Best Friends Forever – Jennifer Weiner

Addie and Val met when they were 9 and became BFFs – best friends forever. Addie, quiet and shy, has a brother and a mom and dad. Her dad is a Vietnam Vet, so sometimes he freaks out at loud noises. Her mom is a bit overweight, but Addie looks at her and sees a puffy, soft cloud that Addie can rest her head on. All in all, Addie has a good life. There is food in the house and her clothes are clean if not always the latest fashions.
Val is bubbly and outgoing. She lives with her mom, who doesn’t work and lies on the couch all day, scheming how to get money. There’s hardly ever any food in the refrigerator, but Val doesn’t let that bother her much.
They stay friends into high school, having adventures and growing up. Then something happens and Val and Addie’s friendship ends, each going their own way.
Until one day, years later, when Addie opens her door to find Val outside, blood on her coat. “Something really bad happened. Can you help me? Please?”
And so begins another adventure but this time, the stakes are higher, the risks much greater. Val hasn’t changed; she is still daring and flashy. Addie is still quiet; her life has been rough, but she’s come through fine. Until Val shows up at her door and throws her sedate life into turmoil again.
This book was funny and poignant. The friendship made at the tender age of 9 had its bumps and bruises, but in the end it flourished. A quick read; enjoy it!

– Laura Wiess

Meet Blair. She has the perfect life. Her mom and dad are both attorneys. They all live in a nice house and appear to be a happy family. Until the day her mother decides to become a judge. Her entire focus changes. She moves forward with her eye on the prize. The first step is a bigger, better house. And of course, Wendy, Blair’s old, loveable dog, can’t come to the new house because she is incontinent and we wouldn’t want her messing in the new house, would we? So Blair’s mom does what needs to be done, much to the chagrin of Blair and the family moves into a big new house, without Wendy.
Now meet Ardith. She has a brother, a mom and a dad and lives in a house, too. But her life is completely different form Blair’s. Her father is a letch, taking every opportunity to “tickle” the girls that visit their home, their age not taken into consideration. And her brother is on the same path. Every weekend there is a party at their house, her brother and his friends and their girlfriends hanging out and drinking until they pass out. Ardith padlocks her door every night, and steps over bodies to get to the bathroom.
The two girls are friends and their very different worlds converge and unite in a common cause, getting even.
They unite forces whenever they have a problem with someone – name-callers, bullies, rumor-starters – Ardith and Blair take care of it their way.
Until the issues become more serious. Again, the girls take care of it; they hatch up their elaborate plots to set things right, but now there are grown-ups involved, and the consequences are much more dire.
This is a great book – it’s geared toward young adult readers, but I think adults will like this book too, even if just to see how their kids might handle life’s issues. I hope you like it, too.