Kelley, Jane. The Book of Dares for Lost Friends
July 14th 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Val and Lanora have always been best friends, but when they start junior high, Lanora (reeling from her parents' divorce) decides to "grow up" and distance herself from the fanciful Val. She straightens her hair, ditches the key chains on her backpack, and starts to hang out with the "A" crowd-- girls who are popular and whose names start with "A". Soon, they have talked Lanora into shoplifting and generally getting into trouble. Val, hoping to save her friend, finds an unlikely ally in Tasman, who works with the Captain in an odd bookshop and knows Mau, a cat whom both Val and Lanora have known. With the help of some of her new friends at school. Val tries to get Tasman to invoke a secret book to save Lanora, but he needs to find a sacred bowl to complete the spell. Will it be enough to keep Lanora from being sent to a reform school, and will anything be enough to repair the friendship?
Strengths: This had a lot of detail about life in New York City, and a lot of very true-to-life friend drama. Well written.
Weaknesses: The fantasy elements seemed out of place and... odd. Lanora is no saint, but I can see most middle school girls wanting to distance themselves from a friend like Val. The chapters revolving around the cat seemed a bit odd, too.
What I really think: Why did this bring to mind Snyder's The Egypt Game? I can't really even remember what that was about. The odd mix of adolescent drama and attempts at magic will make this a difficult book for which to find an audience in my library.