It's going to be so much better this time.  That's what Mavis' mother tells her every time Mavis has to pick up her bits of everything. leave any hint of a friend, and move to a new place where her mother has found a new job and a new place for them to live. This time it's Landry, Alabama and a job as a housekeeper for a rich and slightly uppity family.  Mavis has a hope.  This time she hopes she'll find someone to be her best friend.

Rose is sitting in the shiny black car as her mother drives out of Magnolia Estates her mouth filled with complaints.  Rose is going along as her mother drives to the bus station to pick up the new housekeeper.  Maybe she'll have a daughter who will be Rose's friend.

For Mavis and Rose it's best friend at first sight. Both girls are lonely and both girls know what it's like to be the odd girl out, the one everyone is whispering about.  Mavis suggests they make a Best Friend Club, with two members, and the two girls start to get to know each other.  Mavis is spunky and ready for adventure.  Rose is a prisoner in her own house shackled by her mother's rules and expectations.

It's summer time and the girls have plenty of time to spend together.  Rose tells Mavis about Mr. Duffy, the elderly man who is the gatehouse attendant for this gated community.  Mr. Duffy is the person who can make Rose feel better when life and her mother are getting to be too much.  Now it turns out, Mr. Duffy needs someone to lift his spirits.  Mr. Duffy's dog Queenie has died and she's taken Mr. Duffy's mojo right along with her.  Sadness has hold of him and won't let go.  Mavis has a plan.  But can the two girls carry it out?  It will take courage and risk and a sense of adventure.

This is a quickly paced book about two girls, an elderly man, a sister, a dog, and two moms.   It's a heart tugger and a short lesson in believing in yourself and standing up for what you think is right even if it means facing your own mother.  You may need a tissue or two but you'll definitely feel like you have two new best friends and you'll be rooting for them to the last page.

288 pages    978-0374310608    Ages 8-12

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com


From Barbara O'Connor, the beloved author of Wish, comes a big-hearted story about the meaning of friendship, the challenges of growing up, and one lovable runaway dog.

Mavis Jeeter is fearless and bold, but she has never lived in one place long enough to have a real best friend. Her flighty mother has uprooted them again to another new home and taken a job as a housekeeper for the Tully family. Mavis wants this home to be permanent―which means finding herself a best friend.

Rose Tully is a worrier who feels like she doesn’t quite fit in with the other girls in her neighborhood. Her closest friend is Mr. Duffy, but he hasn’t been himself since his dog died. Rose may have to break a few of her mother’s many rules to help Mr. Duffy―and find someone who really understands her.

Henry has run away from home, but he craves kindness and comfort―and doesn’t know where to look for them.

When Mavis and Rose hatch a scheme to find Mr. Duffy a new dog, their lives and Henry’s intersect―and they all come to find friendship in places they never expected.--from the publisher

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