Friendship Over: The Top-Secret Diary of Celie Valentine, Book 1

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
Friendship Over: The Top-Secret Diary of Celie Valentine, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Fun and insightful look at elementary school friend drama.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Helps kids navigate a friendship falling out by offering some practical tips throughout the story.

Positive Messages

Strong messages about friendship and working through differences. Also, talking through feelings is highlighted without condemnation or judgment about "good" or "bad" feelings.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Celie has her troubles but rises to the occasion when challenged. Her sister experiences peer pressure to take part in a mean prank but ultimately does what's right to prevent the embarrassment of a classmate. Her parents and guidance counselor also are positive role models.

Violence & Scariness

Mild name-calling, such as "Bubbles" for a girl who passes gas; it's a term of endearment when her father uses it but not when her sister does.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Friendship Over: The Top Secret Diary of Celie Valentine, Book 1 deals with a falling out between two elementary school friends and also features some middle school friendship issues. The process of working through the elementary relationships is guided by caring adults. A relative in the book may have Alzheimer's disease or is suffering from dementia, but the diagnosis has not been revealed.

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What's the story?

Celie has just turned 10 and is having a tough time: Her best friend is no longer her friend, and she doesn't know why; her sister's friend is super annoying; and her Granny has been acting strange. Will the stress from her Granny's behavior hurt her mom and dad's relationship? Will Celie ever get over losing her best friend?

Is it any good?

FRIENDSHIP OVER: THE TOP SECRET DIARY OF CELIE VALENTINE is a fun romp that takes on the ever-present topic of friend drama through the eyes of Celie Valentine. Author Julie Sternberg does a great job making Celie's travels through her trials charming and familiar, though the dialogue sometimes makes Celie sound more like an 8-year-old than a contemporary 10-year-old. Readers will learn some great coping skills to help deal with overwhelming emotions and times when friends don't see eye to eye.

Some of the most intriguing moments in the novel are when Celie investigates her grandmother's  strange behavior, and there's real depth shown in the interactions of the family during those times. As more families take on the task of caring for their elderly relatives, more and more kids and adults may identify with the resulting change in the family dynamic.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about friendship drama. How do you work out relationship issues with your friends, especially when you've had a conflict? Have you ever had a friend get mad at you, and "putting yourself in their shoes" was the only way to understand why?

  • What other books about friendship have your read? Do you have a favorite?

  • Do you have trustworthy adults to come to when you're having trouble with friends? Do you know whom you can go to about a problem with friends or bullies?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love books about school and freindships

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