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That's What Friends Do

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  46 ratings  ·  21 reviews
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
Expected publication: March 3rd 2020 by HarperCollins (first published January 28th 2020)
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Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book is exactly what I needed when I was in 5th-6th grade. Cathleen Barnhart touches on much needed themes such as #metoo, consent, bullying, harmful gossiping, outgrowing friendships, female camaraderie, toxic masculinity—all laid out on the page with sensitivity and nuance. The story is told in alternating POVs, between Sammie and David—best friends torn apart by Luke, a new boy in school and an incident on the school bus. The alternating POVs really work in showing how one single ...more
Arianne Costner
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Literally could not put this one down! Teenage me would’ve loved this, and adult me did as well! There’s lots of exciting drama/misunderstandings, and the characters feel so real they jump right off the page.

The alternating point of view works great to show how both characters see the same situations in such different ways. No one is vilified, rather, we are able to see where things went wrong and what should have been done to fix it. Lots of complexity and depth. This is such a timely book,
Jennifer Davids
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! As a middle school educator, I have been waiting for a book that will open a conversation about consent and boundaries. This book does this so well for younger teens, but also goes deeper in to the implications of our actions on our friends and loved ones. By offering alternating perspectives of two narrators, Sammie and David, it is also easy for the reader to see how misunderstandings between friends get started and perpetuated. A secondary story line focuses on the kids' ...more
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids, middle-grade
This was SO good. Middle grade novels continue to rule and this is a must read. Sammie's and David's stories of being best friends and wanting to be more and knowing how to do that and developing their identities was just spot on. There are so many things that are so well done without being overwhelming or reaching. My only quibble is that I wish the author had labeled what was happening to Sammie as sexual harassment or even just harassment because that's absolutely what it was. The whole "boys ...more
Ms. Yingling
Oct 16, 2019 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Sammie and David have been good friends ever since the girls in her class started avoiding Sammie because she didn't share their growing interest in clothes and makeup. Sammie has even gone so far as to play baseball instead of softball, mainly because her father doesn't think that softball is a "real" sport. When Luke moves to town, David's mother makes him hang out with the new boy. David is intrigued by Luke's ease with girls, especially since David is starting
Richie Partington
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Richie’s Picks: THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS DO by Cathleen Barnhart, HarperCollins, January 2020, 352p., ISBN: 978-0-06-288893-8

“So, first because he’s funny. But also because he’s nice. Funny and nice.
Okay, scratch all of that. David Fischer is my best friend because five minutes after I walk into my dark, silent home on the first day of a very long winter vacation, he texts me and asks, Want to come over? You can tell me more about your goals for vacation and I can make fun of you.
I look at
Olivia Wildenstein
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An important story about friendship between boys and girls at the delicate start of teenage-hood.

I really enjoyed how this story was told. David and Sammie were great characters with interesting POVs that both me and my kids could relate to.

Barnhart does a great job of adding dabs of everyday life to make a hard subject (#metoo) more palatable.
Celesta Rimington
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
I was lucky enough to read an Advance Edition of this book, and I wish it had been available when I was twelve. Cathleen Barnhart has written an important and tender story about friendship, boundaries, seeing things from another's perspective, and finding your voice even when it's difficult. For anyone who has had (a) #metoo experience(s), there is understanding and validation within these pages. Cathleen shows the truth of growing up and navigating challenges that arise within families and ...more
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Before reading this book, which bravely broaches the topics of bullying and inappropriate treatment of girls, I thought I’d be left with a “total girl power” feeling. And there is an element of that in the book. Like it says here on Goodreads: “A heartfelt and powerful debut novel...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.”
It handles all of these topics well, showing how to
Katrina Feraco
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Cathleen Barnhart has written an engaging, moving story about two friends, Sammie and David, who have played baseball together all their lives and whose friendship dynamic is shattered when a new kid, Luke, joins their school. David, an insecure, artistic boy with a crush on Sammie, feels like he needs to emulate charismatic, would-be playboy Luke, whose forward advances and aggressive harassment (which he and the other boys see as "flirting") make Sammie deeply uncomfortable. Grown ups and even ...more
Risa Nyman
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
That’s What Friends Do is the perfect coming of age story for today’s tweens. Cathleen Barnhart has tackled the heavy issue of me-too encounters in a poignant and realistic way as it impacts middle school kids. The confusion that comes from innocence and insecurity is heart-wrenching. Ms. Barnhart’s brilliant decision to write this story in both a girl’s and a boy’s point of view makes it even more compelling and important.

This story isn’t simple. Its twists and its unpredictability make it
Kristin Lambert
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A compelling story about two seventh grade best friends navigating the complexities of middle school friendship, first crushes, learning to embrace who you are, and consent. We get to view the story from the alternating points of view of the main boy and main girl, so we see the misunderstandings and choices unfold in such an authentic way. It’s a page-turning story full of relatable characters, but it also contains valuable lessons, and I will be sharing this book with my two daughters when ...more
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written story that felt quite real to me. The characters are likable and each struggles in their own way to navigate an increasingly complicated world. Because it is written from alternating points of view, it is easy to understand how the situation between Sammie and David develops. I was hooked from the first page!
Laurie Bass
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great read and a relevant story. I couldn't put it down. These kids, their attitudes and their problems are so real. When I finished reading it, I started reading it again, because the writing is so delicious and it was fun to look at the character development and the unfolding events through the lens of 20-20 hindsight.
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent and important read for this time in our country, an important introduction for young people to consent and navigating the friend/crush divide. Not an easy topic but one that often goes undiscussed and ought not to be
Virginia Ingham
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book and wish I had it to read when I was younger!
Jessica Pavia
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a heartbreaking and beautiful book! I wish I had something like this when I was in middle school, but I'm glad students will have it now.
Ellie M
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally a female character actually realizing that just because many girls like something, it's not less than!
Lily Wyro
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved it ...more
Laurie Hnatiuk
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Review to follow
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is hands-down the best IM book I have ever read. "That's What Friends Do" perfectly captures what it feels like to be trapped in a situation you don't understand and don't know how to escape. Parents and kids need to read this story. The main character is a young girl who can't understand why her best friend or the new guy or ANY guys in her life are starting to find excuses to touch her, but she doesn't like it. She doesn't know if it's something that she's misunderstanding or if it's ...more
Zev Bordowitz
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Feb 02, 2020
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Chandrika Maheshwari
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