through a rough time, things are less than perfect for her at school and at home. She lives with her family in a no-name town where no one seems to stay for good. When Jade gets a best friend they always end up moving away, so she decides to make up an imaginary best buddy. At home things things are even more complicated since Jade’s dad has been battling cancer. Things get really interesting for Jade when her imaginary friend becomes real. At first it seems too good to be true, bu Jade is going through a rough time, things are less than perfect for her at school and at home. She lives with her family in a no-name town where no one seems to stay for good. When Jade gets a best friend they always end up moving away, so she decides to make up an imaginary best buddy. At home things things are even more complicated since Jade’s dad has been battling cancer. Things get really interesting for Jade when her imaginary friend becomes real. At first it seems too good to be true, but eventually becomes a great lesson on friendship for Jade. I enjoyed the story and really liked Jade’s character. Thank you to Charlesbridge and NetGalley for this advanced copy.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kathie

    Thank you to NetGalley and Charlesbridge for an eARC of this book. What if you could write a story, and your characters came to life in the real world? Better yet, what if you could write yourself a best friend, and by continuing her story, she could be everything you wanted her to be. That's what Jade things has happened to her when a classmate steals her writing journal and uses some magical water on it. At first, Jade is delighted to have Zoe come to life, but she soon discovers that it's not Thank you to NetGalley and Charlesbridge for an eARC of this book. What if you could write a story, and your characters came to life in the real world? Better yet, what if you could write yourself a best friend, and by continuing her story, she could be everything you wanted her to be. That's what Jade things has happened to her when a classmate steals her writing journal and uses some magical water on it. At first, Jade is delighted to have Zoe come to life, but she soon discovers that it's not quite what she expected it would be. This is a great story with a touch of magic that loosk at what it really means to be a friend, including emotions like jealousy that go along with it. Jade's dad is also dealing with liver cancer, and her obsession with writing stories eventually takes a backseat when her family goes on a trip and she sees what she's been missing while isolating herself in her imaginary world. I love. Jade's friend, Clue, is a character that I really loved because he helped Jade break out of her own thoughts, and face what was right in front of her.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elly Swartz

    Jade's wish for friendship leads to the discovery that to have a friend, you first must learn what it means to truly be a friend. Abby has created a story filled with heart. I loved it and highly recommend! Jade's wish for friendship leads to the discovery that to have a friend, you first must learn what it means to truly be a friend. Abby has created a story filled with heart. I loved it and highly recommend!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Abbey

    A wonderful story about friendship and what it truly is to be a friend. Also great for young, aspiring writers. Great advice!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jenn Bishop

    I absolutely adored reading this book about Jade, an aspiring writer whose fictional creation comes to life as her new BFF, Zoe. There's so much to appreciate in Cooper's third novel, a perfect follow-up for fans of her first two books. I loved the sensitive portrayal of a girl struggling with her father's cancer recurrence and chemo treatment. I loved the budding friendship between Jade and Clue, a boy at school with similar struggles. But what I loved most of all was how the book as a whole is I absolutely adored reading this book about Jade, an aspiring writer whose fictional creation comes to life as her new BFF, Zoe. There's so much to appreciate in Cooper's third novel, a perfect follow-up for fans of her first two books. I loved the sensitive portrayal of a girl struggling with her father's cancer recurrence and chemo treatment. I loved the budding friendship between Jade and Clue, a boy at school with similar struggles. But what I loved most of all was how the book as a whole is such a metaphor for the process of writing fiction. As a middle grade author myself, I related to Jade's struggles. Many writers, young and old, will find additional resonance in Jade's story, which makes it great for use in the classroom. Lastly, while I don't want to give away the ending, I wanted to note how much I appreciate the lessons Jade learns in the end, which apply to writing, yes, but more still to real life. We need to appreciate our friends as real, full people, not just for what they can give us. <3

