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Friend Is Not a Verb

3.18  ·  Rating details ·  362 ratings  ·  59 reviews
You know things are bad when your dreams come with a washed-up '80s soundtrack

Henry "Hen" Birnbaum's sister, Sarah, missing for over a year, has come home unexpectedly, with no explanation at all. But he can't leave well enough alone; Hen needs to figure out why she disappeared, even if she won't tell him. It's not like he has anything better to do. His girlfriend just dum
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 4th 2010 by HarperTeen
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3.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  362 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Kimberly Francisco
Jun 06, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, 2010
This was a fun, quick read. Nothing ground-breaking, and the multitude of pop culture references will date it very quickly. The wrap-up of the missing sister at the end was really odd...I didn't really buy it. But the suspense kept me reading, and the dialogue was mostly very good.

HOWEVER, the protagonists hate Journey and refer to the band as only being liked by their middle-aged parents and others like them. Seriously? EVERYONE likes Journey! Am I wrong? Don't teenagers still like Journey? Am
Apr 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: april-2011-reads
i always had the thing for geeky and nerdy guys, guys who is not worth another glance once you passed by them. but when you get to talk to them, you will ask yourself "you make so much sense." i thought henry "hen" (yes. like a rooster....har har!) was one of those guys. he being a music guru (well, more of the 80's and 90's) was cool but as the story goes i just couldnt like the guy. i dont know maybe it's just me but eventhough he has a wide expertise in music, i liked his friend emma more. or ...more
Liza Gilbert
Oct 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult, bfya2011
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. Ehrenhaft created an interesting premise, but then followed it up with a very whiny protagonist. In fact, I enjoyed the side story of Hen's missing sister more than I did his own story.

The humor and New York City setting were fun and enjoyable, and the story is definitely edgier than the lame-o cover advertises. In fact, if I were Ehrenhaft, I'd be very ticked off about the cover.

I can see some teens enjoying this book, and then promptly forgett
Lena ♫ ♪
Jun 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arcs, did-not-finish
I just could not get into this book. I tried, I really did, but after 100 some-odd-pages, I just had to call a quits.

The protag, Hen, got on my nerves. I don't know why exactly. Maybe it was the excessive whining and rambling about his rock star dreams. Or the attempt at emotions which didn't register to me as realistic. Or maybe it was the(random statements) (placed in parentheses) (which can be very distracting to the story/plot).

All and all, this just wasn't the book for me. Now, keep in min
Nicole Houser
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2017
Meh. I'm not mad I read it, as it was finished in a day. However, the story was a little wacky and I wish some ends were tied up. (that's my fault, not the authors. sometimes cliff hangers bother me)

Solid 3/5
May 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2010
This review was originally posted on my review blog :

Henry "Hen" Birnbaum has been going through a lot this year, and it hasn't all affected him for the better. When his sister Sarah first ran away a year ago, it really tore him up. All he knew was that she did something she wasn't supposed to do, and was now a fugitive of the law. His own parents won't even give him the run-down on what his sister has done, although they know perfectly well what it was. Ne
Jan 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Friend is Not a Verb
Jeyda B.
Realistic Fiction

Well, the book is split up in three parts (The two days leading up to the conclusion that becoming a rock star would solve all my problems, The gig that didn’t change everything, and The surprise twist that I probably should’ve seen coming). Within these three parts are chapters 1-18 with an epilogue and an e-mail that the main character, Hen , received.
In the first third of the book introduces the main character Henry Birnbaum (Hen). Hen was in a ba
Sep 22, 2010 rated it liked it
I am a shallow being. I freely admit to be as such as I purchased this book based on the title, cover art and the fact that it was authored by a man. Turns out that my puerile ways resulted in a great read told from a teen male perspective and a new (much needed) male YA author in my arsenal - not a bad day's work.

There are so many things to like about Ehrenhaft's exploration of a teen romance gone kaput, a friendship strained and a sister at a distance. Introspective, sensitive and quirky - the
Apr 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
Let's start with the positives shall we? I always like to get off on a good foot. This book is pretty funny. Plain and simple there are parts in this book where I found myself laughing out loud, "Hen" or Henry, the main character, is witty and ridiculous at times. He tends to surround himself with other characters of the same magnitude, and watching them interact with one another can be pretty hilarious.

