Friday 21 December 2012

My Best friend and Other Enemies

My Best Friend and Other Enemies by Catherine Wilkins (Allen and Unwin)
PB RRP $14.99
ISBN 978-0-85763-095-7
Reviewed by Ann Harth

Jessica and Natalie have been best friends forever. Before they were in sixth grade, they made dens in the lounge room with sheets and ate Fizzy Wands all night. They even pretended they belonged to a pop band and wore matching rainbow t-shirts.

Best friends do these things. Well, they do until they start sixth grade and Amelia enters the scene.

Suddenly Natalie seems to spend more time with creepy Amelia than with her best friend. Jessica is hurt but not beaten. She lingers around the fringes of Natalie’s new life until she decides to strike out on her own.

In this funny and fast paced novel for children aged nine and over, Jessica makes new friends and focuses on her true talent, creating cartoons. Her artistic skills and wit help her to get noticed by tough Tanya. Tanya is always in trouble and Jessica is a little afraid of her, but Tanya seems to like her. She nicknames her “Toons” and plays the part of protector, boosting Jessica’s reputation with the rest of the school.

While Amelia muscles Jessica out of her best friendship with Natalie, Jessica teams up with a whole new group of friends and discovers that she can have just as much, if not more, fun with them.

A welcome twist at the end of the book brings about a satisfying conclusion which allows Jessica to retain her newly discovered individuality and her new friends as well as gain some notoriety as a cartoonist.

Catherine Wilkins captures the voice and thoughts of Jessica beautifully, making it seems as though the author still remembers the roller-coaster of Grade Six as though it were yesterday. Her writing is clear and appealing and her characters likeable. My Best Friend and Other Enemies is hilarious; it’s a book that’s hard to put down. I highly recommend it for ages nine and up.

Catherine Wilkins is a comedian and writer. She lives in London and, when she isn’t writing, performs stand-up comedy in the UK. She has had a wide variety of jobs in her past from insurance broker to pizza deliverer but her favourite is being a writer. For more information about Catherine Wilkins and her book, please visit

Ann Harth is a published children's author and writing tutor at Australian College of Journalism. She loves to read, write and is committed to creating children's literature that inspires, entertains and triggers a tiny twist in the mind. Her latest middle-grade novel, The Art of Magic, and her book for budding authors, Writing for Children – In the Beginning are available from Amazon. 

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