When you take the time to open a book, you never know just what you might get. It seems like a simple story on friendship but then you’re delighted to discover it is more than that. It’s about middle graders who put others ahead of themselves, it’s about reaching out to the community to give back, and dynamics between people. It’s also about the journey of self and discovering all that you have to give is so much more than you ever imagined.
The Friendship Bracelet by Arlene Stewart
Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Date: 4 July 2017
You know when you’re getting into a book and POOF it ends, and it all feels so sudden and abrupt…. well this is what happened when I read The Friendship Bracelet. When I first started reading this book it took me a little while to get into it but then I got to a point where I simply just could not put it down.
In this book friendships both old and new are mourned and formed, when Olivia’s bestie Alex moves to Paris. When new friendships are formed, it is the common enjoyment of making friendship bracelets that sees Olivia, Zoe, Mu Mu, Austen, and Ethan form the group THREADS. Nothing about these friendships are simple, with new pups, boy liking girl and new friends in old houses that cause uncertainty, secrets and memories past.
The story begins with Olivia finding her mums old friendship bracelet which goes on a journey with her and the significance of it all becomes clear at the end of the book. Like most books there were a few challenging characters including Elin and “sidekick” Kennedy, and Ethan’s stepbrother Jayden.
This book for middle graders, shows the reader the value of friendships, the art of reaching out to others, and the gift of kindness. Combined these three qualities are what bind the group of friends together and make them a strong team, facing whatever comes their way.
Overall it is an enjoyable read. although it starts slow the story hits a certain point where you can see where the story is going, and you get excited about where it will take you. There were several story lines going at once which meant that not every part could be explored further. I think the issues that Ethan was facing with his stepbrother Jayden would have been very interesting had it been looked more deeply at. In fact, I believe there is a whole another story there waiting to be written.
The addition of instructions on how to make a friendship bracelet at the very end was wonderful, this would be so much more fun if it had been sold with a small bracelet making kit.
I recommend The Friendship Bracelet, and while it’s suggested as a read for middle graders it is also suitable for older children too.
Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.
Please note the image is not mine and belongs to the publishing company.