Review Blog

May 18 2010

My worst best friend by Dyan Sheldon

cover image

Walker Books, 2010. ISBN 9781406304206.
(Age 13+) 'There were basically two kinds of girls: Those Girls and everyone else.' Savanna Zindle was one of Those Girls. 'I'd never had a friend like Savanna before'.
Gracie, considers herself one of the 'everyone else'. She is interested in lizards and climate change. Savanna is interested in boys and shopping. Gracie, as narrator, tells this story with understated wit and humour.
While the two girls have different interests, their friendship develops within the context of a (north American) school. They meet up before school and at lunchtime, sitting with Archie, Savanna's boyfriend and Cooper, a quieter character, who shares Gracie's view of the world. Nightly phone calls, trips to the mall on weekends and sleepovers all help to cement the sharing of secrets and the development of the friendship between Gracie and Savanna.
The characters are developed well and given quirky and lovable characteristics that kept me turning the pages. Gracie often corrects Savanna's grammar and syntax in a dryly humorous way.
Gracie and Cooper share a love of old films and best each other at naming characters and films. The friendship between Gracie and Cooper progresses when Gracie goes with Cooper to assist at the Quaker run 'Neighbours' literacy project. Gracie doesn't see their outings as 'dates' as Cooper is just a friend and Savanna insists that Cooper has never talked about liking girls.
Gracie's Dad, the Professor, is a lovable character who quietly offers support to Gracie throughout the story. Marianne is introduced as the long suffering friend in the background who at the end of the story plays a crucial role.
When Savanna meets and goes out with Mark, an older man, without telling her parents and continuing to be Archie's girlfriend, Savanna's manipulation of Gracie grows. How long will Archie believe Savanna's lies and betrayals? Who will Gracie put first, Cooper or Savanna, as the end of year dance looms? Will Gracie finally be able to stand up to Savanna?
This is a story about friendship, trust, betrayal, growing up and moving on. The cover makes clear this novel is aimed at teenage girls.
Jenny Brisbane

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