February 9th 2016 by HarperCollins
ARC from Young Adult Books Central
Middle school schedules can make or break a friendship, so when Olivia and Piper only have one class together, they decide to share notes in a notebook. Both are concerned about making new friends, so they attend different clubs-- the boring spelling club where they do worksheets, the Lego club that ends rather disastrously even though that's the club Olivia's crush is in, and chess club, where Olivia finds her people. This upsets Piper, who is still struggling to find friends, and when Olivia can't make a big event at Piper's church, and later has a chess tournament on the very same day as Piper's birthday party, the two have a falling out. Luckily, the girls have a friendship with a well-established base, and they are able to figure out a way forward.
Strengths: Middle school friend drama is such a huge issue that there can never be enough books covering the various ways that friends can fall out. Even with all of the social media out there, many middle school girls still write notes, and it's certainly a habit to encourage, especially is they use proper grammar and punctuation!
Both Piper and Olivia were sympathetic, likable characters despite their flaws, and their voices, as well as the situations are very realistic. (Especially the obsession with Jackson!) The cover is fantastic, and this book will circulate very well among 5th-7th graders.
Weaknesses: The beginning of this, with the weird nicknames and artifice of having a notebook that wouldn't be discovered was not the best way to suck readers in. I very nearly put this down.
What I really think: Definitely buying. The target demographic might like the note format more than I did.