I also very much enjoyed the multiple pop culture references in the story, especially Henry's
May 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, young-adult
3.5 stars. Henry ("Hen") has dreams of becoming a big rock star, narrating his own life with the kind of melodramatic voice found in old episodes of "Behind the Music". His sister disappeared a year ago and no one knows why, but she suddenly reappears without explanation; his parents seem to know more than they're letting on but want the sister to tell Hen on her own terms. In the meantime, all anyone will say is that she's kind of a fugitive until certain things get sorted out. In the meantime, ...more
Everything changed after Hen’s sister Sarah disappeared a year ago. No one knows where or why she went, but there are speculations everywhere that she is in some kind of trouble. Since his sister vanished, Hen has fallen in love (he thinks), played the bass guitar in his girlfriend, Petra’s, band (subpar, at best), and managed ridiculously paranoid parents (he’s not going to run away, you know). Now everything is slowly crumbling to Hen’s feet. Petra dumped him and kicked him out of the band lea ...more
Katie M.
Feb 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book was... well, I guess I'll just start with positives.
For starters, I loved all of the pop culture that was put into this book. There was mention of seventies, present, and so much about the nineties that I appreciated (I really think I should have been 16 in the nineties instead of now.. or the mid-late sixties.. but back to the topic!)I have a tendency to get really excited when things that I know or like are thrown into a book, and that's probably where most of the appeal was
Shelbie Butcher
The reason the author wrote "Friend is not a Verb" is because he wanted to describe a rock and roll, love relationship. The theme of this book is probably caring. The reason that the theme is caring is because after everything the Hen has went through in the end it is all about caring about the ones that you love. That is one of the main messages that this book send you.
The style that this book was written in was description. The reason it is considered a description is because it takes place
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
(Elective reading)

Summary: Henry "Hen" Birnbaum has a sister, Sarah, who had disappeared and now is suddenly back home. Nobody in his family is telling him what happened, and he feels that he is neglected and treated unfairly. Oh, and his girlfriend broke up with him. And he got kicked out of his band. What's a boy to do? Luckily, he has his good friend Emma to keep him company. But he wants desperately to get to the bottom of his sister's disappearance and reappearance... so he'll go to Gabriel
May 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya-fiction
Hen Birnbaum is an average high schooler who plays bass in his girlfriend’s band and spends lots of time watching VH1 with his neighbor. But his family is not quite as it seems — his older sister, Sarah, has been missing for a year. Though his parents seem to know something about what’s going on, they insist that Sarah needs to be the one to tell Hen. So when Sarah returns without a word of explanation and asks Hen to take bass lessons from her friend Gabriel, Hen is not sure how to handle thing ...more
Lady Knight
Sep 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
I initially picked this up based on many reviews in the Blogosphere listing it as a great read, and was very pleasantly surprised to see that this novel about a teenage guy is actually written by a guy! It's not often that I come across contemporary teen fiction with a male author and it's a nice change to read. That said however, I was a little disappointed with the way Emma is portrayed in one scene (which I won't spoil), but I thought he painted her as far to traditionally 'girly', especially ...more
Ananya Gupta
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
If I had to describe how the book was I could sum it up in 1 word- FUN. Reading this book was fun,there is no better word for it.

It is definitely one of my top ten band related books . (I seem to be reading alot of those these days.....).

The cover though!ugh!Hand holding has no relevance to the book so why oh why?If I was to design the cover of the book I would put a artsy picture of the destroyed lego fort(you'll know what I'm talking about after reading the book, not really a spoiler don't wor
Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
I couldn't put this book down. I did find the payoff to be a little weak, in that the the reader is never given any fair clues to the "mystery" subplot, and the extra money at the end didn't quite make sense. [A house in the Dominican Republic selling for that much money???:] The main story was a lot of fun...even if the band Journey isn't as bad as the main character thinks, but I have to agree that it's a little weird to hear them with their new lead singer.
The title may have misled some reade
Nov 18, 2010 rated it liked it
I am not a huge fan of the teen angst book genre, which is how I would describe this book. I struggle to find a reason to care about characters who's lives seem so different than mine, unless they are altered (by magic or time or something) to a point where it becomes another world. I don't care much for current adult contemporary books either. Stories of dysfunctional families and more urban or trendy lifestyles are hard for me to get into.

I guess that is why this book was just an okay read tha
Oct 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Hen's sister, Sarah, has mysteriously disappeared with a pack of her friends, and no one will tell him why. The police are looking for her, because she's committed some crime. Hen misses Sarah because she was a buffer between him and his overprotective parents. He's a bass player in his ex-girlfriend's band, PETRA, his best friend is the girl next door, Emma, and his life is in shambles. This book crosses the genre lines and is part mystery, part romance and part coming of age story. Set in New ...more
The book started out with Henry, aka Hen, being dumped by a popular girl. It was okay. Just okay. I liked Hen at first and thought he was kinda funny. As I read more, I couldn't understand Hen. At all. He was all over the place. I didn't think there was a single serious bone in his body.

