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The Secret Language of Girls (The Secret Language of Girls #1)

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  4,211 ratings  ·  426 reviews
In the old days, when Kate had no interest in romance, she never cared what other people thought. Now, it appeared, love was turning her into a rotten human being.Eleven-year-old Kate Faber wishes she could talk to her best friend, Marylin, about this. But Marylin is no longer her best friend. Or is she? Kate and Marylin were always the kind of best friends who lived on th ...more
Hardcover, 247 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Turtleback Books (first published January 1st 2004)
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Delena Isilee This is a story about lifelong best friends growing apart as they grow up. I can't tell you much more, as the last time I read this book was last…moreThis is a story about lifelong best friends growing apart as they grow up. I can't tell you much more, as the last time I read this book was last year, but I can tell you that it's worth the read, especially with the sequels to add on to it. Read the description again, it says a lot about the book.

It's a very inspiring story, especially for me, since it inspired me to try writing songs and poetry.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tulah807
It seems that people are only popular because they are unstable with who they are, and if they ‘fit in’. Popular kids act all cool around others, but on the inside they are asking if the other person likes them.

In my book Marylin doesn’t think she is pretty, or smart, and she insults herself a lot about dumb things like her toes, lowering her self confidence. Then when she gets the chance to become a cheerleader, she drops her whole life and best friend Kate who has helped her through many toug
...more
Molly
Like Lynne Rae Perkins'ALL ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE, I wish I'd read this back in 6th grade, in the moments when I first learned that a friendship could end, and break your heart as it does.

I loved the dual voices in this - loved that the author showed the friend doing the outgrowing (and how uncertain it all felt) and leaving behind, not just the friend left behind.

This one stays on my shelves for a re-read, and I'd recommened it to anyone trying to authentically write the small but oh-so-import
...more
Tori I
I am currently reading The Secret Language of Girls by: Frances O'Roark Dowell. This book is the one you are supposed to read before you read The Kind of Friends We Used To Be. This book was practically made for girls who love fiction and that's why this book wanted me to keep reading it. Not only is Frances O'Roark Dowell a great author, the really understands what Middle School girls lives are like! I'm glad there is sequel because I love the book Mrs. Dowell writes. I will warn you once you s ...more
Nora Wilcox
I think that this book is a pretty good book for readers that like romance and friendship. The parts I did not like about this book were the parts when the girls where arguing after the party. One thing I do like about this book is it really shows how us girls react to each other in different occasions.This book is difficult for the girls because they all have different personality's. I would recommend this book for my friend, Charlene because she likes friendship and maybe a little bit of roman ...more
Allison
Great book. It captures so much about being eleven - the transitions that are happening as well as being apprehensive about the ones coming too soon, deciding between being yourself and fitting in, juggling friendships, family, and relationships. It's excellently written, and made me think a lot about my own experience. The beginning was a little confusing because a lot of names were mentioned without you knowing if the adults were parents or neighbors, and if "Max" was a little brother or a pet ...more
Rstolworthy4
Kate Faber wanted to talk with her friend, Marilyn. But, Marilyn was no longer best friends with Kate and has practically known her her whole life. So, Marilyn knew she still wanted to be friends with Kate, her only problem was her other friends were getting in the way of their friendship. Then, Kate's old friends had gotten into the way of their friendship told Marilyn to trick her but she refused, and then Kate found out and they were good friends again.
The Secret Language of Girls is about, f
...more
H
An above average story of two best friends who find themselves going their separate ways when they move on to middle school. One becomes a cheerleader, another follows her own more individualistic track. Dowell is a good writer who crafts believable, very real feeling girls. My only quibbles: 1) not sure modern girls will really get the whole 45 minutes on the phone thing - I'm not sure if they still DO that! 2) why does the girl who decides to become a cheerleader always have to be depicted as ...more
Heidi
Oct 09, 2012 Heidi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Grades 4-6
Kate and Marilyn have been friends since nursery school. However, that friendship is challenged during their sixth grade year. Marilyn hates her toes, changes the spelling of her name to Marylin, cares about what other people think of her, and feels Kate needs to grow up a little bit. Kate loves playing basketball, likes to write, prefers reading over watching TV., and doesn’t understand why people want to be popular.

When Flannery, a girl in the 7th grade, moves into their neighborhood, Kate &am
...more
Charissa
Okay, this was way too confusing. Now, I was 11 once, and I remember that time very clearly. None of the other 11-year-olds I knew actually acted like the characters in this book.

