Annie Fox Books...

Middle School Confidential ™

Book 2: Real Friends vs. the Other Kind

by Annie Fox, M.Ed., Illustrated by Matt Kindt
Free Spirit Publishing


Just the books you need to tackle middle schoolReal Friends vs. the Other Kind... picks up right where Be Confident in Who You Are leaves off. In addition to dealing with body beefs and teasing, another problem in middle school is friendship. ‘There’s nothing like being with friends. But if you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered about some friendships. Maybe you’re not sure if someone is a real friend or the “other” kind.’ And that’s exactly what this book confronts. Get tips for making friends, dealing with peer pressure, and handling friendship dilemmas. ‘Because you and each of your friends are unique, there’s no single “right” way to have a great friendship.’

“What I really love about these books is how they blend graphic novel with nonfiction advice. Bottom line is that they’re cool. The books are full of full-color illustrations, quotes from real teens, fun quizzes, and tips and insider tools for staying strong through the rough spots. Young readers will be able to relate to the teens in the book and will feel as though they’re having a conversation with their friends. Entering middle school can be tough, which is why it’s great to have a series like this that middle graders can turn to.” More »

National Children’s Books,
Lori Calabrese, June, 2011


“When I received my copy of Real Friends vs. the Other Kind from Annie Fox’s Middle School Confidential™ series, I knew I had my hands on a school counselor’s dream. There are BIG things in this small package! This is a book that would have had a place under my pillow during my junior high days. That’s where I would have kept it, so I could read and reread it – especially during those sleepless nights spent over friendship angst. This book speaks to kids.

“...Parents and teachers will also love Real Friends vs. The Other Kind. Use it in the classroom for whole group discussions or at home for parent and t(w)een talks. For kids who are not “into” parental discussions, just leave copy in their bedroom. A final note to school counselors – I find this book an excellent resource for running small groups for kids with friendship problems and assertiveness issues.

A Way Through, LLC gives our Must Read Seal of Excellence to Middle School Confidential™: Real Friends vs. The Other Kind by Annie Fox for its appeal to t(w)eens, multiple uses, and addressing friendship information kids really need to know and learn. Recommended for t(w)eens, school counselors, middle school teachers and principals, parents, therapists, social workers, and anyone who loves a t(w)een.” More »

Jane Balvanz, MSE, RPT, A Way Through, August, 2010


“Middle school is a time for new experiences, new environments and new friends. But it is also a time where the meaning of friendship gets complicated. Suddenly old friends are not so friendly anymore and new friends don’t act in ways a friend should act...

“In her second book in the series, Middle School Confidential: Real Friends vs. the Other Kind, Annie Fox delivers another powerful, helpful and entertaining book for kids. Jack, Abby, Mateo, Jen, Chris and Michelle are entering another stage in their lives and it all begins with a seemingly simple question: what exactly do we mean when we call someone a friend?

“To answer the question, Annie Fox does not step in to preach, comfort or give a straight answer. Instead the characters and information sent in by real kids serve to create a guide of questions kids can ask themselves when evaluating their friendships. The characters are faced with many problems that threaten to break apart their friendship, including a new friend who has ulterior motives, a budding romance that gets bossy, a friend who stopped eating and more.

“Ultimately, the book encourages readers to make informed decisions on their own. Kids can appreciate this straightforward, no-nonsense way of dealing with a problem. There are no easy solutions, but the book is full of possibilities, which is exactly what kids need to handle their problems with friendship.” More »

Prisca Rodriguez, Once Upon a Book, February, 2010


“Never preachy or parental, Fox writes from a place of genuine concern for the younger generation, in a style that is both upbeat and down to earth. Add in Fox’s expertise, and you’ll find books that speak to the heart of everything that matters to the tween population.

Book 2: Real Friends vs. the Other Kind (Middle School Confidential™ series), like the title implies, deals with all thing related to friendship and being friends. Fox helps readers identify the difference between real friends and those that aren’t so real. She provides useable information on avoiding and managing difficult relationship issues such as lying, rumors, being let down, peer pressure, helping a friend that needs it, dealing with crushes, personal safety rights, assertiveness, how to make friends and more.

