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Daphne's Book

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  1,110 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
The Secret: Everybody in Jessica's English class makes fun of Daphne. She never says a word to anyone -- just walks around with her nose in a book, with her long straggly hair hanging over her face. Now the worst thing has happened. The teacher has assigned Jessica to be partners with Daphne in the Write-A-Book contest!

But being forced to work with the class "weirdo", Jess
Paperback, 176 pages
Published May 1st 1995 by HarperCollins (first published 1983)
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Mar 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always associated Mary Downing Hahn almost exclusively with the memorable scary stories that she has written, including the Caudill-Award-winning Time for Andrew. This book has definitely added dimension to my perception of the author.

What makes Daphne's Book so effective for what it is—a story of cautious friendship slowly beginning to take root between two girls who have a lot in common that they never before have noticed—is the realism in how that friendship is built. Daphne is a quiet
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my very favorite book as a child, and continues to be at the very top of my list today. I can't believe I never added it to my GoodReads list until just now, as I dug it up to put in our library's "Librarians' Favorite Books" display for National Library Week. I identified very much with Jessica in this book, trying to keep my best friend who was slipping away into the "popular" crowd, like Tracy, while at the same time, always wanting to be friends with everyone. Also, it was a clue in ...more
Aug 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This was my first real experience reading something that dealt with class differences, in addition to social groups in middle school. It never occurred to me in my private school bubble that kids would go to bed hungry, or not have heat and hot water, or not have a competent adult in their life to protect them and see to it that all of their needs were met. And it was presented in a really gentle way- as a reader, you learn about class differences along with the main character.
Mandy Summers
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the first books that I can remember reading that wasn't a picture book and parts of it have actually stuck with me into adulthood. I haven't read this since I was in fourth grade I would guess but rereading it as an adult it was a pleasure to find that it was still as magical as it was the first time. This was the first book that I can remember giving me an idea of what other people my age are going through. That not everyone has a warm home and loving family members and safety, p ...more
Rebecca McNutt
This book reminded me very much of an eighties Degrassi Junior High Episode. It's on the surface just another dull albeit cheerful story of two overlooked girls who befriend each other during a group assignment from school, but it quickly delivers a more powerful message when the character Daphne reveals the sadness gripping her life at home.
Dave Kiersh
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youth-novels
This book was originally published in 1983. The edition I read was a paperback reprint from 2008. It's a timeless story but also feels very much set in the 1980's. The succinct story would've been perfect material for an Afterschool Special.

Mary Downing Hahn is a prolific writer of ghost stories, but she's also published a bunch of more straightforward teen and pre-teen dramas. Daphne's Book is one of her best. In Hahn's fiction, the characters often live in single parent households or are stru
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Jessica is paired up with Daphne to write a picture book. Daphne is the one girl who everyone in school avoids. As Jessica is forced to work with the silent Daphne she discovers that Daphne is a girl worth knowing and that she has a lot in common with Daphne. As Jessica learns more about Daphne's homelife she is torn between the trust of a friendship and the need to help Daphne.

This was a good story. Though the story takes place in Middle School there is only the mention of dating by the Queen B
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
So I was really into Mary Downing Hahn as a child. They were usually the perfect either adventure or delicately creepy/moving book when that was what I wanted.

This one is different, and probably my favorite.

There's just so much--and I know this sounds cliche--realness in this book. More than in just about any other book from her. There's something so realistic about Jessica--the barely-accepted nerdy kid desperate to hold onto her changing best friend, scared of rejection and change--and her eme
Kiana H.
Dec 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book I recently read is called Daphne's book. I felt that this book was very emotional. It was about how these two girls became friends but one of them has a terrible secret. Their names are Jessica and Daphne. It all started when many people tease Daphne and Jessica was assigned a project and she had to work with Daphne. They soon find alot in common, but Jessica finds out a terrible secret about Daphne. Daphne has a crazy grandmother. Her grandmother's son "supposedly died", but her grandm ...more
Sandy A
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daphne is the last person Jessica wants to work with for the write a book contest.They have to work with eachother in order to pass english.When they spend a lot of time together,Jessica realizes that Daphne is really fun to hang amd be around.When they become bestfriends,Jessica's friends catch her hanging out with Daphne.They dont like Daphne,in fact nobody but Jessica does.When they catch her they make fun of her,and stop talking to her.Jessica hides from them because she doesnt want to be se ...more
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classroom-books
I purchased this book to read as a possible book for my 10th grade reading class. I read a few pages and thought I would continue reading it casually for a few weeks. Two chapters into it I couldn't put it down. I read every spare moment I had. I am definitely ordering this book for my classroom. I teach at a school in a high poverty area and believe my students will be able to identify with the characters. There are some spelling errors in the kindle version of the book that I hope are not in t ...more
Aug 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Another memorable book from my childhood. I even think it had illustrations that were lovely.

It's a great story about how to look deeper than the surface and like my own childhood experience taught me that sometimes the popular/pretty people aren't always the most interesting or nice.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder or just skin deep. Both lessons apply.
Nov 04, 2011 is currently reading it
This book was truely an amazing and captivating story. it almost brought tears to my eyes towards the ending with finding out more and more devastating details. the story was heartbreaking and hearwarming but i would definitely reccommend it to EVERYONE!
Jul 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
my favorite book in 6th grade. the first book i 'couldn't put down'.
Leigha's Little Library
When I first read this book, I must have been a pre teen or in my early teenage years. I remember enjoying the book, but I doubt I fully grasped everything in the story. When I was younger, I might have been on Daphne and Hope's side, thinking Jessica should keep their secret, but as an adult, I know how wrong that would be.

