Was absolutely delighted to find this in my Sharing Library, and can’t wait to get my eldest to read it before putting it back in for the next lucky household to enjoy.
Our heroine Danielle is having a hard time adjusting to life in the seventh grade. Sixth grade was fine as she had the same classes with her two best friends, Joan and Leah. But the new school year has her on a completely different schedule from them, leaving her feeling isolated, friendless and wildly unpopular.
When she inherits a magical sketchbook from her late Grandaunt Elma, she discovers that she can draw things that then manifest directly from the book and into her real life. Unfortunately, the very first thing she conjures up this way is the head of the villain from the Solar Sisters anime she enjoys. Prince Neptune is handsome and evil, tho Dany is convinced that he’s just misunderstood (sigh.) And at first he seems perfectly supportive, if not outright nice, lending her an understanding ear as she confides in him all her insecurities.
Things get trickier after an increasingly desperate Dany, overwhelmed by her lack of social connections at school, decides to draw up the perfect best friend. For all Prince Neptune’s charm, he is still a disembodied head, as well as instantly recognizable as an anime character. Madison, however, is stylish, smart and completely realistic. Best of all, she’s devoted to Dany in all the best ways.
But as the days pass and Madison begins to question who she is and where she came from, Dany finds herself increasingly incapable of dealing with her new best friend’s identity crisis. Meanwhile, Prince Neptune keeps whispering in Dany’s ear, telling her that what she really needs to do in order to be popular is to be as cruel as the kids who pick on her. Things come to an explosive, um, head, as Dany learns the meaning of true friendship, Solar Sisters-style.
This was a terrific, original take on the perils of getting what you wish for, with strong manga influences on the story and, to a certain extent, the art style. Dany is relatable, if on the insecure side. The way she and her friends team up in the end to take on the villain is really great, with clear homages to the seminal anime Sailor Moon. There are also a ton of cute little jokes peppered throughout the background, with a smidge of heavier drama that hints at issues lying, at least for now, on the periphery of Dany’s radar.
I always enjoy the graphic novels put out by Scholastic’s Graphix imprint, finding them a good blend of humorous and thoughtful. This was no different, and is another excellent part of Graphix’ entertaining oeuvre.
Making Friends by Kristen Gudsnuk was published June 26 2018 by Graphix and is available from all good booksellers, including