  22. 4 out of 5

    Eve beinguniquebooks

    Jade is alone but not lonely, in school she hangs out by herself writing about her best friend Zoe, only she's imaginary until school mate Clue, somehow makes her come to life! Jade and Zoe become inseparable and as Jade also deals with her dad having liver cancer it's a welcome distraction and amazing to live out her stories she invented even though she then learns she has to deal with the consequences of what she did and didn't include in her stories. I really love the concept and design of the Jade is alone but not lonely, in school she hangs out by herself writing about her best friend Zoe, only she's imaginary until school mate Clue, somehow makes her come to life! Jade and Zoe become inseparable and as Jade also deals with her dad having liver cancer it's a welcome distraction and amazing to live out her stories she invented even though she then learns she has to deal with the consequences of what she did and didn't include in her stories. I really love the concept and design of the book how there's loop holes in her plan of creating a best friend but she doesn't fill in her life story so much that when she becomes real she loves alone and has no parent to look after her and her home is barren. Overall it was important showing how friends can feel like everything and how nothing in life is ever perfect we all aged a struggle and it's ok to not be ok. Many thanks to the publishers for allowing me to review this book for them!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kath Lau

    *Huge thanks to NetGalley for the earc. This did not affect my overall opinion of the book. Jade and her family live in a town where people, including her best friends, come and go all the time. She loves writing and she's longing for a friend so she has decided to write about Zoe, her imaginary best friend. She writes about their perfect days and amazing friendship. One day, a girl named Zoe appears in her class and happens to live across her house. Is it just a coincidence? or is she Jade's ima *Huge thanks to NetGalley for the earc. This did not affect my overall opinion of the book. Jade and her family live in a town where people, including her best friends, come and go all the time. She loves writing and she's longing for a friend so she has decided to write about Zoe, her imaginary best friend. She writes about their perfect days and amazing friendship. One day, a girl named Zoe appears in her class and happens to live across her house. Is it just a coincidence? or is she Jade's imaginary friend comes to life? Jade is such an incredible character. I loved her passion for writing and her love for her family. I loved her "Oppservation" entries in her journal. She's an aspiring writer which is being supported by her parents and teacher as well. It's just so heartwarming to read. One of the main themes in this book is friendship and the author handled it flawlessly. Same goes with the health condition of Jade's father. It's heartbreaking yet very inspiring. The writing is amazing and age-appropriate as well. The character growth in this book is on point. I would like to read Clue's perspective or Zoe if possible. I also wanted to know more about the "magical" pond. But we don't get everything we want so it's totally okay for me because I really enjoyed this book. It's a middle-grade novel mixed with magical realism which was right up my alley. This book reminds us to live in the moment and value the important people around us. This is also a great read for aspiring writers (both young and adult) out there.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anniek

