Griffin, Paul When Friendship Followed Me Home, 247 pgs. Penguin Random House, 2016. $16.99. Language: G ( 0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG; (Brief mildly violent scene).
12-year-old Ben has been in foster care most of his life, but for the last 2 years, he’s been officially adopted. Not one to make friends easily, Ben spends most of his time at the library and reading the books he has at home. But when he meets the librarian’s daughter and starts to write a book with her, and a small dog follows him home, Ben’s life starts to turn around for the better. But an unexpected tragedy threatens to send him back into the system where they don’t let you take your dog. So Ben is again on his own, trying to figure out the meaning of friendship, family and home.
Ben is a good kid trying to do the best he can while waiting until he’s 16 and can be on his own. He’s surrounded by mostly good people (and some bad). There is a lot in this book: Ben’s friend Halley is fighting cancer, they are writing a book together, Ben feels responsible for the dog and even the bully that is suspended after attacking him, Ben is afraid of magicians (Halley’s dad is one) and has a run in with his guardian's boyfriend. This is a nice, yet heartbreaking read, dealing carefully with some complex issues, but maybe too much for an elementary reader.
EL - OPTIONAL MS - ADVISABLE Lisa Librarian