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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
BFF: A Story About Bullycide by Lindsey G. P. Bell is the story of a young teenage girl named Abby Feldman. With her mother gone, Abby and her father unilaterally decide to leave the San Francisco Bay Area in favor of a massive house in South Carolina that was bequeathed, free and clear, by Abby's mother. Abby is surprisingly quick to meet a new friend in Hollis Wickwire, and Hollis is able to somewhat fill a void in Abby's heart for a friend named Noa back in California. It soon becomes clear that Hollis is an object of fierce and dehumanizing ridicule, as well as physical abuse, with another female student at the helm. Abby does everything she can and should do as she attempts to get help for Hollis. When the adults meant to protect Hollis brush the complaints off instead of intervening, the consequences are dire and far-reaching.
Lindsey G. P. Bell has written a timely coming of age story with themes that transcend what's comfortable and focus on the unthinkable. BFF is not light reading. This isn't the kind of book you pick up to snuggle in a nook and enjoy the afternoon. The weight of Abby and Hollis' struggles are counterbalanced by a simple narrative and writing style employed by Bell. This didn't bother me on account of the point of view character being thirteen years old, as well as being written in the first-person. As a parent of a teenage daughter, I feel these are the stories that need to be written. Books that address childhood abuse, even when the abusers are other children, are meant to be uncomfortable. I enjoyed Bell's work and am grateful to have read BFF.