Jan 30, 2019
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When Friendship Followed Me Home

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A breathtaking middle-grade novel about happiness, loss, and an unforgettable dog named Flip“This story convinced me all over again that love and imagination are life’s biggest magic.” —Rebecca Stead, author of Newbery Award winner When You Reach Me   Ben Coffin has never been one for making friends. As a former foster kid, he knows people can up and leave without so much as a goodbye. Ben prefers to spend his time with the characters in his favorite sci-fi books…until he rescues an abandoned mutt from the alley next-door to the Coney Island Library.   Scruffy little Flip leads Ben to befriend a fellow book-lover named Halley—yes, like the comet—a girl unlike anyone he has ever met. Ben begins thinking of her as “Rainbow Girl” because of her crazy-colored clothes and her laugh, pure magic, the kind that makes you smile away the stormiest day.    Rainbow Girl convinces Ben to write a novel with her.  But as their story unfolds Ben’s life begins to unravel, and Ben must discover for himself the truth about friendship and the meaning of home. Paul Griffin’s breathtaking middle-grade debut will warm your heart as much as it breaks it.    “Full of pace and laughter, bruises and heart. Paul Griffin is the sort of writer you’re torn between telling the whole world about and keeping all to yourself.”—Markus Zusak, author of Printz Honor Winner The Book Thief“‘Friendship’ is an absolutely beautiful, heart-expanding book.  I cried, but more than that I felt this giant balloon of love for everyone.  This story convinced me all over again that love and imagination are life’s biggest magic. It’ll make you want to grab hold of everyone important to you and lick them on the nose.”   —Rebecca Stead, author of Newbery Award winner When You Reach Me”Some books change the way you see the world. Some change the way you breathe. This book will leave you breathless. This is Paul Griffin’s best book yet—and that’s really saying something.” —Patricia McCormick, author of National Book Award Finalist Sold”When Friendship Followed Me Home is both a beautiful book, and an honest book; it is, in fact, beautiful because it is honest. We see the pain of loss, and the glory of community. We see love in its many forms, and we witness the truth that love goes on despite all barriers. Cheer for Ben and Halley: it is kids like these who are our hope.”  —Gary D. Schmidt, author of Okay for Now

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A breathtaking middle-grade novel about happiness, loss, and an unforgettable dog named Flip“This story convinced me all over again that love and imagination are life’s biggest magic.” —Rebecca Stead, author of Newbery Award winner When You Reach Me   Ben Coffin has never been one for making friends. As a former foster kid, he knows people can up and leave without so much as a goodbye. Ben prefers to spend his time with the characters in his favorite sci-fi books…until he rescues an abandoned mutt from the alley next-door to the Coney Island Library.   Scruffy little Flip leads Ben to befriend a fellow book-lover named Halley—yes, like the comet—a girl unlike anyone he has ever met. Ben begins thinking of her as “Rainbow Girl” because of her crazy-colored clothes and her laugh, pure magic, the kind that makes you smile away the stormiest day.    Rainbow Girl convinces Ben to write a novel with her.  But as their story unfolds Ben’s life begins to unravel, and Ben must discover for himself the truth about friendship and the meaning of home. Paul Griffin’s breathtaking middle-grade debut will warm your heart as much as it breaks it.    “Full of pace and laughter, bruises and heart. Paul Griffin is the sort of writer you’re torn between telling the whole world about and keeping all to yourself.”—Markus Zusak, author of Printz Honor Winner The Book Thief“‘Friendship’ is an absolutely beautiful, heart-expanding book.  I cried, but more than that I felt this giant balloon of love for everyone.  This story convinced me all over again that love and imagination are life’s biggest magic. It’ll make you want to grab hold of everyone important to you and lick them on the nose.”   —Rebecca Stead, author of Newbery Award winner When You Reach Me”Some books change the way you see the world. Some change the way you breathe. This book will leave you breathless. This is Paul Griffin’s best book yet—and that’s really saying something.” —Patricia McCormick, author of National Book Award Finalist Sold”When Friendship Followed Me Home is both a beautiful book, and an honest book; it is, in fact, beautiful because it is honest. We see the pain of loss, and the glory of community. We see love in its many forms, and we witness the truth that love goes on despite all barriers. Cheer for Ben and Halley: it is kids like these who are our hope.”  —Gary D. Schmidt, author of Okay for Now

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Description

From School Library Journal

Gr 5–8—Twelve-year-old Ben, a science fiction fan with low self-esteem after years of foster care, meets a stray dog outside the Coney Island Public Library. Flip, with his big eyes and propensity to lick everyone’s mouth, in turn helps Ben get to know a girl who is fighting cancer, and her family. When Ben’s life gets turned upside down again, Flip remains. This is a “kitchen sink” book; it has bullying, adoption, homelessness, death, abuse, and cancer. However, the optimism of the protagonist combined with the positivity lent by the presence of this loving canine makes this book somehow less hard-hitting than the author’s usual YA dramas. Griffin never throws too much at readers at once, taking his protagonist through each successive challenge, and the dialogue remains consistently light and free of overt emotion. References to science fiction and middle grade literature abound, and there’s some serious admiration for dogs, librarians, and Jacqueline Woodson’s Feathers. The weakest part of this novel is the convoluted science fiction story Ben and the aforementioned girl unspool throughout. The plot-within-a-plot is written by these two imaginative kids with unfettered fancy, with the same quality of a child’s writing. If readers can get past those sections, however, the relentless pull of Ben’s slow character growth through his drama and the big loving doggy presence will pull misty-eyed readers to the very end. VERDICT If you have middle schoolers who are too young to fully grasp John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and love dogs, give them this sweet tearjerker.—Rhona Campbell, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC

