Best of the Best Friends

Julie Bowe releases fifth book in Friends for Keeps series

Kinzy Janssen |

In the world of best friends, there are subdivisions. Julie Bowe of Mondovi fleshes out these variations with mastery throughout her acclaimed series Friends for Keeps. Due out this summer, the fifth book in the series, entitled My Extra Best Friend, looks into what happens when a last best friend (who moved away in a previous book) meets two new BFFS. Whew. That’s a lot of besties. This time, the ups and downs of fourth-grade friendships unfold at a sleepaway camp, where “nicey-nice” voices clash with unspoken apologies for unwritten letters. Targeted toward grades three and four, the books have tended to delve into “important growing up issues,” according to Booklist magazine, including the fact that friendships grow and change. The world of camp is a natural stage for these new scenes to play out. Bowe herself is no stranger to the classic camp environment, having served as a program director, counselor, and site director at various camps over the years.  She cites these firsthand experiences as instrumental to writing My Extra Best Friend. “Camp is a safe place for kids to test their boundaries and grow beyond them,” she said. “In terms of friendship, you get to know people in a whole new way when you are with them day in and day out, hiking, swimming, singing, sweating, and swatting mosquitoes together!”