At first, it doesn’t look like Hannah and Emme are going to be friends. When Emme moves in next door to Hannah, there’s a big problem. Emme has moved right into the house that Hannah’s best friend just moved out of (and out of the country, too). And not only that, but the two fifth graders both have names that are spelled the same backward and forward, they have the same birthday, and they both hate pizza and love peanut butter. Hannah is not happy about this identity theft. But after a rocky start, Hannah and Emme realize that their friendship is meant to be, and they will stick together through bullying, fund-raising fiascoes, sick pets, and new babies.
I loved writing Best Friend Next Door . It made me think about my best friend growing up on Centennial Avenue. Her name was (and still is!) Stephie. She actually lived three doors down, but those two houses in between didn’t mean anything to us. We wore a path through the other backyards to each other’s homes. We swam in her pool in the summer and sledded down the roof of my sloped garage in the winter. (We got in trouble for this one.) We made a tin-can phone and tin-can stilts, and set up an obstacle course for my dog, Rascal, in my backyard. To honor Stephie’s and my friendship, I put Hannah’s and Emme’s houses on Centennial Avenue, though in a fictional town.
There is nothing like a best friend, and even better, a best friend you can visit at all hours, even in your pajamas.
Would you like to live next to your best friend? Do you know anyone who has a palindrome name?
-- Carolyn Mackler, author of Best Friend Next Door