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Friend Me

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  138 ratings  ·  57 reviews
An Amazon Best Book of the Month

What happens when an online friend becomes a real-life nightmare?

Roisin hasn't made a single friend since moving from Ireland to Massachusetts. In fact, she is falling apart under constant abuse from a school bully, Zara. Zara torments Roisin in person and on social media. She makes Roisin the laughingstock of the whole school.Roisin feels u
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published November 10th 2020 by Scholastic Press
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  138 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Sheila Averbuch
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
This is my sixth manuscript and I couldn't have done it when I first started learning to write for middle-grade. I hope you like it! It's a thriller about a seventh-grader who's badly bullied and, when her bully has a bad accident, she begins to worry that her new best friend -- who she's only met online -- might have caused the accident. It's got twists and tech both current (social media, online bullying, phones galore) and near-future (bullet trains, Alexa-like AI, a robotic cat who is nothin ...more
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paula  Phillips
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Moving to a brand-new country can be difficult at any age, but more so when you are a teenage girl. Teenagers and especially females can be nasty and it doesn't help if you are a little different and have an accent too. Roisin has moved to Massachusetts from Ireland and finding it hard to make friends. The one person she thought could have been her friend, stood her up the first chance she got and to make matters worse, there are a handful of bullies making her life feel like hell. They moved as ...more
Thriller junkies, rejoice! This is a full dose of adrenaline in a juvenile fiction package. It has culturally diverse characters, cute and engaged big brothers, bullying, AI, social media dilemmas, and more. Our main character, Roisin (Rosheen), is newly immigrated from Ireland to the Boston area. She is tired of being bullied at school and enters a study to try a new social media app in exchange for cash. Her newest friend on the app, Haley, seems to be just what she needs. Then Roisin gets a c ...more
Lynn Fraser
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was hooked. What an entertaining, intriguing read which leads into a thrilling storyline. The characters so relatable, the descriptions fabulous. I felt like I was both reading a book and watching an inner movie. And great to have Roisin an empowering young lass at the heart of it all. Middle Grade readers and beyond, you are in for such a treat!
Barred Owl Books
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Friend Me is a tech thriller with unexpected twists and suspense and involves online bullying. But it is so much more than a story - it provides much-needed insights into people and teens can protect themselves and reach out for help with bullying. Highly recommended!
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend this for young teens who cannot be without their phones. Well crafted and gripping from start to finish.
Wow this was intense ! I started it in the middle of the night when I woke up and couldn’t sleep. I don’t recommend this because it was very addicting and upsetting and fast paced. I think it kept me awake longer !
So this was Black Mirror for middle schoolers— a cautionary thriller about the dangers of technology and social media.
Lots of fun. Kids will love it I think.
Ms. Yingling
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss

Roisin has moved from Dublin, Ireland to the Boston area with her mother and older brother Michael. Her mother works long hours designing Artificial Intelligence programs like Jeeves, an all-knowing super assistant like Alexa, but better. Roisin (pronounced ROW-sheen) has struggled with being in the US because the school mean girl, Zara, has it in for her. This is most likely because Roisin's mother's boss is Lily's mother, and Lily had been understandably welcoming an
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is about a girl called Roisin. She moves to Massachusetts from Ireland. She gets bullied at her new school but meets Hailey online who helps her get through it all. But suddenly on a school trip her bully has a bad accident and Hailey is acting suspicious.

The Main Characters:
Roisin- Roisin is Irish and gets bullied in the USA. She has a bully called Zara and a best friend called Hailey. She is quite lonely. She also has a big brother called Michael.
Lily- Roisin’s online friend before s
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
After reading a handful of vintage 80s middle grade books, I thought I would compare and contrast a modern one. I picked this up via Scholastic Book Fair along with about a zillion pokemon books for my daughter. Friend Me is a thriller about bullying. The first thing that struck me is how much more complicated these girls lives are than in my 80s books. The technology, the fact that they're all either foreign or a different race and they are obsessed with technology. They are so self centered an ...more
Jane Baird Warren
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Sheila Averbuch's debut middle grade novel FRIEND ME is a roller coaster ride – in the best way.

