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When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin

Grab your tissues for this one! I at least had to make sure that I grabbed my tissues as this story focused on the troubles of a teenage boy that’s been in and out of the foster care system (My husband and I are both licensed foster care parents so I always cry when stories focus around the struggles of foster children). Ben Coffin will melt your heart, and all you want to do is jump in and make his life easier.

At the beginning of the story, Ben has a mom. Someone has recently adopted him through foster care, and he seems to be getting things in his life finally in order. Ben is spending lots of time in the library, and it is here where he meets friendship. Friendship comes to Ben in two ways simultaneously. The first way is through a stray dog that Ben takes home and names Flip. The other way is through Rainbow girl, a girl who is actually named Halley, but her outfits make her better known for all the rainbows she wears.

No matter what Ben seems to do tragedy seems to strike all over the place in this story. Early on in the story, Ben’s adoptive mother dies suddenly, and once again he finds himself family-less. His adoptive mother’s sister, who never wanted to have kids, finds herself bringing Ben and Flip home to live with her. But her boyfriend seems unable to cope with their newfound parenthood, and he seems to find a way to always take it out on Ben.

It is through the dog training and growing friendship between Flip, Ben, and Halley that seem to propel the theme of hope throughout the story. Things are continually seeming to get worse for all three members of this unlikely trio, but their strength and commitment to one another reigns supreme through the entirety of this plot, even when the ultimate tragedy hits Halley.

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