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Let’s Pretend we Never Met [a book review of sorts]

[Yeegads!! I started this post on June 13…Like, almost two months ago! I didn’t realize I hadn’t finished it. Totally a cheat post for Blogust. HAHAH!]

Let’s Pretend We Never Met
by Melissa Walker

If it were up to Mattie Markham, there would be a law that said your family wasn’t allowed to move in the middle of the school year. After all, sixth grade is hard enough without wondering if you’ll be able to make new friends or worrying that the kids in Pennsylvania won’t like your North Carolina accent.

But when Mattie meets her next-door neighbor and classmate, she begins to think maybe she was silly to fear being the “new girl.” Agnes is like no one Mattie has ever met—she’s curious, hilarious, smart, and makes up the best games. If winter break is anything to go by, the rest of the school year should be a breeze.

Only it isn’t, because when vacation ends and school starts, Mattie realizes something: At school Agnes is known as the weird girl who no one likes. All Mattie wants is to fit in (okay, and maybe be a little popular too), but is that worth ending her friendship with Agnes? (goodreads.com)

First things first:

  1. I work at a bookstore. We sell this book.
  2. I know the author. We met because of my (now defunct) book blog.
  3. I am unable to be passionate or excited about anything that I do not actually love. No poker face.

Second things second:

  1. In the mid-80s I read a book titled Thirteen by Candice F. Ransom. That book had me in tears almost from the second chapter. I still own that book. It’s about being a kid and friendships changing as you start to get older (10 – 13 years) and how sometimes your best friend from childhood might suddenly have different interests from you as you grow up. That story has stuck with me all these years. I had to find a copy of the book because I lost mine as I got older. It’s one of those stories that clicks with you on such a personal level that you keep it in your heart forever.
  2. I have loved Melissa Walker’s novels since the first one I ever read – Violet on the Runway back in 2008. Melissa was the first author I met through my blog. She left a comment on my review and I felt like I’d won the lottery. Imagine! An AUTHOR who noticed something *I* wrote. It was amazing. Turns out she’s a wonderful person with whom I enjoyed chatting and whatnot over the years. I have bought every novel she’s ever written. I love her writing. So. Much. It’s almost as though she is able to write exactly what I feel, and think, and get that all on the page. She writes people, teens especially, so well. So realistically. (Realistic?) I have met her. I am not super close BFFs with her, but we talk on social media. I think she’s an amazing woman. But this has nothing to do with how much I love her novels. There are some I love more than others, but ultimately she just happens to be an author who writes stories that I fall in love with. Much like Sarah Addison Allen in adult fiction – and I have never exchanged any sort of anything with that author.
  3. THIS: 

 

[and now, almost two months later…]

I loved this book. Seriously, I did. By page 174 I was in tears. There is so much emotion in this story. Emotion that I know I felt when I was 12. Emotion you will be familiar with. Melissa Walker has an uncanny way of putting on the page what you think in your head. In the two months since I read the book, I have hand-sold almost all of the copies we got in the store. I don’t read a lot of contemporary fiction, so I am more than happy to grab a copy of this book and tell young readers about it when they are looking for something without magic, or fantastic beasts, or fantasy. Thing is, like with Ginny Moon, I get goosebumps when I talk about Let’s Pretend We Never Met. I have said to a couple of young customers that MW can write out what you will find yourself thinking/feeling that you never express out loud. So far that seems to have interested them. I hope they felt I told the truth!

It’s hard being a pre-teen, (or a child, or a teen. You get it.) It’s scary, and difficult when you have to change something drastic at that age – going to a new school, leaving your friends behind. Worrying that because you aren’t there, with your friends, at all times, they will forget you. That you’re left out of everything. That you’re no longer a friend they hold dear. No more BFFs. That’s not a feeling or worry just held for pre-teens. It happens all the time. And Melissa Walker captures that feeling, that anxiety and sadness, so well.

The struggle of wanting to be friends with someone you think is amazing, but also not wanting to be friends with someone everyone else doesn’t like, so you don’t seem like a loser, or un-cool. That struggle, too, is so well portrayed in this story.

Every book I have read by this author has managed to put words to feelings I have had throughout my life. Growing up, being grown-up. She gets it. She gets what it feels like to grow up and manages to write amazing characters who bring real life to life in their stories. That sounds weird, but it’s the only way I can think to express it.

I loved this book. I have read a bunch of other stuff between this novel and now, and nothing else has captured me the way this story has. I now have my second favourite book of the year, after Ginny Moon. Wonder what book will round off the top three?

1 comment to Let’s Pretend we Never Met [a book review of sorts]

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