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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Funny Middle Grade Novel Proves a Good Friend's Worth It. Every Time.

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

What do you do when your BFF comes home after spending the summer at a swanky Florida beach house - where she completely ignored your emails and texts, by the way - transformed into someone you hardly recognize and bragging about her gorgeous new boyfriend? What do you do when her exciting love life gets her all kinds of attention from the popular girls, leaving you feeling totally cast out? If you're a spunky 12-year-old like Tori Barnes, you fight back.

Tori's pretty sure Sienna's lying about Antonio, the boy she says she met while on vacation, but no matter how she tries, she can't get Sienna to 'fess up. Tired of listening to her friend go on and on about how great her guy is, Tori decides to make up a boyfriend of her own. Not only is Sebastian better looking than Antonio, but he's more debonair, more thoughtful, more romantic (Hey, if you're going to go to all the trouble of making up a boyfriend, you might as well go for broke, right?). It's not easy for Tori to keep up the charade, especially when her friends expect her to bring the fabulous Sebastian to the next school dance. Sienna doesn't seem to be freaking out about the dance - Could her amazing boyfriend be for real? Has Sienna made a huge mistake? What will happen when everyone finds out she's been lying? Will she have any friends left?

My Fake Boyfriend Is Better Than Yours by Kristina Springer is a light, funny book that brings back all the drama and angst of junior high. In a good way. Tori's a snarky, authentic narrator, who's as real as she is lovable. Her story could be anyone's, which is why it's so easy to identify with her. Maybe the novel doesn't have a lot of depth, but it's a quick, enjoyable read about the (sometimes ridiculous) lengths we'll go to in order to keep a friend. Although I wouldn't go back to seventh grade if you paid me, I enjoyed revisiting those awkward, in-between years through the eyes of spirited Tori Barnes, who proves that a good friend is worth it. Every time.

(Readalikes: I'm sure there are a million similar stories out there, but I can't think of one. Help?)

Grade: B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG

To the FTC, with love: I received an ARC of My Fake Boyfriend Is Better Than Yours from the generous folks at Farrar Straus and Giroux (a division of McMillan). Thank you!


  1. I think this one sounds fun. When I was in 7th grade, my best friend and I made up a boyfriend for her. She had found a boy's ID bracelet (remember those or maybe you are too young?) with some guy's name on it. She made up a fake boyfriend to go with it and wore it to school. Sounds really stupid now, but she just said he went to another school. LOL

  2. It sounds like a light fun read for a few laughs.


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