Best Friends (Wilson novel)
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|Cover artist||Nick Sharratt|
|Publisher||Doubleday (first edition, hardback)|
|4 March 2004|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback) and audiobook|
|Followed by||Codie Skelton|
In this book Biscuits' surname is McVitie, but in Cliffhanger his surname is Baker, as Tim wrote a postcard to him with the name as Mr "Biscuits" Baker; this may be due to the fact that Gem hates Biscuits, and McVitie's are a biscuits company, so she might be making fun out of him.
- Gemma Jackson: Gemma is the story's main protagonist and narrator. She is fairly tomboyish, hyperactive and clumsy, who enjoys football, bike riding and spending time with her Grandad. She is Alice's best friend and is devastated when she learns that Alice is moving away to Scotland, having seen each other nearly every day since the cradle. She has two brothers Jack and Callum. Her parents blame her when she runs away with Alice. Gemma has a warm and optimistic disposition, and while her movements are described as "clumsy" and "un-ladylike" by her firmly disciplined mother, however, she has a delicacy and softness of heart which shines through when with her special friend, Alice.
- Alice Barlow: Gemma's best friend. In contrast to Gemma, she is quite the girly girl, who loves dressing up, ballet and the colour pink. She appears traumatised when she and her parents move away to Scotland, having been parted from Gemma. However, she is spoiled with all sorts of glamorous items in their new home. She makes friends with snobby Flora. She writes Gemma a birthday card at the end of the book. While she has lots of fancy and elegant objects surrounding her, lives in a beautiful countryside home and attends an ever so fancy school, all she truly wants is her best friend to be here, too.
- Billy "Biscuits" McVitie: The girls' schoolfriend, a tubby boy who loves food, both eating and cooking. Gemma and Alice form a temporary hatred for him when he "tells on them" to his mother about their plots on running away. When Alice is gone, Gemma and Biscuits become closer as friends and work together for a project on famous TV chef "Fat Larry", as well as Biscuits making Gemma her special birthday cake at her party. He is invited to Gemma's party. Towards the beginning, Gemma has a strong disliking for him which is shared by Alice, but as time slowly passes she realises what he did was out of care, and he just wants his special friend Gemma to be safe and happy. Biscuits is described as having a good natured, kind and cheerful character, as well as being loved by all of his friends.
- Flora Hamilton: A girl who befriends Alice in Scotland. Gemma often frets that Flora is trying to "take Alice away from her" and becomes highly suspicious of them together. Flora is very pretty, mature and also a good ballet dancer. She lets Gemma email her to communicate with Alice, something Gemma feels very uneasy about. During Gemma's visit to Scotland Flora is disdainful of Gemma's childish ways and tries to get Alice to do what she wants to do. She openly disapproves of Gemma and Alice's special friendship, much to Gemma's dismay. She ends up with the birthday cake in her face after Gemma loses her cool once and for all. She also renames Gemma's precious doll, Melissa, who was a gift from her beloved grandmother, who died at an early stage of Gemma's life. This upsets Gemma very deeply, and her strong emotion only grows.
- Grandad: Gemma's beloved grandfather. He has a very caring, calm and soft temperament, and loved Gemma very deeply. He has affectionately nicknamed Gemma as his little Gem, and she open,y expresses that she believes he is the only person in the world who understands her true feelings and sees her beautiful true colours, besides Alice, of course. He is sensitive to Gemma's emotions, and it is said that even he shed a tear at Gemma and Alice's emotional, heartwarming reunion. He is summarised as the loveliest man in the whole world by his special little Gem.
See: Best Friends (TV series)
In 2005, a five-part adaptation was produced by CITV. It followed the book closely, but with a few minor alterations.