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Stick With Me

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An ice skater without a rink. An artist without a place to draw. Two misfit girls who become unlikely friends over the course of an unusual week. Readers of Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Rebecca Stead, and Lisa Graff will adore Stick with Me. Izzy’s best friend seems to be ditching her for the Queen of Mean, Daphne Toll. Izzy wants to fit in and have some real friends, but all she re An ice skater without a rink. An artist without a place to draw. Two misfit girls who become unlikely friends over the course of an unusual week. Readers of Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Rebecca Stead, and Lisa Graff will adore Stick with Me. Izzy’s best friend seems to be ditching her for the Queen of Mean, Daphne Toll. Izzy wants to fit in and have some real friends, but all she really has are her drawings. And then her family rents out their house during winter break for some extra cash—and that family’s daughter is sleeping in Izzy’s room and attending the same camp! Wren is focused on perfecting her ice-skating routine after tanking at sectionals last year. But when her sister qualifies for a life-changing treatment for her epilepsy, Wren is carted off to stay in a rented home near Boston. It doesn’t help that she’s forced to attend the local theater camp, where it seems like the mean girls have it out for her. Will Izzy and Wren’s shared status as targets of Phoebe and Daphne bring them closer? Or will middle school drama prevent them from ever becoming friends? Jennifer Blecher, the author of the acclaimed Out of Place, writes with a pitch-perfect ear for tween girls about the ups and downs of middle school friendships. Told from dual perspectives, Stick with Me is a story about fitting in and figuring yourself out.


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An ice skater without a rink. An artist without a place to draw. Two misfit girls who become unlikely friends over the course of an unusual week. Readers of Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Rebecca Stead, and Lisa Graff will adore Stick with Me. Izzy’s best friend seems to be ditching her for the Queen of Mean, Daphne Toll. Izzy wants to fit in and have some real friends, but all she re An ice skater without a rink. An artist without a place to draw. Two misfit girls who become unlikely friends over the course of an unusual week. Readers of Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Rebecca Stead, and Lisa Graff will adore Stick with Me. Izzy’s best friend seems to be ditching her for the Queen of Mean, Daphne Toll. Izzy wants to fit in and have some real friends, but all she really has are her drawings. And then her family rents out their house during winter break for some extra cash—and that family’s daughter is sleeping in Izzy’s room and attending the same camp! Wren is focused on perfecting her ice-skating routine after tanking at sectionals last year. But when her sister qualifies for a life-changing treatment for her epilepsy, Wren is carted off to stay in a rented home near Boston. It doesn’t help that she’s forced to attend the local theater camp, where it seems like the mean girls have it out for her. Will Izzy and Wren’s shared status as targets of Phoebe and Daphne bring them closer? Or will middle school drama prevent them from ever becoming friends? Jennifer Blecher, the author of the acclaimed Out of Place, writes with a pitch-perfect ear for tween girls about the ups and downs of middle school friendships. Told from dual perspectives, Stick with Me is a story about fitting in and figuring yourself out.

30 review for Stick With Me

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Izzy and her best friend Phoebe always had a lot of fun doing silly things, but now that they are in middle school, Phoebe has little patience for Izzy's "out of the box" ways, especially now that she would rather spend her time with the popular but mean Daphne. Izzy is trying to navigate her feelings about this change, and they are complicated by her family problems. Her parents are both entrepreneurs; her father is trying to market an anti-technology app, and he E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Izzy and her best friend Phoebe always had a lot of fun doing silly things, but now that they are in middle school, Phoebe has little patience for Izzy's "out of the box" ways, especially now that she would rather spend her time with the popular but mean Daphne. Izzy is trying to navigate her feelings about this change, and they are complicated by her family problems. Her parents are both entrepreneurs; her father is trying to market an anti-technology app, and her mother wants to get back into home decorating as a profession. Wren's life is also difficult. She is a figure skater, but the sport has become more of a chore than a joy as competition has become fierce and her skills are lagging behind. It doesn't help that her younger sister, Hannah, is struggling with severe epilepsy and requires lots of doctors' appointments. Her father, a hockey coach, tries to be supportive, but her mother is very much invested in her sister's progress. When Hannah has to have brain surgery in Boston and will be in the hospital for quite some time, the family rents a house... Izzy's house. Izzy's family is cash strapped and looking to make a few dollars, so they list their house on a rental site and plan to live in an apartment over the garage during Izzy's spring break. Both girls are vaguely angry about this situation, so reluctant to connect, but both end up at a theater camp at Izzy's school...with Phoebe AND Daphne. Daphne continues her mean behavior, and Wren helps Izzy understand that it's not okay, and helps her stand up for herself. When Wren makes some bad choices, Izzy helps her out, and both girls learn a bit about dealing with friends and also about dealing with themselves. Strengths: I tell my students that middle school is a time when they are almost certain to lose at least one friend. Interests change, personalities morph, and social pressures become insistent drivers of change. My best friend in 7th grade (oddly enough, named Jenny!) completely ghosted me at the beginning of 8th. It's good for readers to see this reflected in novels. I appreciated that the problems that both Wren and Izzy face are realistic, not tragic, but difficult for them all the same. Parents' attention being drawn away, financial difficulties, and school drama will all speak to readers. Oliver was an intriguing character who could have been even more involved, and Hannah's illness was covered with just enough detail. This felt a bit like Walker's Let's Pretend We Never Met, which has been hugely popular in my library. Weaknesses: Wren's bad choice seemed reasonable, but also a little out of character. I was expecting the dramatic moment to come from Hannah's situation. What I really think: Friend drama is ALWAYS a big draw, so I will definitely purchase this. The cover is really fun; stickers are definitely a big thing with elementary students and younger middle school ones.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Sethi

