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Mark Wakely
A Friend Like Filby
Mark Wakely, author
George has been fascinated with the idea of time travel ever since the unexpected death of his mother when he was ten, and hopes someday to find a friend like Filby, the forever loyal friend of the time traveler in the 1960 movie The Time Machine. George’s two closest high school friends, Dave and Nancy (nickname Onion), struggle at times to understand his odd obsession as they deal with issues of their own both in and out of school. The story takes place during the three friends’ tumultuous senior year from beginning to end, with a major realization in store for George on graduation day.

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 10.00 out of 10


Plot: George Wells lives with his dad and younger brother Kenny, who is on the autism spectrum, as their mother died unexpectedly when George was 10. George is obsessed with 1960s version of The Time Machine and fascinated by the idea of time travel. More even than he wants to see his mother again, he wants to find a friend like Filby, the steadfast companion the time traveler in the move. The story follows George and his friends though their senior year—pranks, rites of passage, growing pains, and loss including the deaths of classmates, that characterize that year.

Prose/Style: George’s is an authentic voice and Wakely has an ear clearly attuned to teenage speech. The story flows from page to page describing ordinary, and some not-so-ordinary events, in a low-key style that carries the reader along effortlessly.

Originality: The straightforward way in which Wakely describes George’s life gives a sense of verisimilitude to the struggles he faces. He understands that he will eventually be responsible for his brother, who will surely need his protection, and he is trying to make sense of the past, including the death of his mother, and to construct a viable future.

Character Development/Execution: Well-delineated individualistic characters whose interactions are described in realistic, believable detail. The reader is enveloped in their world without quite knowing how that happened.

 Blurb: A compelling, down-to-earth exploration of the challenges and fun of being a senior in high school, of being a son, a brother, and a friend.

Date Submitted: July 10, 2021