Feb 13, 2015

How to Make a Friend by Fleur Smithwick


As a lonely child, Alice found comfort the same way so many others do - she invented a friend. Sam was always there when she needed him, until one day...he wasn't.

Now, Alice's life almost resembles something happy, normal. She has a handful of close friends and a career as a photographer. But when a tragic accident shatters the world Alice has constructed, the sense of isolation that haunted her in childhood returns. And with it, so does Sam.

To Alice, he looks and feels like a real person, but how can that be so? And who will decide when it's time for him to leave again?


I won this book on Twitter.

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Alice was a neglected child, she was often lonely and had no friends. Fortunately she had Sam, who was always there to support her. Sam was an imaginary friend, but her grandmother could see him as well. The day Alice meets Rory she is less lonely and Sam has long disappeared. Ever since Rory has been her best friend and his family gives her the love and warmth she misses at home. Rory also has a very attractive brother. Alice is in love with Jonathan, but he doesn't see her that way.
When something terrible happens Alice's life changes dramatically. She wakes up in a hospital bed after a coma caused by a head injury. There has been an accident that has taken away the person she loved the most. Alice feels terribly alone, but fortunately Sam is back to support her. He looks, sounds and feels real, but he isn't the sweet boy Alice used to know. He's a grown man with opinions and wishes of his own. Should Alice be happy with his return or is she better off without him?
How to Make a Friend is a great novel with twisted family relationships. Alice's parents and sister greatly influence her character. She is insecure, while she's both pretty and talented, and she's used to taking care of herself. She doesn't ask for help, because she never used to get it. This makes her both really strong and fragile at the same time. That is a beautiful contrast. Love plays an important role in this book. Not only Alice's crush, but also the connection with Sam, the bond she has with Rory, the surrogate family she has, the love towards her own family, her passion for photography, etc. Every relationship is different and in all of them there's something that needs to be fixed. I liked the idea that everything in Alice's life is still a work in progress. The story is complicated and that's what makes it fabulous. For me a book doesn't have to be realistic, it's the marvellous thing about fiction that authors can play with what's real and what isn't. Fleur Smithwick has done that in such an impressive way. I loved How to Make a Friend, it's brilliant.

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