Not only Hen, the book itself was all over the place. I'm generally into books that keep me on my toes. But a girl can only take so much guessing. It was frustrating when the author threw in that many questions w
Aug 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Cute read, I really liked Henry (aka Hen) and his dealing with a lot of blows during his life, missing sister, no band or girlfriend, and wack-a-doo parents. But, the ending and the much held back reasons for his sister's disappearance was pretty darn lackluster once we found out the reasoning and didn't seem a big deal to keep from Hen (and the reader) for 98% of the book. Plus, the coupling at the end, pretty much expected. How can you not when you have best buds of the opposite sex. Still a c ...more
Erica Leigh
Sep 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010, young-adult, library
Liked it at first,
and then it just didn't
have a plot anymore.

The first half is great!
Fast-paced, cleverly written,
interesting characters...

but then, I don't know.
I stopped caring about any of
them after a while. None of the
characters or conversations were

Hen is a big whiner and wants to be
a rock star...and that's what he talks
about for more than half the book.

The ending is cheesy, too.
Oh, and the "big reveal" of the reason
behind Hen's sister's disappearance is
really dumb. Not believabl
May 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
Fun read.Lots of Drama. Hen(ry)narrates a year or so. His sister has mysteriously disappeared, reappeared - no explanation - and now disappeared again. He plays bass in a rock trio, taking lessons from a friend of his missing sister. He is hoping to get some kind of intelligence on where his sister might be and what she is doing. He has been going with Petra, but what is it with Emma? Will they get an agent for their band? Will he discover what is going on with his sister?
Mystery, romance, and 9
Apr 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Hen Birnbaum's summer couldn't be any more stressful. His girlfriend broke up with him just as his sister came back after a yearlong disappearance. To make matters worse, his ex wants him to remain in the band and his sister refuses to tell him why she left and is currently wanted by the police.

Although I did like Hen, I found him so overly patient at times that I had to put the book down. And yet I kept coming back to it, desperate to know what would happen in the end.
Jan 12, 2011 rated it liked it
The writing was different than I'm used to. Sometimes this bothered me, but for the most part it was nice to read something a little different. I wasn't able to guess what the big revelation at the end was going to be, but I wasn't very surprised to find out what it was. The rest of the story seemed fairly predictable. I'm glad I read this book because I usually read book that are from the female perspective and it's nice to read something from a male perspective sometimes.
Brandon Folio
Aug 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Friend is Not a Verb is about a 16 year old boy named Hen who is having band drama, and girl drama while his sister has gone completely missing. This book was great at the beginning and was very interesting. As it got towards the middle I started losing interest, and it got very boring and stayed boring. Overall the book was okay. I recommend this book to people who like realistic stories, and drama stories. I wouldn't recommend this book to people who like exciting, and action packed stories.
Krista Basilio
The writing was different than I'm used to. Sometimes this bothered me, but for the most part it was nice to read something a little different. I wasn't able to guess what the big revelation at the end was going to be, but I wasn't very surprised to find out what it was. The rest of the story seemed fairly predictable. I'm glad I read this book because I usually read book that are from the female perspective and it's nice to read something from a male perspective sometimes.
Feb 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
A decent book. About a teenage boy, whose sister ran away over a year before the book begins. His parents know where she is and why she left, but no one will talk to him about it. Then the missing sister comes home, adding to the mystery.
Well written, the voice of the narrator is pretty true to life. A few quirks in the book led me to skim some parts (they were written in italics so I knew when they were coming).
Fortunately everything is explained and wrapped up nicely in the end.
Mar 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very clever book - a little mystery, a little romance, a little adventure. I loved all the 90's references - that was my favorite part of the book. Unfortunately, I think they would fly right over the heads of most of my students. I'm trying to read more books with male protagonists, and I'm going to check out more by this author.
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Daniel Ehrenhaft is the author of several dozen books for children and young adults—so many books, in fact, that he has lost count. He has often written under the pseudonym Daniel Parker (his middle name, which is easier to spell and pronounce than his last), and occasionally Erin Haft. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife Jessica, as well as a scruffy dog named Gibby and a psychotic cat named Boots ...more
“When we were little kids, 'friend' wasn't a verb. You didn't 'friend' someone. You had friends. It was only a noun. It didn't multitask. It was a simpler time, Hen.” 8 likes
“There she stood. Dark circles ringed her eyes. Her face was pale, almost snow-white. She probably hadn't slept, either. She was still wearing the same dress. Her hair looked like a bomb had gone off. She was beautiful.” 8 likes
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