    I am usually a fan of dual narrative books (this book has two narrators that alternate chapters) and especially when the two characters' lives are weaved together in a magical but realistic way. Jennifer Blecher does this beautifully! I also found it refreshing that one of the families discusses money troubles and how this affects/will affect them in the future. One of the characters has a sibling with a chronic illness and I found the child description of how adults react to this news/her sibli I am usually a fan of dual narrative books (this book has two narrators that alternate chapters) and especially when the two characters' lives are weaved together in a magical but realistic way. Jennifer Blecher does this beautifully! I also found it refreshing that one of the families discusses money troubles and how this affects/will affect them in the future. One of the characters has a sibling with a chronic illness and I found the child description of how adults react to this news/her sibling accurate. I could see this representation also being significant for some students/families. Last but not least, the book does a spot on job of describing friendship troubles and the agony that is shifting friendships in middle school. I hope I can use this book for a book group later this school year!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Face it. Middle school is a war zone. It's a transition from childhood to adulthood where everyone is trying to figure out who they want to be and which group they will ultimately belong to. Throw in a bully, and life can be pure misery. For 12-year old Wren, the transition is especially hard when her best friend Phoebe abandons her the super-cool Daphne. And on top of that, money has become tight in the family when her father changes jobs to a startup. Now Wren and her family have to move into Face it. Middle school is a war zone. It's a transition from childhood to adulthood where everyone is trying to figure out who they want to be and which group they will ultimately belong to. Throw in a bully, and life can be pure misery. For 12-year old Wren, the transition is especially hard when her best friend Phoebe abandons her the super-cool Daphne. And on top of that, money has become tight in the family when her father changes jobs to a startup. Now Wren and her family have to move into the garage while they rent out their house. Jennifer Blecher perfectly captures the angst of middle-school in this delightful story. Definitely recommended for middle grade girls!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Afoma Umesi

    Jennifer Blecher's Stick with Me is a heartwarming middle-grade book about finding friendship in unexpected places. This sophomore novel explores female friendships, bullying in middle school, life with a sick sibling, and pursuing artistic passions and a love for ice skating. Readers who enjoy family-centered novels and books featuring strong female protagonists will enjoy this one. Read my full review on my blog. Thanks to the publisher for an eARC via Edelweiss. Jennifer Blecher's Stick with Me is a heartwarming middle-grade book about finding friendship in unexpected places. This sophomore novel explores female friendships, bullying in middle school, life with a sick sibling, and pursuing artistic passions and a love for ice skating. Readers who enjoy family-centered novels and books featuring strong female protagonists will enjoy this one. Read my full review on my blog. Thanks to the publisher for an eARC via Edelweiss.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura Gardner

