Best Friends

Common Sense Media says

Story of a friend moving is comforting and relatable.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Shows the strong friendship of two very different girls and how they bounce back after the loss.

Positive role models

Alice and Gemma are sweet girls who sometimes make poor choices, but learn from their mistakes. Friends and family are supportive, especially one beloved grandparent. However, when Gemma gets angry she shouts, fights, and eats until she’s sick. She says “damn” and “hell”
a couple times. Alice’s mother is somewhat materialistic, favoring DKNY instead of Gap, and Gemma's mother doesn't like that her daughter dresses "like a boy." Adults serve Pimm's, which is an alcoholic beverage, at an afternoon picnic.

Violence & scariness

Gemma shouts when she's angry and treats a friend poorly by calling him fat and challenging him to a fight, which never happens.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book deals with the emotional ups and downs of friendship and loss when one friend moves away. Gemma acts out a little in response to this. She challenges someone to a fight that never happens, shouts in anger, and eats sweets until she's sick. Gemma also says "damn" and "hell" a couple of times in front of her granddad, who gently admonishes her.

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

Gemma and Alice have been best friends since birth. They were born on the same day, in the same
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hospital and have been inseparable ever since. Complete opposites (Gemma is athletic
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and messy, while Alice is graceful and tidy), they have a bond that is unbreakable and every year on
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their birthday they share the same wish: “We wish we stay friends forever and
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ever and ever.” Everything seems ruined when Alice's father gets a new job hundreds of
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miles away and the family has to move. Now Alice and Gemma have to navigate the rough waters
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of adjusting to life without each other.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Kids will relate to the strength of Gemma and Alice's friendship, as
well as the sadness and anger they feel at being separated against their will. They’ll
appreciate the warmth of Gemma’s granddad and the lengths he goes to in order
to help his granddaughter cope. Readers will find the book uplifting as they
see the characters learn how to move on.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about friendship and how people can be

  • best friends even when they’re very different. Do you have friends who are

  • different from you? How does that work for or against your friendship?

  • Why did Gemma feel that her mother would prefer Alice as a daughter? Why

  • do some people expect that a girl should wear dresses and care about makeup

  • and hairstyles? What do those expectations say to a girl who doesn’t fit those

  • stereotypes?

  • Why do you think Gemma was so mad at Biscuits and why do you

  • think Biscuits continued to be a good friend to her in spite of it?

Book details

Author:Jacqueline Wilson
Genre:Friendship
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:September 30, 2008
Number of pages:240
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Read aloud:7
Read alone:7

This review of Best Friends was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 8 years old June 25, 2015
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Really Good

It is perfect for 8-10 yearolds. But 7+ can read it too.
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 10 years old October 21, 2009
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

GOOD

GREAT BOOK
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old April 26, 2014
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Cool!

The book is fun to read! Most importantly it shows the meaning of true friendship and that you can be friends if you're different. I bet it calms you down, when your friend moves away.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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