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Authors: Judy Blume

BFF*

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ALSO BY JUDY BLUME

The Pain and the Great One

The One in the Middle Is the Green Kangaroo

Freckle Juice

Iggie's House

Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

Superfudge

Fudge-a-Mania

Blubber

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
.

Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself

It's Not the End of the World

Then Again, Maybe I Won't

Just as Long as We're Together

Here's to You, Rachel Robinson

BFF: Best Friends Forever

Deenie

Tiger Eyes

Published by Delacorte Press
an imprint of Random House Children's Books
a division of Random House, Inc.
New York

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Text copyright © 2007 by Judy Blume

This edition contains the complete and unabridged texts of the original editions. This omnibus was originally published in separate volumes under the titles:
Just as Long as We're Together
, copyright © 1987 by Judy Blume
Here's to You, Rachel Robinson
, copyright © 1993 by Judy Blume

All rights reserved.

SIDE BY SIDE by Harry Woods. Copyright © MCMXXVII
Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., Inc., New York. Renewed. All rights reserved.
International copyright secured. Used by permission.

Delacorte Press and colophon are
registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

www.randomhouse.com
www.judyblume.com

Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools,
visit us at
www.randomhouse.com/teachers

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
is available upon request.

eISBN: 978-0-307-49410-8

v3.1_r3

Judy blume

Hi, Friends and Readers!

I'm so happy that these two books, favorites of mine, are now available in one big volume. When I first got the idea for
Just as Long as We're Together
, I was remembering being part of a trio as I was growing up. Like Stephanie, I had two best friends all through elementary school. There were times when one or another of us felt left out by the other two. And there was a terrible time when one of us felt betrayed by the others. So I know that being part of a trio isn't always easy.

When the three of us started junior high, everything changed. We began to grow apart. It was hard and sometimes painful. I often felt that I was the one who no longer fit in. But maybe my two friends felt the same way. I don't know. We never talked about it. In time, each of us found new interests and new friends.

I had to find out for myself that you can't have a best friend without being one. Friendship depends on trust, caring, and loyalty. You have to work at it. You have to value your friend. In seventh grade, I met the girl who would become my best friend for life. There was a connection between us from the beginning. We were sometimes competitive, which wasn't good for our friendship, but somehow we got through that. Maybe we learned that boys and popularity come and go but neither is as important as a true friend. Together, we've learned what
BFF
really means.

Before I sat down to write these two books, I knew my characters well, or thought I did. But I like it best when my characters surprise me as I'm writing, and these three girls and their families certainly did. Nothing turned out the way I thought it would. By creating fictional families and situations that kids have no control over, I get to see how they cope. Sooner or later, most real-life kids find themselves in situations they can't control. You can't control your family. You can't control your friends, either—but at least you get to
choose
your friends.

Both Stephanie and Rachel have to deal with major family changes. Neither one wants to tell the other what's going on at home.

Sometimes friendships change. Rachel doesn't want to lose Stephanie, but she also wants to have other friends—friends from music camp, friends from math class. Steph is threatened by this. If Rachel finds new friends, what will happen to their friendship? At the same time, Steph wants to be friends with Alison. And she doesn't know how to do that without trying to make Alison and Rachel friends too. As the new girl in town, Alison comes up with a way to attract new friends. But she's careful not to give away much about her family. She wants to be liked for herself. It's not easy for her to come into a friendship that has a long history. It's not easy being caught between Stephanie and Rachel.

The thing is, it's good to have friends from different parts of your life—school, activities, the neighborhood, summer. They won't all become your BFF, but that's okay.

I hope you enjoy these two novels about Stephanie, Rachel and Alison. I'd always planned to write three books, one from each girl's point of view. But I never got around to writing Alison's story. Maybe someday.

I'd love to hear from you. You can visit me online at
www.judyblume.com
. Click on Book List, then on
Just as Long as We're Together
and
Here's to You, Rachel Robinson
to find out how I chose the titles for these two books, how I named the characters, and more.

Just as Long as We're Together

To my friend,

STEPHEN MURPHY

who touched my life with his courage, dignity
and never-ending sense of humor

Lola will always remember …

Hunks

“Stephanie is into hunks,” my mother said to my aunt on Sunday afternoon. They were in the kitchen making potato salad and I was stretched out on the grass in our yard, reading. But the kitchen window was wide open so I could hear every word my mother and aunt were saying. I wasn't paying much attention though, until I heard my name.

At first I wasn't sure what my mother meant by
Stephanie is into hunks
, but I got the message when she added, “She's taped a poster of Richard Gere on the ceiling above her bed. She says she likes to look up at him while she's trying to fall asleep at night.”

“Oh-oh,” Aunt Denise said. “You'd better have a talk with her.”

“She already knows about the birds and the bees,” Mom said.

“Yes, but what does she know about boys?” Aunt Denise asked.

It so happens I know plenty about boys. As for hunks, I've never known one personally. Most boys my age—and I'm starting seventh grade in two weeks—are babies. As for my Richard Gere poster, I didn't even know he was famous when I bought it. I got it on sale. The picture must have been taken a long time ago because he looks young, around seventeen. He was really cute back then. I love the expression on his face, kind of a half-smile, as if he's sharing a secret with me.

Actually, I don't call him Richard Gere. I call him Benjamin but my mother doesn't know that. To her he's some famous actor. To me, he's Benjamin Moore, he's seventeen and he's my first boyfriend. I love that name—Benjamin Moore. I got it off a paint can. We moved over the summer and for weeks our new house reeked of paint. While my room was being done I slept in my brother's room. His name is Bruce and he's ten. I didn't get a good night's sleep all that week because Bruce has nightmares.

Anyway, as soon as the painters were out of
my room I moved back in and taped up my posters. I have nineteen of them, not counting Benjamin Moore. And he's the only one on the ceiling. It took me all day to arrange my posters in just the right way and that night, as soon as my mother got home from work, I called her up to see them.

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