My Best Friend And Other Enemies by Catherine Wilkins
|My Best Friend And Other Enemies by Catherine Wilkins
|Category: Confident Readers
|Reviewer: Robert James
|Summary: An annoying narrator means this contemporary children's story isn't one I'd particularly recommend, although there are some fairly well-portrayed minor characters.
|Date: September 2012
|Publisher: Nosy Crow
|External links: Author's website
Jessica and Natalie have been best friends for ages. But in the last year of primary school, when new girl Amelia moves to their school, she starts to come between them, forming a secret society with Natalie - and not letting Jessica join. Can Jessica repair her friendship with Natalie, or find some new friends? Armed with only her ability to draw great cartoons, she sets out to find out.
This is reasonable in most ways, I suppose - the main story is fairly well-plotted, it has some good supporting characters, and there are nice little illustrations peppering the pages of the book. Where it fell down for me is that Jessica is such an annoying brat that it's hard to sympathise with her that much - indeed, I found Natalie to be a far more interesting character and would much rather have been reading the story from her point of view. It's a shame, as some of the other characters - notably Natalie, a boy called Joshua who Natalie starts to become friendly with, and school tough girl Tanya - are quite well-rounded despite not having much time on the page. Jessica herself, though, just comes across as a mildly annoying girl with a talent for drawing cartoons and little else to her character.
Jessica, as a narrator, also has an irritating tendency to repeat jokes several times, which grated on me, while the sub-plots of her parents competing with next-door neighbours the Van Derks and her family being on an economy drive to save money don't add much to the book. This is perhaps worth borrowing from the library to see if you enjoy it more than I did, but with so many fantastic contemporary books aimed at this age range out at the moment, it's hard to recommend buying it ahead of a host of similar, but better books.
Aimed at the same age range, I love Susie Day's Pea series, starting with Pea's Book of Best Friends.
You can read more book reviews or buy My Best Friend And Other Enemies by Catherine Wilkins at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy My Best Friend And Other Enemies by Catherine Wilkins at Amazon.com.
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