Filler Friend

Sara Jo
Young Adult

High school student Elinora creates a friend-for-hire "filler" friend operation as a means for extra income, to avoid real friendships, and to assure her parents she has lots of friends. The irony is she doesn’t have any. While her filler friend gig is lucrative, there is no one she can call a friend when she needs one. She is also an aspiring writer and soon her library writing critique buddy begins to cross the line from professional partner to romantic interest. Things begin to heat up for Elinora when the lines between business relationships and real friendships blur.

This is a fun story about Elinora and her journey through friendships. One bad one left her afraid to trust again. Enter her filler friend, always a safe operation. There are plenty of twists along the way. Jacqueline becomes a regular customer, who eventually begins to think they are real friends, which leaves Elinora in an awkward and new situation. Jackson is a critique partner, who turns into the guy she sees in a romantic light.  To learn the two are estranged siblings further complicates the plot. There are two drawbacks: one, there are no physical descriptions of the characters, the setting, or any visual clues to where the reader is placed. Second, how idealistically some of the situations and misunderstandings are resolved, with no real-world complications or repercussions. It is, however, refreshing and sweet how Elinora interacts with her family. Beyond the minor drawbacks, this is a fun, twisty story about forgiveness, family, and friends!

Emerson Matthews