This middle grade book by Lauren Myracle, the book is actually an astute study of eleven and twelve year-old girls.
A character-driven story with a lot of heart, Eleven nearly exactly mirrors my own experiences at that age. What do you do when you feel as if you and your best friend are drifting apart? When friends outgrow each other, can they still remain friends?
When I was eleven, my best friend and I were on different "teams" at school, just like Winnie and her best friend Amanda. Amanda wants to try out perfume and read Seventeen magazine, while Winnie wants to explore a quirky vintage store. This is the first indication that the girls are on separate paths.
What I enjoyed about this book is that Amanda is not turned into a stereotypical "mean girl." Nor is Winnie a typical nerd. Instead, the author sensitively depicts the process of growing up as subtle differences become larger obstacles to friendship.
I think so many of us go through this, and it's easy to get angry with the popular girls when they leave their old friends behind. Reflecting on this book, I remembered the fact that my best friend was more interested in makeup and boys than riding our bikes and playing outdoors meant that we quickly drifted apart. We went from best friends to strangers in a matter of weeks. In high school, she and I ended up working together, and we renewed our friendship almost five years later. Neither she nor I had fought the first time we parted ways. It was more like a natural progression toward the people we were becoming.
This is what we see in Eleven, and I hope to read the continuing story in Twelve and Thirteen.