    Actual rating: 2.5 I was sent an eARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. First off, only after I was approved for this book, I noticed that it's described as magical realism, which is obviously problematic, as the author is white so magical realism isn't a part of her culture. It also goes to show how limited publisher's understanding of magical realism is, because adding a fantastical element to your otherwise realistic story does not suddenly make it magical realism Actual rating: 2.5 I was sent an eARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. First off, only after I was approved for this book, I noticed that it's described as magical realism, which is obviously problematic, as the author is white so magical realism isn't a part of her culture. It also goes to show how limited publisher's understanding of magical realism is, because adding a fantastical element to your otherwise realistic story does not suddenly make it magical realism. Ugh. Anyway, that's what I wanted to say about the description of the book. Now onto the actual novel. I found this to be an enjoyable middlegrade, but it was a little bland at times. There was plenty of heart, and I really liked the main character learning what friendship is and isn't and learning to make friends herself. I also loved the sibling relationship and the main character's relationship with her parents, especially her father. But somehow, I felt like something was missing. It all seemed a little straightforward and I feel like the book could have done with a little more plot. CWs: loneliness, cancer/illness of a parent.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    Interest Level: 5-8; Reading Level: 5.7 Have you ever had an imaginary best friend? What would you do if that friend came to life? Well, Jade doesn't have to imagine anymore. Her imaginary best friend actually came to life. Jade lives in a town in Colorado where people come and go all the time. Every time she thinks she has a best friend, they up and move and never stay in touch. She is so tired of being alone that she decides to write about the perfect best friend, Zoe. Jade and Zoe go on all ki Interest Level: 5-8; Reading Level: 5.7 Have you ever had an imaginary best friend? What would you do if that friend came to life? Well, Jade doesn't have to imagine anymore. Her imaginary best friend actually came to life. Jade lives in a town in Colorado where people come and go all the time. Every time she thinks she has a best friend, they up and move and never stay in touch. She is so tired of being alone that she decides to write about the perfect best friend, Zoe. Jade and Zoe go on all kinds of adventures and are always there for each other. But one day when a boy from Jade's class, Clue, takes her notebook for the weekend, Jade feels lost. How can she survive the weekend without her stories about Zoe? When she goes for a walk she happens to see Clue by the nasty pond with her notebook. He drops a few drops from the pond and viola - Zoe appears in the house across the street. Jade has never been happier in her life. She can actually do all of the things that she has written about with the real Zoe. Things seem great at first, but when Zoe starts to get a mind of her own and starts to make other friends, Jade become very jealous because she doesn't want to share her friend. Then things get worse when Jade's parents surprise her and her younger brother with a vacation. Her dad is battling cancer and this trip is with other families who have someone battling cancer. Jade does not want to leave Zoe with the other girls at school because she is afraid she will lose her too. Jade is shocked to find Clue on this trip too, and it is then that she realizes that maybe she has had her nose in her notebook for far too long. Will Jade lose Zoe to the "sparkle girls" at school? Will Clue send Zoe back where she came from so that he can bring someone back to life? Will Jade and Clue realize that the friend they both have been longing for could be right in front of them? Read this incredible book about what it truly means to be a best friend! I loved everything about this book! I was drawn into Jade's world from the first page and her loneliness broke my heart. And on top of that her sadness over her dad's illness made my heart wrench for her even more. I was so happy when Zoe came along for her, but I quickly realized that Zoe did not know what it meant to be a best friend. I loved how Abby Cooper worked her magic in this story of love, loss, family, and friendship. Don't miss this one! Follow me: Blog - Blazer Tales - https://blazertales.com/ Facebook - Laurie’s Library Place - https://www.facebook.com/LauriesLibra... Instagram - laurieslibrary - https://www.instagram.com/laurieslibr... Twitter - @laurieevans27 https://twitter.com/laurieevans27?lan... Goodreads - Laurie Purser - https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1... Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/auburngirl2... YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCulD... Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurie-ev...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carmen (TheReadingTrashQueen)

    3,5/5 A huge thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in return for an honest review. Friend or Fiction immediately caught my attention because of the cover, and then summary pulled me in. Imaginary friends are such a big and important phenomenon, yet so tricky to cover. Cooper used Jade's writing and I thought it absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately the book let me down somewhat, as I wasn't fond of how easily Jade used her control over Zoe, even if she at times felt un 3,5/5 A huge thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in return for an honest review. Friend or Fiction immediately caught my attention because of the cover, and then summary pulled me in. Imaginary friends are such a big and important phenomenon, yet so tricky to cover. Cooper used Jade's writing and I thought it absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately the book let me down somewhat, as I wasn't fond of how easily Jade used her control over Zoe, even if she at times felt uncomfortable about it, and her clinginess and jealousy, even though I understood. It put a bit of a sour taste in my mouth, as I started out loving Jade, only to like her less and less as the story went on. However, because of the things I didn't like, there are some really important lessons in here for kids, that might otherwise not really hit home. I do want to give a major shoutout to Clue/Gresham, for being so kind and helpful even if Jade is awful to him all the time. Last, but not least, this deals with cancer in the family as well. And not just as a background thing- it's a big part of the story. Jade worries about her father all the time. I got really emotional over something related to it, concerning Jade's little brother. Overall, I give Friend or Fiction 3,5/5 stars, rounded up to 4, as I did really enjoy reading it. It's a fast and easy read, dealing with some serious things. Would definitely recommend!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bridget

