STARRED REVIEW
August 25, 2015

Lonely hearts club

By Andrew Norriss

As a teenage boy who loves fashion, Francis is used to being teased and bullied at school, and he feels totally alone until he meets Jessica, a girl who shares his untraditional interests. But Jessica has a peculiarity of her own: For all her good spirits, she is thoroughly, completely and definitely dead. Francis is the only person who can see or hear her.

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As a teenage boy who loves fashion, Francis is used to being teased and bullied at school, and he feels totally alone until he meets Jessica, a girl who shares his untraditional interests. But Jessica has a peculiarity of her own: For all her good spirits, she is thoroughly, completely and definitely dead. Francis is the only person who can see or hear her.

Francis and Jessica become fast friends and soon befriend two other loners: Andi, a girl with a reputation for picking fights, and Roland, a 300-pound giant who refuses to go to school. The four form a close bond unlike anything they've ever experienced before.

Then Jessica discovers that she died by suicide and that each of her friends has considered it. She has been left to roam the earth, befriending those in need and keeping other teens from hurting themselves. Someone needs Jessica’s help—but who?

Through these deftly-drawn, realistic characters, author Andrew Norriss pulls the reader into a story that makes this difficult subject accessible. Friends for Life is a vital book, emphasizing the power of friendship and the importance of reaching out to others when in distress. It will resonate with any young reader who suffers the isolation of feeling “different.”

 

Billie B. Little is the Founding Director of Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, a hands-on museum in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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Friends for Life

Friends for Life

By Andrew Norriss
Scholastic/David Fickling
ISBN 9780545851862

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