Reading notes for Anne-Marie Conway’s Forbidden Friends plus a giveaway!

forbidden-friendsToday sees the publication of Anne-Marie Conway’s Forbidden Friends, her latest mystery for 10+ readers. As a book that could work well for children’s reading groups (all Red House Children’s Book Award Testing Groups should have received a copy), it’s a pleasure to be hosting the first stop on the Forbidden Friends blog tour this week. Anne-Marie has written a series of book club questions to stimulate conversation about her new book, and so without further ado, let me hand over to Anne-Marie:

Forbidden Friends tells the story of Bee and Lizzie, two girls who meet on holiday and become best friends. The story explores issues of grief, loss, bulling and family loyalty. It is the story of a friendship tested to the limits. Bee and Lizzie have to overcome serious obstacles, and face up to their own deep-seated fears, in their quest to see each other again.

The book club questions below are designed to take a deeper look at some of the issues raised in the story. I have also included some fun activities you could try with your book groups or English classes.

Book club questions – Forbidden Friends
Lizzie’s brother, Luke, died when she was only three years old. When they arrive in Spain, Lizzie says that sometimes she feels as if she’s the one who died. What do you think she means by this? Do you think she feels differently by the end of the book?

The image of the red balloon runs right from the front cover all the way through to the end of the book. What do you think the balloon symbolises? Do you think it might mean different things to different characters in the story?

In Bee’s poem, Being Me, Bee describes what it’s like to be bullied. Have you ever experienced bullying at school? Did you tell someone or did you keep it bottled up inside like Bee? Lizzie is also being bullied by her dad. Do you think this is one of the reasons the two girls become so close?

When Bee and Lizzie confront Bee’s dad, he tries to explain why he lied about the accident. Do you think he was right to lie? Do you understand his reasons? What do you think would’ve happened if he’d told the truth right from the start?

Towards the end of the book, Aidan says he can’t believe how much Bee has grown up. What do you think he means by this? How do you think she changes during the course of the story?

Why don’t you have a go at story-boarding a book trailer for Forbidden Friends? You would need to pick out key moments in the story; the friendship rock, the caves, the memorial ceremony for Luke, swapping the suitcases – and then when you’ve finished you could try adding music to the images to really bring them to life.

Imagine that Bee has decided to confront Melissa Knight. What do you think she would say? How do you think Melissa would react? When you’ve had a go, swap roles and try again.

Bee decides to write her holiday-project poems on “friendship”. Can you write a poem about your best friend? Maybe you could write a poem together?

Download the book club notes and activities from the Usborne website here.

To WIN a copy of Forbidden Friends please email your name and address to UK entrants only. Only the winner will be contacted. Prize is non-negotiable.

Forbidden Friends by Anne-Marie Conway is out on 1st May. Read the first chapter online now at

Check out the next stop on the Forbidden Friends blog tour on Friday over at Nayu’s Reading Corner where Anne-Marie will be talking about the importance of friendship.


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