Thursday, November 19, 2015

Book About Friendship and Social Media

Social media has certainly made friendships and teen/tween dynamics different from when I was growing up.  I am frankly happy that I didn't have to navigate a world where my relationships were played out on a much more public forum.  But parents and kids have to be aware that new challenges and consequences exist in this brave new world.

The book I am profiling today looks at how friendships play out in this new reality.  The focus of this book is much more how teens use social media as a weapon against each other.  I have profiled another book in the past, Katie Friedman Give Up Texting, which looks at how our conversations change when we interact through social media vs. face to face.  Both are valuable in helping teens decide how they will use this technology.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and by email so that you don't miss a book where I get to encourage you to get your kids off their phones.

Title: Unfriended

Author: Rachel Vail

Target: Grade 6-8

Series: No

What this book is about: 
Truly lost her best friend Natasha to the popular crowd when they entered middle school.  Natasha was developing faster and found the cool kids enticing.  Now they are in eight grade and Natasha has invited Truly into the her group.  Truly is excited to be asked, but she does have to abandon her quirky best bud Hazel to join.  Turns out that Natasha’s motives aren’t as kind as they first appear, and Hazel is not too thrilled about being left behind.  But the kids in Truly’s new group are actually nice and they do seem to care.  When the friendships are tested, unfortunately the presence of social media makes everything feel more real and public. The consequences are much farther reaching in this new plugged in world.

Why I love this book: 
First off I loved that all the characters are developed and none represent stereotypical versions of a mean or nice girl.  I got the feeling that these were real teens and their voices felt honest.  They are navigating through friendships, sometimes with more success than others.

The book is told in the voice of six characters, four female and two male.  This allowed us to see the motivations behind each person and how they see a situation from their own bias and vantage points.  I became much more sympathetic to some of the more outwardly unkind kids.

I also like that the book showed how social media can escalate situations that we as parents never had to deal with as teens.  It is a good warning to kids that using social media can create lasting impressions over a far larger scope than simply dealing with things face to face.  It is way too easy to be less than kind when a person is not in front of you.

Who this book is for: 
Great for teens in middle school.  I think this book will really speak to them.

Final thoughts: 
Social media and bullying is something that we as parents can never be too vigilant about.  So much happens unseen to us, and our kids need us to be stronger advocates for unplugging.  I will now get off my soapbox!

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Unfriended  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

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