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Friend is Not a Verb, Daniel Ehrenhaft

2010/05/10

Hen Birnbaum is an average high schooler who plays bass in his girlfriend’s band and spends lots of time watching VH1 with his neighbor. But his family is not quite as it seems — his older sister, Sarah, has been missing for a year. Though his parents seem to know something about what’s going on, they insist that Sarah needs to be the one to tell Hen. So when Sarah returns without a word of explanation and asks Hen to take bass lessons from her friend Gabriel, Hen is not sure how to handle things. And as the novel progresses, neither is the reader.

There are far too many things happening in this novel. Hen’s relationship with Petra, who fronts the band first called PETRA and later called Dawson’s Freak; Hen’s friendship with the next door neighbor girl, Emma; Sarah’s sudden appearance and subsequent re-disappearance; Sarah’s attempt to keep in touch with Hen via Facebook during her second disappearance (hence the title of the novel); Hen’s reading of Gabriel’s manuscript which may or may not be autobiographical; Hen’s relationship with his parents, who seem oddly strict with their son despite their daughter’s sporadic absences. A confusing mishmash of potentially interesting storylines.

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