When the world of make-believe is all you can count on, how do you find your way back to the real world? And do you want to when the truth hurts too much to bear?

Eleven-year-old Melanie knows she's special. She's never been bored. She understands the secret language of old houses and makes jewels out of broken glass. Her imagination can do anything -- except make friends. It's 1980, and life as a fifth grader at Buckminster Experimental School is lonely at best when she's not dodging Karen, the school bully. Then, Melanie meets Sabrina, who looks like a TV star and acts like a spy and who doesn't care what anyone thinks. She teaches Melanie how to believe in herself, and soon Melanie starts living her dreams. She even lands the lead in Peter Pan!

If only she could share it all with Mom. Missing her mom is like trying to breathe with one lung. It's bad. Sabrina thinks they can track her down, and Melanie wants to believe, but sometimes it's easier to pretend. Her new life feels like a house of cards until one day it all comes crashing down and she finds herself with no choice but to face the truth…and let go.

Full of humor and wonder, this quirky, heartfelt novel about grief and the resilience of the human spirit will keep you guessing until the end.

“A riveting story of loss and friendship. Mathison’s characters, young and old, are so well realized that they live on in the reader’s mind long after the book is closed.“
-- Margaret J. Anderson, author of Searching for Shona

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Book Details


  • Fiction
  • Juvenile Fiction

Age Level: 

  • 8 - 12

Believe, by Julie Mathison, teaches us what bullying is and how your friends can help you through it.  Melanie has a hard time at school because a girl called Karen won’t stop bullying her.  Sabrina, Melanie’s best friend, helps her through the bullying and helps teach Melanie how to stand up for herself.  When Melanie gets the lead role in Peter Pan, will the bullying stop?

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