Jasmine and Maddie by Christine Pakkala

Standalone. Boyds Mills Press (Jan. 2014) Library
To grieving Jasmine, Maddie’s a rich kid with no problems. To lonely Maddie, Jasmine is all cavalier-cool in their tame Connecticut town.True friends they are not. Yet each hopes the other might save her. Can Maddie give Jasmine what she needs? Could Jasmine rescue Maddie from the outskirts of the crowd? When Jasmine steals Maddie’s heirloom ring, just how far will she go to keep it? In alternating chapters, Maddie and Jasmine take turns weaving their story about friendship and coming of age.


Who would expect for such a short book to pack such a big punch? Jasmine and Maddie both believe the other has it better. Maddie believes that Jasmine is the coolest girl in her school. She dresses right, is beautiful, and everyone flocks to her. Jasmine believes Maddie is a spoiled rich kid who has the money and family she wish she had. Both of the girls journeys were intertwined wonderfully. I grew to care about each of their lives and their hopes and their dreams.

Jasmine is dealing with her father's death and the anger that comes with it. She got into trouble the last place she lived which was where her father died. She's supposed to make a new start. Although it looks like on the outside she's at ease and she's making friends on the inside she's lonely and angry. Maddie, on the other hand, can be very awkward at times. She's shy and doesn't stick up for herself. She also feels like her family is so much more there than her. So much more interesting. She wishes she could make a new friend and Jasmine is the one she's trying so hard to win over.

"Jasmine looks up at me with her steady, serious eyes. Quietly, so quietly, she speaks. I lean forward, press my rib into the edge of my desk, to hear her.
"What's the point of fighting against death?" she says.
"You're not going to win. Nobody does."

Jasmine's loss of her father really got to me especially with all the poetry interspersed throughout the story. Both Jasmine and Maddie have to write poetry for their English class. They have to pick one to read for a showcase in the end. Jasmine was hurting really bad. I would tear up when she mentioned her father. She acted very tough like nothing could touch her. She could also be very impulsive and would judge others easily especially Maddie. I though a lot of what came out of her story is the idea that we don't know everybody's situation in life and we shouldn't judge them if we don't know them.

When dad was dying of cancer, his skin puckered like Death Valley. Pun intended. We hovered over him like honeybees until he made us go away. Was he mad? That we were moist with good health and dumb with it?
I don't think so. Dad couldn't blame us for living, just like we couldn't blame him for dying.
But sometimes I think we all did get mad at each other. I shouldn't fault Maddie for not knowing what loneliness feels like.
But I do.

Maddie reminded me of myself in that I always felt that my brothers were unique, more interesting, and just better. I think Maddie's lack of confidence in herself was the major factor for her thinking. She thinks everyone is more interesting than her, but she wrote poetry. I really wonder what she would think of me at that age. My quietness would probably be worse than hers. Her growth in the story was getting out of feeling so alone in who she was. Her poems also really got to me. She had a lot to say and her feelings resonate from the pages.

...She is sixteen &
perfect & I am
thirteen & Mom says
wake up, Maddie!
Pay attention!
Maddie, why can't you
be (More) Like
Jasmine and Maddie is about growth of character and being confident about who you are. It's a great story that girl's especially should read because it shows them to not judge right away and that no one is better than you - just different. Although you will have struggles in your life, know that you will get through it.

Have you ever written or read a book of poetry?