Have you ever had a friend who changed your life?
Crutcher, Chris. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1993.
What would you do if you knew your best friend was in trouble, but you promised not to do anything about it? In Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, Eric Calhoune must decide if saving Sarah Byrnes is worth risking their friendship. You see, Sarah and Eric became friends because they didn’t fit in. Eric was fat and Sarah, she has scars all over her face and hands from when she got burned after she accidentally dumped a pot of boiling spaghetti on herself as a child. They started drifting apart. Eric tried his best to save their friendship – he even stayed fat for her after he joined the swim team, but there wasn’t much else he could do to stop it. But now, as Sarah sits silently in a mental institution, seemingly unable to speak, she needs his friendship more than ever. Can Eric make the right decisions in time? Is there more to Sarah’s story about her injuries or was she just a clumsy child? How far would you go to save a friend’s life?
Green, John. Looking for Alaska. New York: Dutton Books, 2005.
Hey, what’s another word for fat? How about Pudge? Yeah, Pudge. That’s me. No, it’s not my real name. The Colonel, he’s my roommate here at Culver Creek boarding school, started calling me Pudge right after we met. I mean, look at me, do I look like a Pudge? Let me tell you about the best day of my life. It sounds kinda silly now, but when it happened, it was wonderful. It was the day after we pulled off a big prank on a few of the Weekday Warriors and we were hiding out in a barn the school owned. We didn’t do anything special, and that’s what made it so perfect. I woke up in my sleeping bag next to Lara, this really pretty – Hungarian girl or is it Romanian? – anyway, she was pretty, and I was cold, but not too cold. And I had a cup of barely warm instant coffee and some dry Cheerios because we didn’t think to bring milk with us. I skipped stones with Alaska and Takumi after we walked through the woods. Like I said, we really didn’t do anything, but that was the beauty of the day. Anyway, that was before, back when it was me, the Colonel, and Alaska. Now it’s just me and the Colonel and it will never be the same. I never should have let her go. Before there used to be laughter, but now it seems like there’s only sadness and anger. I spent the greatest moments of my life with Alaska and I can’t help but think that this all might just be some really big prank. That would be so like Alaska. Why did I ever let her go?
Plum-Ucci, Carol. What Happened to Lani Garver? New York: Harcourt, 2002.
In Looking for Alaska, Pudge and his friends must answer some heavy questions in their religion class. Well, how about these questions? What if angels were real and they walked among us? What if they looked just like us? Would you be able to tell who was an angel and who wasn’t? When a strange new kid shows up at the beginning of What Happened to Lani Garver?, the students at Coast Regional High School have no idea what to think. For one thing, no one can decide on Lani’s gender, and when Lani will only say that he isn’t a girl, rumors start to fly. But that doesn’t stop Claire McKenzie, a seemingly perfect popular girl, from getting to know Lani. Claire has a few hidden demons of her own: she thinks her leukemia is coming back and she’s battling an eating disorder, but her so-called best friends have no idea. But Lani changes all of that and shows her what true friendship really is. When he disappears into the darkness without a trace, Claire can’t help but wonder if Lani was in fact a floating angel. Or is that just her way of dealing with his disappearance?