Saturday, April 23, 2011
Griffin, A. (2001). Amandine. New York, NY: Hyperion Books for Children.
Delia’s family had just moved and she was having some trouble meeting new friends, not that making friends was anything Delia was ever good at. After receiving some pressure from her parents, Delia makes Amandine, a strange girl who waits for her ride after school at the same place as Delia. Her friendship with Amandine is troubled from the start. She sends Delia grotesque drawings from her Ugliest Thing notebook and together they create scripts they act out, Amandine doing impressions of people they know. Delia isn’t exactly sure how she feels about Amandine, she has a lot of fun with her, but the fun seems bad and she is never sure what Amandine is going to do next. When Amandine acts really horribly towards their friend Mary and blames Delia for it, Delia decides she has had enough of Amandine. She refuses to hang out with her anymore, but unfortunately Amandine is not done yet with Delia. Amandine has dirt on Delia she is willing to let slip to their school if Delia doesn’t reconcile their friendship. Eventually, a lie is told, and Delia and her family are forced to take drastic measures to make their family “normal” again.
This book is definitely for older tweens. Amandine and Delia are both 14 years-old, but I think it would be a beneficial book to girls who are just entering middle school. There seems to be a phase girls go through around middle school where low self-esteem has a tendency to make some of them almost mean and create unhealthy friendships. I definitely went through it and saw other girls my age do the same. It's a rough age where you leave the comfort of your elementary school and move to a bigger school with more students. It is at this time when kids either cling onto or shed their existing friendships for cooler or more like minded friends. It can be a pretty brutal time in a girl's life, speaking from experience. Girls Amandine and Delia's age are often still trying to figure out who they are and what image they want to project, they are also dealing with becoming more empathetic and a growing awareness of right and wrong. It's a tough age, which the author captured well in this book.
Ages 12 - 15
friendship, self-identity, lying
Delia Blaine (Delilah): 14 year-old girl; switched schools midyear; overweight; has a hard time making friends; becomes good friends with Amandine; steals things
Amandine Elroy-Bell: 14 year-old girl; becomes good friends with Delia; comes from family of artists; likes to sketch disturbing images for her Ugliest Thing notebook; has a mean streak; lies to get back at Delia for ending their frienship
Mary Whitecomb: friend of Amandine and Delia's; Amandine draws a gruesome depiction of Mary after Mary makes her angry; preacher's daughter; lives in the country; becomes Delia's only friend
Mrs. Gogglio: older neighbor who gives Delia a ride home from school everyday; is a nurse at a senior home; seems to be the only person who really listens to Delia; calls Delia "Delilah"
Desperate for a friend, Delia befriends Amandine even though she never feels quite comfortable in the friendship. When Amandine shows her true colors, Delia's family has to take drastic measures to escape the chaos Amandine caused.