    A fabulous read for middle schoolers! Full of childhood wonder, Friend or Fiction by Abby Cooper is a superb novel jam-packed with magic, wisdom and humour, but also contains a large sprinkling of realism. Set in Colorado, Jade Levy and her family are struggling with her dad’s diagnosis and treatment for a serious illness, and Jade herself is finding it easier to write about an imaginary world in her notebook than try to connect with the kids in her grade. Jade felt more like a good friend to me A fabulous read for middle schoolers! Full of childhood wonder, Friend or Fiction by Abby Cooper is a superb novel jam-packed with magic, wisdom and humour, but also contains a large sprinkling of realism. Set in Colorado, Jade Levy and her family are struggling with her dad’s diagnosis and treatment for a serious illness, and Jade herself is finding it easier to write about an imaginary world in her notebook than try to connect with the kids in her grade. Jade felt more like a good friend to me than a protagonist. Her struggle with aloneness, vastly improved by her vivid imagination, made her such a lovable character. The pages in this book seemed to whizz by. The author perfectly depicted different occurrences and the affable characters didn't end with Jade Levy. Her imaginary, dependable, and amazing best friend, Zoe and Mrs. Yang, Jade’s English teacher were just as winsome, as was her classmate, Clue. I wanted to know more about every single character in this book. Abby Cooper has fashioned a marvellous book that I highly recommend, without any hesitation. I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from Charlesbridge via NetGalley and this review is my own unbiased opinion.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sara Magnafichi

    Thank you to Charlesbridge for sharing a copy with #collabookation! It's been tough for Jade, as she has been left alone to deal with her father's cancer diagnosis and treatment. As someone who lives in a transient town, it is difficult to make friends. As soon as you get to know someone and get close, they end up moving away, never to be heard from again. As a result, Jade buries herself into her writing. She creates the perfect fictional friend named Zoe and spends most of her free time creati Thank you to Charlesbridge for sharing a copy with #collabookation! It's been tough for Jade, as she has been left alone to deal with her father's cancer diagnosis and treatment. As someone who lives in a transient town, it is difficult to make friends. As soon as you get to know someone and get close, they end up moving away, never to be heard from again. As a result, Jade buries herself into her writing. She creates the perfect fictional friend named Zoe and spends most of her free time creating stories of the two of them have amazing experiences. One day, Jade notices a moving truck across the street, and a young girl putting Z... O.... E... stickers on the mailbox. Could it be true? Could her fictional character, Zoe, actually be real? This story is a wonderful journey that teaches Jade the true meaning of what a true friend is, as well as that a friendship is two sided where give and take is necessary! I truly enjoyed watching Jade find herself through the trials she faced.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

    Friend or Fiction is a super cute and straightforward middle grave novel about family, friendship, and writing. The magic of an imaginary friend/character coming to life is a fun concept perfect for the intended audience. The story addresses typical themes found in middle grade novels such as friendship, jealousy, life's hardships (in this case a cancer diagnosis), and family bonding, all with a positive ending. The writing advice throughout is also helpful and appreciated. Friend or Fiction is Friend or Fiction is a super cute and straightforward middle grave novel about family, friendship, and writing. The magic of an imaginary friend/character coming to life is a fun concept perfect for the intended audience. The story addresses typical themes found in middle grade novels such as friendship, jealousy, life's hardships (in this case a cancer diagnosis), and family bonding, all with a positive ending. The writing advice throughout is also helpful and appreciated. Friend or Fiction is a decent middle grade contemporary with a dash of magic. While it'll speak to the intended audience, it may be a little too bland for other age groups. Full review here: https://booksandwafflesblog.wordpress...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brandy

    Jade's story is one your middle grade readers will definitely relate to. She lives in a small town where people just don't stay for long. Jade doesn't have any real friends and is simply lonely...until the imaginary BFF she writes about comes to life! Everything starts off wonderfully, but soon enough things start to change. Jade has some lessons to learn about what it really means to be a best friend. Definitely relatable! Jade's story is one your middle grade readers will definitely relate to. She lives in a small town where people just don't stay for long. Jade doesn't have any real friends and is simply lonely...until the imaginary BFF she writes about comes to life! Everything starts off wonderfully, but soon enough things start to change. Jade has some lessons to learn about what it really means to be a best friend. Definitely relatable!

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