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Literature / The Friendship Song

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The Friendship Song is a Young Adult novel by Nancy Springer.

Harper is not having a good day. Her dad's married a woman named Gus, they're moving in with her, and now she must adjust to a new school and a new mother. There's something strange about Gus and her house, too. The backyard is littered with junk, people have been known to get lost in it, and Harper can hear faint music playing at night. Thankfully, it's not as bad as it seems, as she also meets a new friend, Rawnie. Together with their love of rock band Neon Shadow—and especially lead singers Nico and Ty—the two friends vow to stick together.


One day Harper and Rawnie learn Neon Shadow is coming to town. Despite a fight spurred on by mean people at school, the girls procure tickets. But when Nico collapses onstage and hovers between life and death, Harper and Rawnie must brave what they find in the backyard to save him...

This book contains examples of:

  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Harper realizes that the hot dog vendor probably won't be Aly if she looks at her again.
  • Alpha Bitch: Alabaster. Making it worse is that she's a skinhead.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Gus is both herself and Aengus, a male.
  • And You Were There: Harper and Rawnie meet people from school in the underworld, or at least it's how it looks to them.
  • Convenient Coma: Nico enters one, and becomes neither alive nor dead.
  • Cool Old Lady: Gus.
  • Face of the Band: In-universe. Neon Shadow has other members, but Nico and Ty are the ones the girls focus on.
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  • The Ferryman: He appears as the school principal, demanding gold or something worth gold.
  • Foreign Queasine: The hot dogs offered in the underworld are worms. This makes Rawnie feel ill as she'd come very close to eating one.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Gus.
  • Meaningful Name: Harper; Orpheus carried a harp.
  • Orphean Rescue
  • The Power of Friendship: The titular song exemplifies this, and Harper and Rawnie believe in it not only for them, but also Nico and Ty. Except Ty doesn't reciprocate.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Gus is ancient.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Death comes for Nico in the form of a giant winged snake.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Lampshaded, as Aengus admits that he's not the lord of all the dead, just creative people like artists, poets, and musicians. The character in actual mythology is a god of love, youth and poetic inspiration.
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  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: Gus Mccog is short for Aengus Mac Og, the lord of the dead.
  • Threshold Guardians: The boatman and the hot dog vendor.
  • The Underworld


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