    Excellent middle grade book with two perspectives. Addresses money troubles, bullying, sick siblings (and the difficulty of making sacrifices), and more. Friendship drama is very well done!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    When fitting in means finding the right friend... Jen Blecher’s done it again—written a lovely middle grade novel that’s both minutely observed and wonderfully encompassing in terms of its larger themes. Izzy is a talented artist suffering growing pains within her social group and enduring the stiletto-sharp pierce of exclusion as her so-called friends reject her. At the same time, her parents are going through a financial crisis and will need to rent out their home to make ends meet, while the fa When fitting in means finding the right friend... Jen Blecher’s done it again—written a lovely middle grade novel that’s both minutely observed and wonderfully encompassing in terms of its larger themes. Izzy is a talented artist suffering growing pains within her social group and enduring the stiletto-sharp pierce of exclusion as her so-called friends reject her. At the same time, her parents are going through a financial crisis and will need to rent out their home to make ends meet, while the family moves into their garage apartment. This move will separate Izzy from where she makes her art. Wren is an ambitious ice skating star whose adorable little sister, Hannah, has profound health issues that will require the family to spend a few weeks near the hospital where she receives treatment. This move will keep Wren from the rink at a crucial time in her skating season. AirB&B and drama camp bring Wren and Izzy together, when Wren’s family rents Izzy’s house for the duration of Hanna’s operation and recovery and the girls are thrust into a vacation program at Izzy’s school. Both Wren and Izzy are out of sorts and lonely, but they find in each other both fun and comfort, and a friendship that celebrates who they are instead of who their peers think they should be. With a well-paced plot, a very satisfying ending, and relatable themes and issues (bullying, financial difficulties, friends who are “different,” the quasi-professionalizing of kids’ sports), STICK WITH ME delivers both comfort and entertainment. A cozy winter read for middle graders.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ellie M

    Izzy doesn't understand why her best friend, Phoebe, is slowly abandoning her for a new friend, Daphne, and has no one else to share her frustration with. So she expresses it through her drawings and her obsession with stickers that she used to share with Phoebe. When her dad's startup is discovered to be losing money, Izzy's parents decide to rent out their house (think Airbnb) and move into their apartment over their garage for a week. All Wren wants is a second chance at figure skating after s Izzy doesn't understand why her best friend, Phoebe, is slowly abandoning her for a new friend, Daphne, and has no one else to share her frustration with. So she expresses it through her drawings and her obsession with stickers that she used to share with Phoebe. When her dad's startup is discovered to be losing money, Izzy's parents decide to rent out their house (think Airbnb) and move into their apartment over their garage for a week. All Wren wants is a second chance at figure skating after she fell last year during a routine and couldn't move on to nationals. Now she takes private lessons every morning, as well as extra sessions with her father when the hockey team he coaches leaves the rink empty. But when her four-year-old sister, Hannah, is approved for a new surgery to treat her epilepsy, her family must leave the rink for a week and stay in a rented house in Boston. Wren is disappointed to find out that the only ice rink nearby is extremely crowded and mostly unavailable to the public, and the local pond isn't cleared. Her parents sign her up for a theater camp at Izzy's school, where she is forced to spend most of the day with not only Izzy but the "queen of mean" Daphne. My only complaint is that I wish this book was longer, but that's not really a complaint, because the ending was satisfying. Even if Izzy and Wren didn't get much time together, they managed to see each other later on.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Izzy’s best friend, Phoebe, has been hanging out more and more with Daphne, a girl who bullies Izzy and others. Wren loves figure skating and hopes to place at sectionals; however, she has to miss training during winter break because her family needs to travel to Boston for her sister Hannah’s surgery. Izzy and Wren meet when Wren’s family rents Izzy’s family’s house. The two girls are sent to theater camp, which they are reluctant to attend. Unfortunately, Phoebe and Daphne are also at the camp Izzy’s best friend, Phoebe, has been hanging out more and more with Daphne, a girl who bullies Izzy and others. Wren loves figure skating and hopes to place at sectionals; however, she has to miss training during winter break because her family needs to travel to Boston for her sister Hannah’s surgery. Izzy and Wren meet when Wren’s family rents Izzy’s family’s house. The two girls are sent to theater camp, which they are reluctant to attend. Unfortunately, Phoebe and Daphne are also at the camp. The ups and downs of friendships, including the loss of a friendship—common in middle school and in other times of life—are well-portrayed in this novel. I liked the inclusion of figure skating and art. I also appreciated the realistic ways in which the girls react to and negotiate the challenges they face. This is one to have on your library shelves. Thank you to NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kaela Noel

