Friend Me

Scholastic Audio. 2020. 505p. $74.99. ISBN 9781338673227.
Gr 6 Up–Roisin and her family just moved to a suburb of Boston from Ireland, and she finds it hard to make friends and fit in at her new middle school. Zara, one of the popular girls, doesn’t make it any easier for her, and targets Roisin daily through online bullying and even takes it as far as physically attacking her in the bathroom. Roisin’s only friend is one she met online through U-Chat, a girl named Haley who has her own experiences with bullying and middle school mean girls. Roisin confides in Haley, and they chat endlessly about ways they’d like to see Zara get what is coming to her. But when Zara gets hurt on a school field trip, Roisin starts to worry about the messages she and Haley have sent wishing harm on Zara. As Roisin tries to fix this problem with Haley, she realizes that Haley might not be who she said she was. Roisin might be the one in danger if Haley can’t get her way. A suspenseful novel that takes a not-so-distant futuristic approach to online bullying and mean girl behavior, middle school students will all be able to relate to the characters in this book. The ease of being able to bully someone from the privacy of a screen is a form of bullying many kids today are experiencing or witnessing. Narrator Katy Davis gives Roisin a relatable voice and creates a suspenseful tone through the narrative’s prose.
VERDICT A valuable addition to any middle grade audiobook collection.

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