Amandine
by Adele Griffin

Feeling alone in a new school and constantly nagged by her mother to interact with other students, Delia becomes friends with Amandine. Although Delia does not exactly like Amandine, she can't help but be intrigued by her. She tells elaborate stories (she used to dance in the same night club as Madonna), and she only comes up with interesting ways of passing the time (writing small skits which poke fun of classmates.) Delia's parents have been completely captivated by her and do all they can to encourage the friendship. Eventually, Delia does have enough of Amandine's lies and cruelty, and decides to not be her friend, anymore. But, Amandine does not forgive, easily and shows her cruel nature when she decides to take revenge.

Griffin does a good job of portraying the agony of trying to making friends in a new school while also living up to the social expecatations of one's mother. It is easy to fall into the wrong group when all you want to do is find a friend. Amandine, unlike bullies in other school stories, is a well rounded character. While we never learn to completly like her, we learn enough about her back story why she behaves the way she does. Although the ending was somewhat unsettling, as it never explains what will happen to Delia, it should be commended for not wrapping everything up too neatly and for being realistic.

This book reminded me of the Judy Blume book Blubber. In that book, Jill, the narrator, find herself being the victim to the school bully, Wendy, after she stands up for Linda, Wendy's current target. Likewise, Delia finds herself falling under Amandine's attack, when she decides to go against her. While Blubber was a realistic portrayal of a fourth grade classroom and the cruelty of children, Amandine takes the concept to a more disturbing degree. Amandine's revenge is much darker than Wendy's, and the characters have emotional problems that are not even touched upon in Blubber. This book is perfect for those who did read Judy Blume's book a few years ago and are looking for something a bit more sophisticated.

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