The Sleepover Friends by Susan Saunders
I’m taking liberties with the original list and swapping boring or redundant categories with ones that I can actually come up with an entertaining answer for. I can do this because I am a teacher, and bending stupid rules for better rules is one thing I do very well.
First of all, let me say, I think series books are really great for elementary school and junior high, but part of me believes that people who are still into series books in high school (and beyond) are not true literary snobs. Likewise, I haven’t met an adult-series author I could take seriously. On principle, series books are a bit of a cop out to me. Granted, for many, they are a very lucrative cop out, especially when one story turns into twelve and each book successively outsells the former, but for the most part, series books eventually just turn into more of the same stuff. If I pick one up and actually enjoy the first book, I generally make it half way through book #3 before I get bored. This seems to be my trend.
Here are some series I started but didn’t (couldn’t) finish: Left Behind, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Twilight, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Chronicles of Narnia (though, truthfully, it is a goal to finish these), Ender’s Game (yes it is a series and yes, a new one just came out, and yes, I’m still stuck in the middle of the third book), The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and The Babysitter’s Club. Likely, there are others.
The Sleepover Friends by Susan Saunders is the one exception, and in all likelihood, this is due to the fact that I read them in 2nd and 3rd grade. A bit of peer pressure was certainly involved, as I was in constant competition with my friend Lena Pande, an Indian, dot not feather, who skipped 1st grade. We read all the same books (she was always at least three ahead of me), raced through our SRA’s together, talked about crushes from our two favorite Disney Channel shows (Kids, Inc. and The Mickey Mouse Club), had sleepovers complete with karaoke, and dotted all our i’s with Mickey Mouse heads, pretending like everything we did was an application for acceptance into the Club. It wouldn’t surprise me if Lena is currently a brain surgeon or a college professor. She was definitely smarter than me, and in my unspoken academic race with this girl who was a year younger, I think she was never aware of my panting and sweating, five steps behind her, as she skipped to the finish line with an ice-cream cone in one hand.
Because of Lena (or in spite of her), I did read every single Sleepover Friends book that was published before 1990. The summer before 4th grade my family moved from Mississippi to Washington State and I stopped checking in on the adventures of Kate, Stephanie (who I still remember every time I wear red, black, and white), Patti, and Lauren, the narrator and character I pretended to be.
From what I can tell through other adult reviews, though a childhood favorite, re-reading these books would only disappoint me and put a gray tinge on what is currently a very vivid childhood pastime. So I probably won’t even consciously introduce them to Eliott or Carter one day.
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