I loved the imagination the girls showed in this story as they wrote their book and how they let the younger sister play with them and didn't shun her, as big sisters sometim
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book when I was a kid, but didn't remember too much about it. Recently ran across it again (thanks to some lovely people on Instagram), and it still holds up. There's a kind of magic about Mary Downing Hahn's writing, and it still made my adult self cry after all these years. Highly recommended.
Joey Garcia
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Lately I've been really interested in children's ghost stories and on Goodreads I kept running across Mary Downing Hahn, author of Wait Till Helen Comes, along with numerous other ghost books for kids. I just got my hands on a bunch of her books and among them was Daphne's Book. I had thought that I'd never read Hahn as a child, but I was wrong! Turns out I'd actually read Mary Downing Hahn back in my 5th grade class, though it wasn't a ghost book.

Daphne's Book is the story of 7th grader Jessica
Cassa M.
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Daphne's book
Mary downing Hahn
Realistic fiction
176 pages

Daphne's book is about a girl named Jessica who has to be partnered up with a girl named Daphne to do there school write a book contest. No body at Jessica's school likes Daphne. Everyone thinks she weird and Daphne never talks to anyone. So when Jessica and Daphne are partnered up Jessica is not happy. But as daphne and Jessica start working on the project her and Daphne start to become friends. Jessica figures out that Daphne has
May 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Having only read a few of Mary Downing Hahn books as a child, I went to the library fully intending to pick up another ghost story from her on a cold rainy day. What I left with instead was a book that explored the friendship between two young girls. One girl dealing with tragic life circumstances and the other trying to do the right thing and fit into a social circle that she didn't really want to to be in.
I started reading this in the middle of a rainy day and the book brought me into th
Janet Macreery
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Jessica worries that being forced to team with Daphne, the strange, quiet new girl who dresses differently and never speaks, will surely plunge her into the worst of all middle grade fates; oblivion. Her reputation is already tenuous due to her lack of interest in boys and lip gloss. Her best friend, Tracy, is pulling away from her. Jessica had hoped to be teamed with her for the Write-a-Book competition. Once Jessica spends time with Daphne and by default her little sister, Hope, she finds ther ...more
Spider the Doof Warrior
May 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-love-this-book
I first read this book in seventh grade and loved it. It's not so bad as an adult either. Daphne is teased and ridiculed by her peers so Jessica doesn't want to be her partner in a project because who wants to be tease too?
Jessica cares too much about what other people think. And Daphne has more complicated secrets than anyone thinks she has.

Also, from her fashion sense and description who wants to bet Daphne grew up to look like this? or
So beautiful. So sad. So realistic. I don't usually like realistic fiction, but I absolutely adore "Daphne's book." Hahn writes so wonderfully. Pretty & flowing, even though it's simple. The characters are rounded, well thought out. & it never feels condescending like so many other middle grade books. I can totally relate to both Jessica's struggles of wanting people to like her, wanting to be nice to the kids everyone else ostracizes, but not knowing how. & I can really feel Daphne' ...more
Mar 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Daphne is the "weird" girl in Jessica's class that no one wants to talk to or have anything to do with. Jessica is assigned to be Daphne’s partner for a book contest at their school. After awhile, they find that they have things in common. Jessica and Daphne even spend time together outside of school, and Daphne reveals a secret to Jessica that she may not be able to keep to herself.

Never judge a book by its cover!!! Jessica and the other classmates never got to know Daphne, yet they picked on
Shannon Clark
Apr 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: not-reviewed-yet
This book earned 3 out of 5 stars from me. The plot was interesting enough to continue to read because I wanted to find out what was going to happen to Daphne and Hope. It was a simple read-one that I probably would have liked a lot when I was in the 5th or 6th grade. However, at the ripe old age of 42 I have to say that I DID NOT LIKE THE MAIN CHARACTER-JESSICA!! She was NEVER a true friend throughout the WHOLE story until the end, and even then if the story had continue I'm thinking she would ...more
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daphne’s Book has relatable middle school characters and story line. When Jessica is paired up with the ‘weird girl” in English class to write and illustrate a children’s picture book she experiences mean girl/ age expected peer mentality and its effects including low self confidence and self doubt. Jessica grows and learns from the alarming situations she is faced with as she gets to know Daphne and her family. The book is a good representation of mental changes and old age and the coping skill ...more
May 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s, ya
I checked this book out from the library. This is one of those books that is still timeless, and one should go back and re read as an adult. It is a quick read, but covers the issues of friendship, aging, and when to speak up. Though pre teens have much more technology at their fingertips, and some might wonder what exactly a pay phone is, the angst hasn't changed. That is what makes this book timeless.
Angela Kendrick
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book truly stands the test of time. I first read it as a child, then returned to it at about 20. Now nearly half a lifetime since, it is still an excellently told story. It trusts that children don't need a happily ever after to decipher themes and learn from the story. It expects children to identify with complex emotions in ways we as a society typically don't think children can or should. It taught me about the happIER ending being more powerful sometimes than the happy ending.
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Even though this story was published in 1983, the themes are timeless- poverty, bullying, mental illness. A great story to share with middle school to talk about compassion, friendship, fears. I read this with my 10 year old daughter. The story of Jessica and Daphne offered many discussion points.
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book because it took place in 1983, and also because Jessica(the main character) friends Daphne, a social outcast, which everyone thinks is weird. She soon becomes Daphne's friend and finds out a secret about her.
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