First of all, Kate. I actually agree with that Marylin/Marilyn girl that Kate was sort of a baby. She was not acting like an eleven-year-old. She was acting like a five-year-old (what with the bird?! that whole bird thing made no sense. why would an eleven-year-old care so much about a bird when they should be caring a
...more
Jan
Eleven-year-old Kate and Marylin used to be best friends, but now they look at the world differently. Marylin wants to be a cheerleader and have boyfriends and use makeup, but Kate is happy just playing basketball with the boys. Marylin thinks that discussion of kissing is interesting, but when caught up in a kissing game, she is uncomfortable. Third and fourth graders who read the kissing chapter might be uncomfortable, too.

This story suffers from a multiple-point-of-view problem. The POV chang
...more
Leslie
The book The secret Language of Girls By: Frances O'Roark Dowell the main characters are kate and marylin.The conflict in this book is Kate and Marylin who have been best friends since their memory can remember are broken apart and don't know how to get back together when both know they want to be friends again but neither will show it to eachother.
This book was a great book because it's modern day and easy to connect to.I would recommend this book to anyone in sixth or seventh grade because y
...more
Dana
Oct 07, 2010 Dana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Girls who are in 5th-7th grade and love Fiction/Romance books
Recommended to Dana by: Ms. Browning
This book is MADE for girls who love fiction. It is marked under romance and I like the fiction/romance mix, and that's why this book was practically made for me. Not only is Frances O'Roark Dowell a great author, the really understands what Middle school girl's life's are like! My least favorite part of the book is the end, though. I would not end it that way because people want to keep reading. I hope there is/will be a sequel because I want to see what happens next! I will warn you- once you ...more
Stacie
Author: Frances O'Roark Dowell
Title: Secret Language of Girls
Plot: "In the old days, when Kate had no interest in romance, she never cared what other people thought. Now, it appeared, love was turning her into a rotten human being.
Eleven-year-old Kate Faber wishes she could talk to her best friend, Marylin, about this. But Marylin is no longer her best friend. Or is she? Kate and Marylin were always the kind of best friends who lived on the same block for their entire lives, and who agreed on w
...more
Josephine B
Kate and Marylin, best friends from nursery school, find themselves increasingly out-of-sync as the challenges of sixth grade test their friendship. Kate loves basketball and doesn’t care (much) what other people think, but Marylin finds that she is turning into “the sort of person who care[s] about toes.” The penetrating text follows both girls through the course of the year, the third-person perspective moving back and forth between the two as Marylin and Kate drift apart. The ructions to frie ...more
Danielle R.
With only 247 pages this book is a magor go for me. I own the 2nd book in this series and it was amazing only I was longing to read this book so I borrowed it from a teacher. Their are really 3 main characters. Kate, Flannery and Marylin.Marylin is a girly girl and is coming up in school. She becomes a cheerleader and stops hanging out with her best friend Kate until they almost don't know each other anymore and keep longing for the other. Kate is a tomboy and she starts to find love. She doesn' ...more
Emily
The Secret Language Of Girls by Frances O'Roark Dowell is a novel about two best friends, Marylin and Kate. Kate and Marylin are eleven years old and they are starting to realize that their lives are beginning to change. Kate is the kind of girl that likes to play in the mud and Marylin is the kind of girl that likes to paint her toes. Marylin often tells Kate that it's time to grow up and quit acting like a child. Kate thinks Marylin is being uptight and they began to grow apart. Now Kate just ...more
Lindsey Sanfilippo
May 20, 2014 Lindsey Sanfilippo rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teenage girls
Recommended to Lindsey by: my friends
1)I choose this book because I was interested in the way girls have their own language.

2)The plot of this book is about a girl named Kate and her interest in boys. Kate and Marylin were really close until they realized that they had a crush on the same guy. They try to overcome their problems with each other so they can be best friends again.