Roisin is newly transplanted from Ireland to an American middle school. Her older brother Michael is kind, but he's busy studying for his SATs. Her scientist mother is too engrossed in her research at MIT to notice how miserable Roisin's life has become. Roisin is being bullied in person and online by Zara. When the bullying escalates and becomes physical, Roisin finds comfort in her new online frien
I listened to the first 10% of this as an audiobook and the voice actress completely sucked me in with her wonderful Irish accent and the sense of humor she infused in narrating Averbuch's story. Finished it off as an e-book (since my drive-time got cut to nothing with the second-wave shelter-in-place order).

A thriller is not my typical MG reading fare but I'm so glad I read this because ultimately it's a story about the effects of bullying and how they can ripple in middle school settings. I ho
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Friend Me is about a girl called Roisin who moved from her home in Ireland to the US with her mum and big brother because of her mum’s work. Roisin’s mum works long hours and hardly ever spends time with her children. Roisin feels she does not quite fit in at school and is being bullied by the mean girl in her class, Zara. When Roisin meets Haley online, she finally feels she has someone to talk to that understands her, but when Zara nearly died because of an accident at the museum, Haley’s lies ...more
Rebecca Allen
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-books
Friend Me is a story about online bullying that provides tweens with a much-needed window into how they can protect themselves and reach out for help.

Roisin struggles to find friends and her “new normal” after her move. When a bully posts humiliating pictures of her online, finding any sense of normal seems impossible.

Roisin’s story morphs from a contemporary warning about the risks of social media to a fast-paced thriller when Rosin’s bully, Zara, has a dreadful accident and almost dies. And Ro
Sharon Rose
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. I really enjoyed this one! It's a technothriller aimed at middle grade with some unexpectedly nuanced messages about forgiveness, surviving bullies, and online safety. I do have two hesitations for recommending it to kids on the younger side of middle grade. One, the bullying Roishin experiences gets pretty intense and was a little hard to read at some points (view spoiler) ...more
Tenser than a Viking fan during play-offs and as jittery as a procrastinator waiting for an expressly shipped Christmas package - Sheila M. Averbuch had me sitting right on the edge of my seat with her debut novel: Friend Me.

This psychological thriller builds on the low points of social media and the danger of distracted parenting as Roison, a new student from Ireland, adjusts to life in America while wrestling a particularly mean girl at school. Readers will be compelled to consider what makes
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When I first heard about FRIEND ME, I thought, (Wow!), an MG thriller! It's not a genre you find often in this age group. So I was definitely curious to give it a read. Well, it surely did not disappoint. I felt a sort of kinship to the main character Roisin, who has just moved to the US from Ireland. It is a difficult age to transition to a new country and new school, (I have experienced it first hand), so I definitely felt connected to her struggles of not fitting in. Early on, she experiences ...more
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Roisin just moved from Dublin to Massachusetts. She is having a problem with being bullied at school. Her older brother, Michael does not think its a big deal. Dad is still in Ireland and mom is always at work. Roisin turns to social media to find help. Her new friend, Haley, gives great advice, is always available and even helps with homework. She's almost too perfect.
To say I loved this story would be an understatement. I was first attracted to it because my brother and his family live
Roisin is having trouble dealing with her new American school in Massachusetts. Customs are so much different from Ireland, especially in school where she is being bullied by another student named Zara. Instead of telling any of her teachers or her family, she confides in her new online friend named Haley. Haley couldn't be more sympathetic and makes Roisin feel better when she talks about being bullied herself. They begin to joke about what they would do to Zara if they could, some of which tur ...more
Robert Hudder
Nov 25, 2020 rated it liked it
This is the kind of book that I would have liked when I was in grade school and possibly high school. As an adult, I often read YA because good writing is good writing. This isn't written poorly at all. I'm trying to put myself back and wonder if I would have found this as predictable in my youth. I think I would have but like my John Saul phase, there was something great in just reading and being happy with the words and the worlds that aren't yours.

