April 2012 Indie Next List
“While Anna is struggling with friends at school, she turns to books to find the company of her favorite characters. Real life situations, however, actually begin to show her the joys of real friends. This is a heartwarming story about true friendship and also about being true to yourself.”
— Lisa Fabiano, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA
In Chinese, peng you means friend. But in any language, all Anna knows for certain is that friendship is complicated.
When Anna needs company, she turns to her books. Whether traveling through A Wrinkle in Time, or peering over My Side of the Mountain, books provide what real life cannot--constant companionship and insight into her changing world.
Books, however, can't tell Anna how to find a true friend. She'll have to discover that on her own. In the tradition of classics like Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy books and Eleanor Estes' One Hundred Dresses, this novel subtly explores what it takes to make friends and what it means to be one.
"A gentle, affectionate take on familiar middle-grade issues and the joys of reading."--Kirkus"Tender . . . Cheng credibly portrays Anna's budding maturity."--Publishers Weekly "Cheng's telling is as straightforward yet sympathetic as her self-contained main character; and Halpin's often lighthearted pencil-and-wash sketches both decorate and enrich this perceptive novel."--Horn Book "Readers are led to discover the extraordinary within the ordinary, and to witness how kindness can draw trust and create confidence in a hesitant child."--School Library Journal "This is a remarkably pithy and nuanced portrait of a fourth-grader and her world, and the streamlined simplicity of Cheng's writing and the brief page count make it accessible."--Bulletin "The Year of the Book was a pleasure to read and more. This is a novel to treasure and share with every middle-grade reader you know."--New York Times Book Review