Blue Like Friday
By Kate Pavao,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Quirky friends make this sweet story soar.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will learn about Hal's synesthesia, which, for example, makes him associate days of the week and times of day with colors and tastes.
This story is about two very different friends who stick together -- even when the prank they've planned goes very wrong. It celebrates difference -- and the power of friendship.
Positive Role Models
Hal and Olivia don't always have the best intentions, but they are sweet, caring friends who have a lot of trust in each other. He bursts into tears in front of her because he is so relieved his
mother is OK; she tells him she loves him, knowing he wasn't
going to worry that she was "proposing to him or anything."
Violence & Scariness
Mention of a small child finding his father dead. Adults go missing for days.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know this story focuses on a girl and her best friend, a boy who has synesthesia (which means when a certain sense is activated, another is activated at the same time). This is mostly a sweet story about very different friends. Hal and Olivia do play a trick on his mother's live-in boyfriend -- and they worry about what has happened to him, and later what has happened to Hal's mother. But beyond the emotional duress, there is no real fallout from their scheme. Also, in a touching moment, Hal recalls when he, as a small child, found his father dead.
Where to Read
There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the Story?
Olivia and her friend Hal -- a quirky boy who has synesthesia, which makes him say things like Friday is "a light, pretty blue. With frills" -- decide to play a prank on Hal's mother's boyfriend, hoping to break them up. But there are complications -- and they begin to worry about what happened to him. Life becomes more stressful when Hal's mother doesn't return from her outing -- for several days.
Is It Any Good?
This book manages to be both funny and heartwarming, without ever being cloying. This is mainly due to the sweet friendship between offbeat Olivia and even more eccentric Hal. ("Hal is like a little white mouse with a twitchy nose. You can't help liking him, even if the twitch drives you mad.") Readers may have a hard time believing how worked up Hal and Olivia get over his missing stepfather. It's also sort of surprising that Olivia waits several days before telling her mother that Hal's mother has disappeared, especially since Hal is so distraught over it. Kids may find the answers to both missing-person crises a bit anticlimactic, though the easy answers -- and Hal and Olivia's inability to sort them out -- do say something about their childlike thinking. It might have been worthwhile if Hal's synesthesia had worked more into the plot. As it is, his condition is more of a marker of just how unusual he is.
But, these are just small criticisms. Readers will be touched by how vulnerable Hal and Olivia can be with each other. In one scene, he bursts into tears in front of her because he is so relieved his mother is OK; in another, she tells him she loves him, knowing he wasn't going to worry that she was "proposing to him or anything." In the end, it's impossible not to like Hal and Olivia, and to be moved by their sweet, small story.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about synesthesia, which Hal has in the book. This means that when a certain sense is activated, another is activated at the same time. For example, Hal associates days of the week and times of day with colors and tastes. Would you like to have this? If you had it, would you tell people about it or keep it to yourself?
Can you think of other books or movies about characters who think differently? The 2011 National Book Award winner for kids, Mockingbird, features a narrator with autism. What kind of impact do you think these stories have?
- Author: Siobhan Parkinson
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
- Publication date: March 18, 2008
- Number of pages: 160
- Last updated: July 15, 2015
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Read
Our Editors Recommend
Books About Funny Misfit Teens
Misfits in the Movies
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate