That’s What Friends Do
Winter 2019 Kids Indie Next List
— Reid Wilson, Prairie Pages Bookseller, Pierre, SD
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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.
Praise For That’s What Friends Do…
— Paul Griffin, author of When Friendship Followed Me Home
“Barnhart artfully weaves two viewpoints together, offering a frank portrayal of middle school struggles and the ever-changing nature of friendship.”
— Dee Romito, author of The BFF Bucket List
"The book opens the doors to honest and truthful experiences of damage as a result of gender stereotypes that painfully impact both girls and boys."
— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“A careful introduction to consent and sexual harassment for a middle-grade audience... A worthy, timely, ambitious debut.”
— Kirkus Reviews
"Readers who are beginning to navigate more complicated emotions and personal boundaries will appreciate this story which deftly handles sensitive topics like inappropriate touching and body autonomy."
— School Library Journal
"Fans of Barbara Dee, Ali Benjamin, and Lynda Mullaly Hunt will find this discussion of shattered friendships, toxic masculinity and bullying to be a riveting read."
— Young Adult Books Central
"Told in dual perspectives, this important book will generate conversations about rape culture, consent, and positive relationships."
— A Mighty Girl
HarperCollins, 9780062888938, 352pp.
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
About the Author
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.