    What a beautifully written gem of a book. Blecher is a fantastic writer and does such a good job of depicting the sensitive, complicated terrain of shifting friendships in middle school. The portrayal of the bullying tactics of the popular girls was so realistic and pitch perfect I found myself cringing in empathy with their targets Izzy and Wren, especially Izzy—but the ending was quietly triumphant, and I loved seeing a plausible way to deal with these conflicts so deftly rendered on the page. What a beautifully written gem of a book. Blecher is a fantastic writer and does such a good job of depicting the sensitive, complicated terrain of shifting friendships in middle school. The portrayal of the bullying tactics of the popular girls was so realistic and pitch perfect I found myself cringing in empathy with their targets Izzy and Wren, especially Izzy—but the ending was quietly triumphant, and I loved seeing a plausible way to deal with these conflicts so deftly rendered on the page. I wish this book had been around when I was 10-12 years old. I would have felt such kinship with Izzy and her longing to belong while also figuring out her own interests and sense of self. A great read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Freeman

    Twelve-year-old Izzy is feeling out of place and out of sorts (what 12 year old isn't?). Her best friend is hanging with the mean girls and her family is a bit low on cash so they're going to rent out their house on VRBO and live in the apartment above the garage for a week. Twelve-year-old Wren is also feeling out of sorts. All she wants to do is skate, land her double lutz and make it to the state competition. But her little sister needs some special surgery out of town so they have to rent a Twelve-year-old Izzy is feeling out of place and out of sorts (what 12 year old isn't?). Her best friend is hanging with the mean girls and her family is a bit low on cash so they're going to rent out their house on VRBO and live in the apartment above the garage for a week. Twelve-year-old Wren is also feeling out of sorts. All she wants to do is skate, land her double lutz and make it to the state competition. But her little sister needs some special surgery out of town so they have to rent a VRBO in Boston for the week before the competition. Talk about resentment. Blecher nicely captures the confusing emotions, anxieties and joys of life as a middle school girl.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Val

    Link to my book talk: https://youtu.be/sCasNeMSvs0 I love this amazing book about friendship and belonging. It is a well-crafted book because little adventures that Wren and  Izzy have! I enjoyed reading how Izzy and Wren connect in a special circumstance and how their friendship grows. This author made a really good plot and storyline that all MG readers should be able to enjoy! And how lovely is the cover! I received this e-ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest revie Link to my book talk: https://youtu.be/sCasNeMSvs0 I love this amazing book about friendship and belonging. It is a well-crafted book because little adventures that Wren and  Izzy have! I enjoyed reading how Izzy and Wren connect in a special circumstance and how their friendship grows. This author made a really good plot and storyline that all MG readers should be able to enjoy! And how lovely is the cover! I received this e-ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    the lady e

    Review copy courtesy of Edelweiss. This is a great middle grade novel focusing on the pains of adolescent girl friendship and growing up. Izzy’s best friend since forever, Phoebe, has abandoned her for a cooler friend, and her family is renting out their house for a week to Wren’s family. Wren is an ice skater who is obsessed with getting better but her dreams of practicing are hampered by her sister’s surgery, which takes her family to living in Izzy’s house. The story was a quick read with a lo Review copy courtesy of Edelweiss. This is a great middle grade novel focusing on the pains of adolescent girl friendship and growing up. Izzy’s best friend since forever, Phoebe, has abandoned her for a cooler friend, and her family is renting out their house for a week to Wren’s family. Wren is an ice skater who is obsessed with getting better but her dreams of practicing are hampered by her sister’s surgery, which takes her family to living in Izzy’s house. The story was a quick read with a lot of emotion, would be good for a small book club.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Thank you to Net Galley and Greenwillow Books for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review. I enjoy books with dual narrators so I appreciated getting to hear this story from both Izzy and Wren's point of view. Blecher does a wonderful job describing the ever changing landscape of friendships in a middle school. It can be a difficult time and your friends can change often so I looked the honest look at the impact that has on kids. Thank you to Net Galley and Greenwillow Books for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review. I enjoy books with dual narrators so I appreciated getting to hear this story from both Izzy and Wren's point of view. Blecher does a wonderful job describing the ever changing landscape of friendships in a middle school. It can be a difficult time and your friends can change often so I looked the honest look at the impact that has on kids.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

