Bigg School: Best Friends Forever

Bigg School: Best Friends Forever

By Author / Illustrator

Lisa Williamson, illus Jess Bradley


Friends and family

Age range(s)



Guppy Publishing Ltd




Paperback / softback




A new contemporary series from Lisa Williamson about an ordinary class of kids with extraordinary stories - teamed up with the hilarious and award-winning illustrator, Jess Bradley. The first book follows Lola going from primary to secondary school with her best friend.  

Book 2:  Bigg School - Double Drama

Author Lisa Williamson introduces Best Friends Forever: find out more in our Q&A with Lisa




Best Friends Forever is the first book in the Bigg School series by Lisa Williamson, and is a great read for anyone approaching the end of their primary school. Printed in a super clear font, with some highly amusing black and white illustrations by Jess Bradley, this will be perfect for anyone who may still feel a little overwhelmed by chapter books.

Lola and Evie have been best friends since their mums met at mother-and-baby group; they describe themselves as two peas-in-a-pod although they actually have very different personalities. As the end of the summer holiday looms closer, 'big school nerves' begin to kick in and the realisation that they will no longer be in the same class leads Lola to suggest that they 'pinkie promise' to remain best friends forever. However, Evie makes a new friend almost straight away, a girl called Chloe, who is in her form, and is so much cooler than Lola. Understandably, Lola feels somewhat rejected, let down by her friend, who with the prospect of moving house following her parents' divorce, Lola now needs more than ever.

Narrated by 12-year-old Lola, this is a relatable story, whose main protagonists are great characters with realistic problems they need to solve. I am sure Best Friends Forever will be an appealing read for readers aged nine years plus.

256 pages / Reviewed by Sam, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 9+


11-year-olds Lola and Evie have been best friends since they were babies. They do everything together, laugh at the same things and even finish each other's sentences. Evie is tall and tidy, Evie is small and messy, but they are always there for each other. They are about to start in Year 7 at Henry Bigg Academy, and are devastated when they find that they have been put into different classes. Despite the girls promising to stay best friends forever, things go wrong for Lola when Evie makes friends with Cleo Bayford, a pretty, confident girl from her tutor group. All of a sudden, Evie sems to be growing away from her childhood friend. Lola just wants everything to stay the same - but it seems that Cleo is taking her best friend away from her, and she doesn't seem to be able to do anything to stop their once-close bond from disappearing.

Bigg School: Best Friends Forever is a very enjoyable novel, covering the themes of friendship and family perfectly. The novel is narrated by Lola; she is an endearing, lovable character, young for her years and yet she has a lot to deal with. Her parents are separated and she longs for them to be reunited, and, when her closest friend also starts to drift away from her, she feels lost and uncertain. The reader can see that Evie is growing up more quickly, and no longer likes to play the childish games that she and Lola once enjoyed; Lola does not understand why this is happening and her confusion is heartbreaking. Cleo takes great delight in putting Lola down, making fun of her small stature and her name, and Lola cannot understand why Evie, who once was always on her side, has stopped backing her up. Slowly, Lola begins to find her own way, befriending the quirky Astrid Chaney, whom everyone else thinks is weird. Astrid is a great character; she is writing a novel, loves sewing, talks to Bunsen burners and doesn't seem to care about other people's opinions of her. We also meet Daniel Littleton, who went to the same primary school as Lola and loves to tease and torment her.

The author writes beautifully, and really gives us an insight into the minds of her characters. Evie has an older brother, Matthew, who also teases his sister, and seems to find her annoying. However, when Lola has to face up to her parents' decision to divorce, it is Matthew who talks to her, helping her to work through her unhappiness - a very moving section of the novel.

I was rooting for Lola the whole way through the book, but could also sympathise with Evie who still loves her friend but who also needs the completely different kind of friendship offered by Cleo. This novel will be a perfect addition to any school library - I predict waiting lists! The cartoon-style illustrations by Jess Bradley complement the story perfectly, and the whole book is accessible but not too simple.

I noted with delight that a sequel is planned in which we will find out more about Daniel Littleton - I am sure he has a very interesting story to tell, and I cannot wait to read it!

256 pages / Reviewed by Beverley Somerset, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 11+


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