“I love the concrete and real coping skills that kids can put to use immediately in their lives.

“[This book] is chock-full from cover to cover with such great information. I was so impressed with the sheer number of issues that Fox tackled and even more surprised on how truly user-friendly and digestible the information was.

“[Real Friends vs. the Other Kind] should be on the bookshelves of every middle school counselor and parent of tweens.” More »

Wendy Young, LMSW, BCD
Founder, Kidlutions and Spin-Doctor Parenting
December, 2009


“Jack, Abby, Mateo, Jen, Chris, and Michelle are the middle school students of various ethnicities who take readers through this slim, interactive guide. Chapters cover such topics as friendship dilemmas, so-called friends, when friendships aren’t working, crushes, and making new friends. Each chapter opens with a scene played out by the students in cartoon panels. Next, bits of text, along with a multitude of side boxes, address the topic at hand. Sidebars of different ‘FILES’ (‘Real Friend,’ ‘Labeled and Judged,’ ‘Quit Pressuring Me’) quote actual tweens and teens. ‘Need to Know?’ bytes recommend relevant books and Web sites. Lists of questions are offered, along with the answers. There’s a lot packed into this colorful title that falls somewhere between self-help and peer advice.

School Library Journal, August, 2009


“I just received and finished this amazing, colorful and educational book. Middle School kids would definitely benefit from reading this. It is a very easy read and offers first hand advice, tips and feelings from other teens. The illustrations keep you turning the pages and the comic strip characters are probably people your kids can relate to.” More »

Sue Scheff Book Reviews


“This terrific and oh so valuable book for middle school kids and parents, offers insider information on making friends, resolving disputes and dealing with common concerns like gossip, exclusion and cyberbullying.” More »

—Shannon Devereaux Sanford, Shannon’s Corner, WTBQ AM


“I’m a long-time fan of author Annie Fox, who teaches life literacy to tweens and teens through her writing and ‘Hey Terra!’ advice site. So it was great to see she has a new book out: Real Friends vs. the Other Kind, the second in her new ‘Middle School Confidential’ series.” More »

—Anne Collier,


“Nine out of ten people agree, that Middle School can be the toughest period in a young person’s life. Beyond raging hormones and a body growing in strange and mysterious ways, some of the meanest things in the world can happen in Middle School. The way a young person handles that time can have a significant impact on that person’s worldview for years to come. We feel that it is a key social justice issue for young people to be empowered, confident, brave, and safe and this wonderful book by our friends at Free Spirit can help a young person in that journey. This graphic book (comic book style for those of us who grew up a while ago) should be slipped into every new middle-schoolers backpack or under his or her pillow.” More »

Reach & Teach


“Step aside bullies, Annie Fox is here. Fox manages to take an extremely delicate subject for teens, tweens and families and turn it into a manageable and teachable process. Middle School Confidential Book 2 builds perfectly on the energy and lessons of Book 1 by connecting with youth at the heart of their greatest fears. Middle School Confidential is both witty and poignant, and a must-read for every young person.”

Vanessa Van Petten, author of You’re Grounded!: How to Stop Fighting and Make the Teenage Years Easier and creator of


“Friends one day, enemies the next! Sound familiar? Riding the friendship rollercoaster gets old. Real Friends vs. The Other Kind lays out a guide for finding out who your real friends are with added tips on how to be a great friend.”

Joe Bruzzese, Author of A Parents’ Guide to the Middle School Years, January, 2009

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''Are You My Friend?'' iBook by Annie Fox, Illustrated by Eli Noyes available on the iBookstore
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''Middle School Confidential 3: What's Up With My Family?'' iOS app ''Middle School Confidential 2: Real Friends vs. the Other Kind'' iOS app ''Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are'' iOS app ''The Teen Survival Guide to Dating & Relating: Real-World Advice on Guys, Girls, Growing Up, and Getting Along'' by Annie Fox M.Ed.
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''Middle School Confidential, Book 1: Be Confident in Who You Are'' by Annie Fox, Illustrated by Matt Kindt
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