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All Alone in the Universe

by Lynne Rae Perkins

Published by Greenwillow, 1999
133 pages
ISBN: 0-688-16881-7

Ages 9 - 12

With great sensitivity and tenderness, Lynne Rae Perkins captures the devastation that is inevitable when young girl loses her best friend to someone else. Debbie is a quiet and creative child on the verge of adolescence who sometimes relates to adults more easily than to her peers. She can't quite grasp what has happened between her and her once-best-friend, Maureen. Once it was Debbie and the outgoing Maureen who shared every spare moment; then Glenna entered the picture. "Glenna was small and neat and boring and ordinary and irritating. That's what I thought. I thought Maureen felt sorry for her.". But Debbie can feel that when the three of them are together, she is the one who doesn't fit, not Glenna. She and Maureen are still friendly-there is no anger or fighting. But Debbie feels a growing sense of abandonment and sadness. The understated first-person narrative told in Debbie's observant and honest voice admirably refrains from placing blame. Despite Debbie's own obvious dislike of Glenna, reader's are given the opportunity to observe how a friendship can change without anyone necessarily being at fault. Like Debbie, they also discover how the sense of loss can eventually fade, to be replaced by the sweet realization that new friends are waiting to be discovered. CCBC categories: Fiction for Children (MS: Nov 15)  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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