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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Our Friendship Matters is a coming of age/social issues novel for young adults written by Kimberley B. Jones. Sasha and Leah have been besties ever since they were little girls in kindergarten. Their final days as students at Chester Christian Academy have been both exciting and bittersweet. Getting ready for prom, preparing for finals and thinking about college next fall has each of them also wondering what will happen to their friendship. After this last semester is over, they have one summer left before they go to college. Sasha and Leah have always been there for each other, but Sasha’s growing concerns about a boy from another school, who was shot by a police officer, seem to have made Leah angry. Sasha can’t really understand why Leah is so bothered by it, but she can’t help but wonder how they would feel if it had happened to a student from Chester. Sasha needs to learn more about these issues even if Leah doesn’t understand or approve. Can their friendship survive?
Kimberley B. Jones’ Our Friendship Matters is a well-written and enthralling story about a young teen’s growing awareness of the racial and economic inequities that are still very much a part of American culture. Jones’ story flows well, and her plot maintained my interest throughout as the two friends cope with the inevitable changes that their last summer before college brings. Her characters are well-defined and credible, and her descriptions of the protests and the club feel authentic. She also highlights some of the complexities surrounding the private vs public education option, and the different ways in which people perceive a police presence depending on their race or privileged status. I enjoyed reading this book and learned a lot from it. Our Friendship Matters is most highly recommended.