    I received this e-ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This was a quick story that will play well to the middle grade audience. Izzy and Wren are relatable characters with believable storylines. I enjoyed reading it, and expect its target audience will enjoy it just as much.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    I loved this compassionate, insightful, beautifully written story about friendship, family, and figuring out where you fit. It’s a perfect warm and cozy winter read, and I love how Jennifer Blecher creates sympathetic, relatable characters who have messy feelings and make big mistakes and then figure out how to heal and move forward. Gorgeous, pitch-perfect third person voice, too. Lovely!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Yuki Klotz-Burwell

    Loved this MG book that accurately covers the trials & tribulations of middle school! Rocky friendships, mean girls, family issues....I loved Stick With Me. I also loved the figure skating recognition! yukireads.com IG: @yuki.reads

  17. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    Really enjoyable read. Blecher knows her tweens and the different interests of the two protagonists was well-drawn and believable. Added bonus: local interest; I could truly envision where everything took place.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christina Marie Reads

    I read this wonderful book in a few short, blissful hours! It's a beautiful tale of the importance of friendship and family! I read this wonderful book in a few short, blissful hours! It's a beautiful tale of the importance of friendship and family!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    A very fast read. Would be a great read-aloud for upper elementary and middle school classes.

  20. 4 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    A lackluster story I’m not going to waste time reviewing. Might appeal to younger MG readers.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    A short and simple read celebrating the power of friendship while also acknowledging the serious nature of relationships that middle grade readers are likely to experience at that same age.

  22. 4 out of 5

    IT Librarian Indian Trail

    Book talk 6/7

  23. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne Stewart

    Didn't engage with the characters much. Does do a good job of illustrating how to be unselfish and make a few sacrifices. Deals with bullies so not all that original. Just ok. Didn't engage with the characters much. Does do a good job of illustrating how to be unselfish and make a few sacrifices. Deals with bullies so not all that original. Just ok.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    Jennifer Blecher preserved the ingredients from her successful debut, “Out of Place,” and reworked them in her stunning second middle grade novel “Stick With Me.” Wren is a talented ice skater who travels to Boston to be with her little sister Hannah while she undergoes surgery at a local hospital. Her parents rent a house for a week, and Wren moves into the room of a young girl her age named Izzy. Izzy and her family move into the apartment above their garage, and form a friendship with their n Jennifer Blecher preserved the ingredients from her successful debut, “Out of Place,” and reworked them in her stunning second middle grade novel “Stick With Me.” Wren is a talented ice skater who travels to Boston to be with her little sister Hannah while she undergoes surgery at a local hospital. Her parents rent a house for a week, and Wren moves into the room of a young girl her age named Izzy. Izzy and her family move into the apartment above their garage, and form a friendship with their new tenants. Wren joins Izzy for her week-long theater camp, and is absorbed into a web of drama that threatens to complicate their relationship. These two unlikely friends band together and learn what it means to “stick together.” Blecher has a clear gift for noticing and writing about young girls who live on social margins, and the particular struggle of wanting to belong while staying faithful to one’s true self. Izzy and Wren are relatable heroines with flaws, impulses, and dreams that will resonate with young readers. The impact of Hannah’s illness on her family is a welcomed form of representation in the Middle Grade genre: the family is uprooted from its routine and deals with a considerable amount of stress and unknown as they anticipate the surgery’s outcome. The author addresses the topic with sensitivity and realism, without sugarcoating the very real effect of medical transitions on families. “Stick With Me” is a smart and emotionally honest book that lays bare the complexities of friendship and of growing up. (Reviewed for School Library Journal - thank you for the ARC!)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    Jennifer Blecher perfectly captures all the trials of a middle school girl - lost friendships, hateful popular girls, the struggle to fit in - in such a realistic and relatable way. We've all met a frenemy like Daphne, felt lost in the crowd like Izzy, or invisible in light of our sibling's needs like Wren. The themes in "Stick With Me" lend themselves to deep and interesting conversations about the difficulties of figuring out who we are and our place in the world. Izzy's brother Nate is the vo Jennifer Blecher perfectly captures all the trials of a middle school girl - lost friendships, hateful popular girls, the struggle to fit in - in such a realistic and relatable way. We've all met a frenemy like Daphne, felt lost in the crowd like Izzy, or invisible in light of our sibling's needs like Wren. The themes in "Stick With Me" lend themselves to deep and interesting conversations about the difficulties of figuring out who we are and our place in the world. Izzy's brother Nate is the voice of wisdom in all of this, and it was touching to watch their relationship unfold over the course of the story. Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alida Durham Clemans

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bethany M. Edwards

  29. 5 out of 5

    Darla Chambers

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brandi

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