Friday, June 25, 2010

Friend Is Not a Verb

Friend is Not a Verb by Daniel Ehrenhaft (NY: HarperTeen, 2010).

The title of this novel leaped out at me from the library book shelf! How funny--and true--in this age of social networking. The story focuses on Henry, or Hen to his family and friends, Birnbaum's investigation of his sister Sarah's disappearance. Well, she has actually come back home after disappearing for a year, and Hen's pretty sure his parents knew where she was. Now that she's back, Hen assumes the circumstances will be revealed, but no. So he picks up his excellent bass rig and taxis to the loft of Gabriel Stern, one of Sarah's co-conspirators, on the pretense of taking bass lessons, but really to try to ferret out the reason for the top secret flight from NYC. Instead, Hen ends up stealing a manuscript diary that reveals mainly Gabriel's obsession with Sarah and some of the odd details of their foreign exodus.

There are other things percolating in Hen's life. His first-ever girlfriend, Petra, has dumped him, but he's eventually allowed to stay in her self-named band. He's thankful for the sympathy of his best friend and neighbor Emma who willingly gives her thoughts on all things Sarah, Petra, VH1 junk series, and their eerily synchronized dreams. He can't fathom the wacky popularity of the "Steal Your Parents' Money" campaign that has everyone talking. He even gets a job walking dogs for a rude British ex-pat. Where is all this heading? Hen wants answers, and his zany quest will keep readers turning the pages and laughing out loud while cheering him on to victory!

Great read for teen boys and girls, grades 7 & up. Language, sexual situations.

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