I feel like there is some of that here. Judy
Dec 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020e, 2020arc
I love the cover of this book. It tells you exactly what's going to happen in it. If you've read or seen any American media for this age group, you'll have an idea, though Zara is one of the worst I've read about.

This fast paced read mashes up bullies, middle school and social media with tech advances to make something pretty unique. The author did a good job with Roisin's Irish heritage, too; the only thing that really tripped me up is when she referred to 'language camp in Connemara'. No Irish
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book a month or so ago and it’s been in my queue. I finally got to it yesterday and couldn’t put it down. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It’s a fast paced, easy read. A thriller with lots of twists and turns.

The main character, Roisin, is completely relatable as an Irish immigrant who moves to America and becomes the subject of middle school bullying. At various points in the book, it is difficult to tell who Roisin’s real friends are and the author does a great job of keeping the
Sep 08, 2020 added it
This book was frustrating. On the one hand, the portrayal of bullying was very realistic, and Roisin's reaction to her situation was believable. On the other hand, not enough world-building was done to set up the technology the characters were using, so I didn't believe in Haley's tech abilities at all. On the third mutant hand that sprouted out of my back, I seriously cannot understand how Lily could treat Zara as even a tangential friend after Roisin told her what Zara did in the bathroom.

Danielle Masterson
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Thank you to the publisher & Edelweiss for this eARC of Friend Me. A fast-paced read, full of diverse characters, Friend Me is a plot-driven middle grade suspense novel. Hand it to your readers who love a suspenseful mystery.

I enjoyed the local (for me!) setting of Boston suburbs and Maine, as well as the Irish back story. I also enjoyed that I didn’t pick up the ending straight away! Astute readers will figure it out, but everyone will stick with it until the end.

Will definitely pick this up
Maleeha Siddiqui
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Scholastic for providing me with an eARC! All opinions are my own.

I can't even put into proper words how much this book blew my mind. It was, in short, brilliant. Now I want a whole slew of MG thrillers just like it. Friend Me also has one of the most intense third acts I've ever read. It gave me goosebumps. Get this book, y'all. Read it. I cannot wait to buy the finished copy in November.
Nov 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, science-fiction
Oh this was good! I don't want to say too much, but the combination of cyber (and in person) bullying and advanced AI helpers turns into a literal train wreck. There are so many good twists that will keep readers on the edge of their seats, frantically turning the pages. This was a thrilling new take on middle school mean girls. Highly recommended for grade 5 & up.

eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss
Yvonne Banham
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had this book ten years ago when my girls were teenagers and one was being bullied in such a vile and cunning way when online bullying was in its infancy. The writing is brilliant and the voice authentic. The plot is cracking and I could feel the New England vibe all the way (pass the lobster roles please!) This book has a place in every school, every home and in every library. It’s MG but I’d recommend it from MG upwards, through teen and to any parent.
Jan 05, 2021 rated it liked it
Honestly, this book wasn’t as good as I expected it to be. I’d give it a 3.5/5. I was really eager to read it but I didn’t relate to it much. It also took a while, in my opinion, to get interesting. I felt like too much of it was exposition and that wasn’t really necessary.

A little synopsis:
An Irish immigrant named Roisin who recently moved to Boston struggled with a bully at her school. She meets a friend online who seems perfect, but she isn’t who she seems to be.
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing

Roisin and her family have moved from Ireland to the USA. It’s not easy leaving your friends behind and having to learn how to fit in. It’s even harder when you’re immediately bullied at your new school. Social media can be a friend and a foe.
I loved the AI theme exploring a whole new world of possibilities.
This book is a real page turner. Once you start, it’s hard to stop. I was caught up in Roisin’s world and raced to read to the end.
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Sheila M. Averbuch is a former journalist who's interviewed billionaires, hackers and would-be Mars colonists. She co-founded the Scotland network of SCBWI and is author of the middle-grade thriller FRIEND ME, publishing in 2020 with Scholastic US. She holds a 2019 New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust. ...more

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