Sometimes I meet a book character that I want to be friends with in real life. Is that insanely dorky? So be it. These three books all feature girls who I wish could be my BFFs. I think you'll like them too:
1. An Off Year by Claire Zulkey (Dutton, $18). When Cecily Powell finds herself at the door to her college dorm room, she has the urge to turn and run. So she does. She spends the year sitting on her couch at home, trying to stay connected to high school friends who are in their new college worlds, and going to therapy at her dad's insistence. Zulkey's sharp, witty voice makes Cecily a total pleasure to hang out with as she figures out what the heck comes next. 2. How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford (Scholastic, $18). Beatrice moves a lot, and she never gets attached to anyone. But when she ends up in Baltimore for her senior year of high school, Jonas, aka Ghostboy -- a loner who has zero friends himself -- somehow wins her over. As Bea helps him deal with his troubled family history while figuring out her own mixed up parents and listening to the quirksters on a late-night radio show, she turns from robot to just a little bit emo. And that makes me love her.
3. The Blonde of the Joke by Bennett Madison (HarperTeen, $17). Val is one of those girls who's easily led. Francie is one of those girls who leads with ease. Watching their magical friendship develop against the bland backdrop of a suburban shopping center is a total delight. They turn palming lip gloss and shoplifting Gap sweaters into an otherworldly accomplishment and the book sparkles with the fantasy of their illusory friendship. I want to hang out at this mall.