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“It’s been a while since I read a middle-grade book, but this bittersweet tale of adolescent friendship was certainly worth making an exception for. The relationships are messy and complicated, and while parents and peers ‘just don’t understand,’ the novel doesn’t try to paint miscommunication as an insurmountable part of growing up, but rather a problem to be rectified. This is a tale of self-discovery and shame, of realizing your parents aren’t perfect and you aren’t either, and an important book for anyone who has ever lost a friend or wondered why things can’t stay the same forever. If you’re looking for catharsis, That’s What Friends Do will deliver.”
— Reid Wilson, Prairie Pages Bookseller, Pierre, SD
A heartfelt and powerful debut novel for fans of Erin Entrada Kelly and John David Anderson, That’s What Friends Do is a book for anyone learning how to have the hard conversations about feelings, boundaries, and what it means to be a true friend.
Samantha Goldstein and David Fisher have been friends ever since they met on their town’s Little League baseball team. But when a new kid named Luke starts hanging out with them, what was a comfortable pair becomes an awkward trio.
Luke’s comments make Sammie feel uncomfortable—but all David sees is how easily Luke flirts with Sammie, and so David decides to finally make a move on the friend he’s always had a crush on.
Soon things go all wrong and too far, and Sammie and David are both left feeling hurt, confused, and unsure of themselves, without anyone to talk to about what happened.
As rumors start flying around the school, David must try to make things right (if he can) and Sammie must learn to speak up about what’s been done to her.
Cathleen Barnhart holds a BA in creative writing from Carnegie Mellon University and an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. That’s What Friends Do is her first published novel.