Tonight we played BFF! by Terri Cohlene and Ross Cowman where we become a group of middle school girls who have adventures hanging out together. Our clique consisted of shy Hyunjoo who loved music and nature, creative Carmen who loved traveling and collecting things, bright Amber who supported animals and who Jennifer the emotional support dog supported back, cool Mai who made her own clothes and loved all things spooky, and adventurous Jamila who loves to run ahead or stay and help.
Our first hang out is early in the school year when it’s still warm enough for us to go to Foggy Beach after school when the tide is out. We climb through a shipwrecked boat that we’ve never seen before. Has the tide ever been this low? Amber says it should be our new hideout, but as we all explore, she also makes a rule we all agree to: don’t disturb anything alive. Next, Carmen, Amber, and Mai explore the tide pools, which Amber calls an invertebrate heaven. Together they collect shells and drift to make a green mask to give to Jamila on her birthday. At the same time, Jamila and Hyunjoo venture into a sea cave, following the sounds of the water until they find a small pool with a glowing fish inside. Hyunjoo is too scared to go further, but they promise to return for more exploration in the future. Later as the sun begins to set, Carmen, Hyunjoo, and Mai find an old bottle among the driftwood but can’t make out the words, not even what language it might be in. When Carmen says “Race to the top?” Mai takes off and Carmen stumbles trying to catch up. Hyunjoo talks about how if she were the Flash, she would have won already, but Carmen doesn’t watch that show because she watches reality shows with her mom. We fade to our next scene as they fight over who won the race and whether anyone cheated. We end our hangout at Taffy Clams, the mini-boardwalk trying to win some treats playing the games. First we try skeeball, but the owner yells at us when Amber tosses the ball overhand, so then we try Jamila’s luck pulling the slot machine, but after a dollars worth of quarters, we still didn’t win. So, she asks everyone to help by pulling the lever together. We all grab on and pull … but we lose again, and decide to go home.
Our next hangout is when we all go to Jakande Mall together close to Christmas. We gather at the Food Court and talk about what he want to do. Amber told her mom that she was doing a science experiment, so says she has to get it done before she can hang, which surprises Carmen who thought homework only an excuse to meet at the mall. Amber is still upset that our shipwreck hideout washed away or at least never reappeared, so we reminisce about that before going off to do our stuff at the mall. First, Jamila, Mai, and Carmen visit Mind Hack to try an escape room because Carmen says she loves them. We try the Vampires & Zombies theme and make it through the vampire room pretty easily. In the second room, Carmen freaks out about the zombies grabbing and clawing at us. Mai and Jamila can’t figure out the clues without her, so she runs back into the vampire room and asks for help from the monitor so we can escape. Afterward, Jamila goes to the Fun Fun Club and helps Amber out of the ball pit, where she says the little kids almost ate her. We talk about her homework assignment and about why she keeps coming back to the ball pit if she hates wrestling with the little ones so much and about the escape room. Amber makes a big deal of explaining that vampires are UNdead when Jamila says they were just dead, which is why they weren’t so scary. At the same time, Mai and Carmen visit Hyunsoo at Power Button, where they talk about the winter dance next week at school, Hyunsoo being the DJ, and what outfit she needs to look the coolest. The three of them work it out and wander off to buy the things she needs to be the best DJ we’ve ever seen. At the end of the day, we all gather at Cypher Cinema to spend the last of our money on seeing Santa Paws, a Christmas movie starring a dog who saves Christmas, but no one wants to share the snacks with Amber until she washes her hands with soap & water after her adventures in the ball pit, and we’re all aghast when Carmen reveals she has seen an “R” rated movie already. After the movie, we take the bus back home with our last dollars. Then we sign the yearbook to remember our time together this year.