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  My New Best Friend
(Friends for Keeps #2)
Harcourt Books, 2008
available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book formats
ages 7 to 10
  Publisher's Summary
  There's a new girl in town! After Ida May’s last best friend moved away, she swore she’d never have another. But then she met fun, sparkly Stacey Merriweather, and now she and Ida are like two peas in a pod. When the friends discover a magical mermaid night-light that seems to grant wishes, they start a secret club—just the two of them. Ida uses the mermaid to make something bad happen to Jenna, the mean girl in class.
  Then Stacey uses the mermaid to undo a scheduled math test. The more they put the mermaid's powers to use, the more they need to help it along by manipulating the truth with their "highly creative stories." Ida goes along with all the lies at first. But before long, Ida suspects that Stacey is using the mermaid to tell some big lies . . . and to cause some big trouble at home. And soon Ida feels caught between telling the truth and hurting friendship with Stacey. How will Ida set the record straight while still keeping her new best friend?
“Ida May returns in this sequel to My Last Best Friend. Her developing friendship with Stacey Merriweather and growing animosity toward Jenna Drews continue, but not without some bumps and insights along the way. Stacey and Ida discover an old mermaid night-light in Ida's attic. They decide that the lamp is magic, with the power to carry out good and bad wishes, and form a two-member Secret Mermaid Club. The mermaid has a pleasant smile until plugged in—then she exhibits a frightening grimace that makes Ida state, 'her evil, glowing grin makes me pee my pants.' Various family situations are well represented and lend credence to the characters' behaviors. Ida comes from a solid, two-parent family; Stacey's folks are divorced, and she lives with her mother, while her brother lives with their father; and Jenna's dad has recently lost his job, sending her family into a tailspin. Fourth-grade jealousies, problems, misbehavior, and consequences will be familiar to elementary school girls, who will enjoy this entry as much as the original." — School Library Journal
“This delightful sequel to 2007’s My Last Best Friend continues the story of fourth-grader Ida May, her growing friendship with Stacey and her rivalry with bully Jenna. While looking for costumes in her attic, Ida May and Stacey unearth a mermaid nightlight. Turned off, the mermaid has a pleasant smile; turned on, the smile turns into a scary, glowing grin. Stacey believes the lamp will cast evil spells like those in horror movies. They form the 'Secret Mermaid Club,' and Ida May directs the first spell at bossy Jenna. The two girls believe their spells actually work, but things become complicated when they need to lie to make Stacey’s spells come true. Can Ida May straighten things out without endangering their friendship? The unexpected twist, with Ida May extending the hand of friendship to Jenna, is believable and satisfying. Bowe is spot-on with Ida May’s feelings toward Stacey and her change-of-heart toward Jenna. Issues surrounding divorced households are handled realistically. Fans of Ida May will be overjoyed to read this new installment." — Kirkus Reviews
My New Best Friend
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