3)"Being around so many guys had made Kate feel shy when she'd first started coming to the gym." This was my favorite quote because I can relate to it. Ever
...more
Mikaelad
How would you feel if your best friend turned against you for no reason? Would you cry? Would you ignore the fact that she turned against you? Well in Frances O'Roark Dowell's " The Secret Language of girls " that's what happened to one of the main characters Kate when her friend Marylin turned against her. Marylin and Kate had been friends since they were little and now Marylin starts hanging out with her neighbor. Marylin's neighbor is in seventh grade so Marylin felt like she was cool when sh ...more
Sophia.712
This book was a fast easy read but i liked it. The author picked a very relatable problem to write about which i liked because you could tell what the character was going through. I normally don't like books in third person because i get confused but this book i didn't mid the fact that there was no I said or I did.
Sophia M
In my opinion, this book was okay. I liked the theme of the book because it was about navigating friendships and peer pressure. One of the main character, Marilyn struggles with making new friends, while staying loyal to Kate, her childhood best friend. When a 7th grade girl named Flannery moves into the neighborhood, Flannery is mean to Kate and tries to get Marilyn to be mean too. Marilyn follows along because she thinks Flannery is “cool” just because she is a grade older. I thought the book ...more
Michele
The Secret Language of Girls
Francis O'Roark Dowell
3/5

This is a cute story about 2 girls (Kate and Marilyn) who have been very good friends for a long time. They share almost everything. Until one of them starts worrying about what everyone thinks and has decided she has to fit in with the popular crowd. Marilyn wants to become a cheerleader and be part of that crowd and she has started to look at Kate as if she is a "baby". They struggle to be the friends they used to be. Can they ever do that?
...more
Kaylyn m
Kaylyn Mason
1/29/2015
Goodreads Book Review
Reading
The story takes place in neighborhood and a middle school, probably sometime in the summer when school is just starting. The main characters are Kate and Marylin who are best friends, Flannery is like a second main character and she is friends with Marylin. The two main characters encounter lots of obstacles while they are trying to survive their first year of middle school. Eventually they split up to find other friends only to realize their frie
...more
Morgan M
"But maybe it won't die," Kate said, sitting on the floor next to Marylin's sleeping bag. "Remember in second grade when Prisiclla Jones got really sick and everyone throught she was going to die? But she didn't. She got well again becuase she had really good doctors." This is one of my favorite lines from the book the secret language of girls by Frances O'Roark Dowell. I really liked this book. I would give it a four out of five stars. I would give it four stars becuase overall I really liked i ...more
Michelle Kelley
Kate and Marilyn have been long-time best friends. During their 6th grade year, things change. A new girl in the neighborhood, Flannery, works to isolate Kate from Marilyn. Marilyn drifts into popularity, the wrong type of friends, and away (and at times, against,) Kate. Kate is bewildered by the change in Marilyn and finds herself angry, hurt, and lonely until she meets a girl names Paisley who gives her the courage to find new friends and to find new confidence in herself. Both Marilyn and Kat ...more
Arely L
The Secret Language of Girls, by Frances O’Roark Dowell is about romance and friendship. I would recommend this book to kids and adults that love cliff hangers. If there was a series in The Secret Language of Girls I would finish the whole series in 1 day. The best parts in this book would be the cliff hangers. My least favorite part of this book would be the ending. They never really tell us if Kate and Marylin became friends again clearly. I would rate this book 9 out of ten by the same reason ...more
Morgan
Kate and Marilyn were best friends, that is until sixth grade drama tore them apart. Marilyn had begun hanging out with different people and was a cheerleader. Kate was the same and sort of the victim, but then she started to refuse talking to Marilyn, and got into the drama of boys. Will they ever become friends again? Read the book to find out!
I gave this book four stars because I liked the story and it had me curios about what would happen next. I also liked that the author changed the viewp
...more
Jhampshire
This was a crapy book, really lame and 4 young girls:P
Elizabeth P
I thought it was sad and happy at the same time.
Lilli
Aug 23, 2011 Lilli marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This looks like an interesting book....
Marieme
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Frances O'Roark Dowell is an author of middle-grade fiction. Her books have received numerous awards, including an Edgar (Dovey Coe), the William Allan White Award (Dovey Coe), the Christopher Award (Shooting the Moon), the Voya Book Award (Where I'd Like to Be), and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children's Fiction, Honor Book (Shooting the Moon). Dowell has an MFA in Creative ...more
More about Frances O'Roark Dowell...

Other Books in the Series

The Secret Language of Girls (3 books)
  • The Kind of Friends We Used To Be
  • The Sound of Your Voice, Only Really Far Away
Shooting the Moon The Kind of Friends We Used To Be Ten Miles Past Normal Dovey Coe Falling In

Share This Book

“A friend is someone whose face you can see in the dark.” 226 likes
“That was a funny thing about friends, Marylin thought. You could know a person practically your whole life and she could still surprise you.” 2 likes
More quotes…