Blue Like Friday



Quirky friends make this sweet story soar.

What parents need to know

Educational value

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.

Positive messages

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."


Mention of a small child finding his father dead. Adults go missing for days.

Not applicable
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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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.

Parents say

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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.

Families can talk 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?

Book details

Author:Siobhan Parkinson
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:March 18, 2008
Number of pages:160
Read aloud:12
Read alone:12

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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.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old June 7, 2009

I almost fell asleep!!!!!!!!!

This was the most boring book EVER!!! Don`t read it.
Teen, 13 years old Written byILuvCandy August 6, 2012

Good Read

I really liked it but the only negative thing is that i found it a short book when i read it on my kindle but other than that i loved it!!


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