Review

A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice
A People magazine Popular Pick
A Summer 2016 Kids’ Indie Next Pick

A Publishers Weekly Best of Summer Pick 

Working Mother magazine’s #1 Best Book of the Year So Far
A 2016 Nerdy Book Club Award winner

“[T]his bittersweet, well-paced book…left me with faith that people can feel discarded, as though everything they love will be taken from them, and still end up whole, if they are touched by love of friendship.” — The New York Times Book Review 

* “Entrancing, magical, tragic, and uplifting.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* “As in his young adult books, Griffin (Adrift) handles hard topics with penetrating insight and honesty, while balancing painful moments (and there are many) with levity.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

* “As funny and heartwarming as it is gut-punching…thoroughly engaging.”  —Shelf Awareness, starred review

* “Although this middle grade book covers some tough topics…it never loses hope.” —School Library Connection, starred review

“If you have middle schoolers who are too young to fully grasp John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and love dogs, give them this sweet tearjerker.” — School Library Journal

“This is a multi-tissue read…Griffin’s characters are unique and charmingly multidimensional. Readerslooking for a deep read will take to this story as quickly as Flip takes to Ben.” — Booklist

When Friendship Followed Me Home was written for middle-grade readers, yet it will find readership among all ages.” —VOYA

“A new classic of young people’s literature.” —workingmother.com

“The story is gripping, the ending bittersweet, and the writing amazing.” —Imagination Soup

“At its core, this book posits a refreshing, if not new, definition of familly…. WHEN FRIENDSHIP FOLLOWED ME HOME is terse and gripping, sad and hilarious, emotional and very, very real.” — Joel Shoemaker, The News-Gazette

“Full of pace and laughter, bruises and heart. Paul Griffin is the sort of writer you’re torn between telling the whole world about and keeping all to yourself.”—Markus Zusak, author of Printz Honor Winner The Book Thief

“‘Friendship’ is an absolutely beautiful, heart-expanding book.  I cried, but more than that I felt this giant balloon of love for everyone.  This story convinced me all over again that love and imagination are life’s biggest magic. It’ll make you want to grab hold of everyone important to you and lick them on the nose.”   —Rebecca Stead, author of Newbery Award winner When You Reach Me

“Some books change the way you see the world. Some change the way you breathe. This book will leave you breathless. This is Paul Griffin’s best book yet—and that’s really saying something.” —Patricia McCormick, author of National Book Award Finalist Sold

When Friendship Followed Me Home is both a beautiful book, and an honest book; it is, in fact, beautiful because it is honest. We see the pain of loss, and the glory of community. We see love in its many forms, and we witness the truth that love goes on despite all barriers. Cheer for Ben and Halley: it is kids like these who are our hope.”  —Gary D. Schmidt, author of Okay for Now

See all Editorial Reviews
A breathtaking middle-grade novel about happiness, loss, and an unforgettable dog named Flip“This story convinced me all over again that love and imagination are life’s biggest magic.” —Rebecca Stead, author of Newbery Award winner When You Reach Me   Ben Coffin has never been one for making friends. As a former foster kid, he knows people can up and leave without so much as a goodbye. Ben prefers to spend his time with the characters in his favorite sci-fi books…until he rescues an abandoned mutt from the alley next-door to the Coney Island Library.   Scruffy little Flip leads Ben to befriend a fellow book-lover named Halley—yes, like the comet—a girl unlike anyone he has ever met. Ben begins thinking of her as “Rainbow Girl” because of her crazy-colored clothes and her laugh, pure magic, the kind that makes you smile away the stormiest day.    Rainbow Girl convinces Ben to write a novel with her.  But as their story unfolds Ben’s life begins to unravel, and Ben must discover for himself the truth about friendship and the meaning of home. Paul Griffin’s breathtaking middle-grade debut will warm your heart as much as it breaks it.    “Full of pace and laughter, bruises and heart. Paul Griffin is the sort of writer you’re torn between telling the whole world about and keeping all to yourself.”—Markus Zusak, author of Printz Honor Winner The Book Thief“‘Friendship’ is an absolutely beautiful, heart-expanding book.  I cried, but more than that I felt this giant balloon of love for everyone.  This story convinced me all over again that love and imagination are life’s biggest magic. It’ll make you want to grab hold of everyone important to you and lick them on the nose.”   —Rebecca Stead, author of Newbery Award winner When You Reach Me”Some books change the way you see the world. Some change the way you breathe. This book will leave you breathless. This is Paul Griffin’s best book yet—and that’s really saying something.” —Patricia McCormick, author of National Book Award Finalist Sold”When Friendship Followed Me Home is both a beautiful book, and an honest book; it is, in fact, beautiful because it is honest. We see the pain of loss, and the glory of community. We see love in its many forms, and we witness the truth that love goes on despite all barriers. Cheer for Ben and Halley: it is kids like these who are our hope.”  —Gary D. Schmidt, author of Okay for Now

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