The Friend Test (+ Winners)

Posted by on Jul 25, 2016 in Uncategorized | 53 comments

Winners from last week’s contest are:

*** Melinda Fant *** Jane Baird *** Shadan A *** Finny JA. Z. ***

If your name isn’t there, no worries! Summer isn’t over, so this contest isn’t over. Past entries still accumulate for future wins so keep on entering!


This week’s contest focuses on friendship, a common theme in my books. Whether between Sage and Imogen or Mott, Roden, or Tobias. Between Nic, Aurelia, and Crispus. Or Gerta and Anna. And now, Ani and Weevil.

My stories explore loyalty, the test of a friendship’s limits, and the price and rewards of a true friend.

Scourge_LGIn THE SCOURGE, there is a scene where Ani is facing a stiff punishment and Weevil offers to take the punishment for her. In an attempt to separate them, Warden Gossel says he will give the punishment to whoever can prove themselves to be the worst friend. Here is an excerpt (edited for length):



“I’m the worse friend,” Weevil said. “I make fun of Ani’s singing every chance I get. You have no idea how bad it is, how it drives you to wish you were deaf, just to get away from it. A better friend would overlook her singing, but I never do.”

He always did. Whether Gossel knew it or not, Weevil was proving again how great he was to me. Of course he teased me about my singing. Everyone else just covered their ears and tried to ignore me.

“Anyway, I can still do worse,” Weevil continued. “There was this one day, a couple of weeks ago, when you looked really pretty. I should’ve told you. That’s the kind of things girls like to hear, right?”

“I don’t care about that,” I whispered. But I knew exactly which day he meant. Even if he’d wanted to compliment my looks, there had been no chance for it before I hurried him out the door. I didn’t want him to know where I was going. I still didn’t want him to know.

“I never tell you those things,” Weevil said. “Such as how much I admire the person you are, your strength and your courage to do anything you believe is right. I used to think I wouldn’t say those things because it might embarrass you. But that’s not it. I don’t say those things because it’d embarrass me. That’s not a good friend.”

“I don’t say them to you either,” I said. “And that never matters because we’re friends. We already know that about each other.”

“You seem to be a very good friend,” Gossel said to me. “But when all is laid open, is he an equal friend back?”

“I’m not,” Weevil said. “The other night, when we escaped the cell, I wasn’t far away when Warden Brogg recaptured you. I would’ve helped if I could, but there was nothing I could do. A good friend would never have left you alone in that cell.”

“I hoped you would go back home,” I said. “I didn’t want you back in that cell with me, and certainly didn’t want you here now. I wish you had not come back.”

And at the same time, it was my greatest wish, to never have to be here without him.

“The decision is made, then,” Gossel said to me. “You are the better friend because you had hoped to spare him from the Colony.” He turned to Weevil. “Raise your hand, grub, palm out.”

I had hoped our game wouldn’t get this far, but it had. I whispered, “I did want to spare him.” Now tears formed in my eyes. “I am the worse friend. I said I can prove it, and I will.”



Here is the question to answer in the comments below: Simply tell me about something a person did for you to prove how great a friend they are.


To find out how Ani proves herself to be the worse friend, you’ll have to read THE SCOURGE. It will be released on August 30th. Please ask your local library to order in a copy, or you can pre-order your own at any of these links!






  1. They didn’t try to be someone else.

  2. I have one best friend. We have disappointed each other a couple of times, but we’ve been there for each other anyway. We’ve been friends around 11 years now I think. One of the times she really showed me her friendship was recently.
    She’s going through a tough time, have been for a while. I’m okay, but something happened, something awful that almost crushed me, and on top of that I was in the middle of finals for the last semester of my bachelor degree. Hard times. We had planned to see each other, because I needed a distraction, but she called it off, because she didn’t feel well (she often cancels, which I’m not happy about, but I tolerate it), however, as I wrote to her, I really needed her that day because I was breaking down. Hard. I hadn’t felt that bad for years. She came running right away. She lives a couple of hours away, but she immediately ran for the bus and came out to me. I really love her for that. She came to comfort me, even though she wasn’t feeling her best. She truly is my best friend, even though we have our ups and downs.

  3. Once when I was sick I couldn’t get ahold of a required reading book for school, so she biked all the way to my house to let me borrow her copy before the assignment was due.

  4. I’m 26 now, but I still remember when my best friend wanted to make my 13th birthday special. She furtively designed little signs/necklaces out of notecards and ribbon that colorfully screamed, “Happy Birthday, Megan!” These were quietly distributed during first period and all throughout the day so I was constantly coming in contact with people excitedly giving me well-wishes and showing me how they customized their sign. I already felt deliriously happy, but then she arranged for the entire 7th grade to sing happy birthday to me as I walked into the cafeteria. My precious friend did everything she could to make me feel like the belle of the ball when I was not particularly popular. I know that this is a relatively shallow event, but the thoughtfulness it took to pull this off is one of the many reasons she’s still my best friend to this day!

  5. One Friday morning, my class left to go on a Six Flags field trip. My group tried to get on as many rides that were available before time ran out.

    Our last ride was Monsoon Falls. I kept my gift bag (cause I had to get souvenirs) in my friend’s backpack (she was kind enough to let me). When we got off the ride, my friends grabbed their bags and we continued to meet up with the teachers.

    While waiting, we were sorting the stuff from her bag so that I could have everything on the bus.

    When we were searching, I couldn’t find my gift bag. And then it hit me. It must have fallen out at Monsoon Falls.

    We ran back to get it, all the while getting sprayed with soakers (some mature high schoolers they were) and having our feet drowned in water (the ride was broken and the staff was trying to fix it.)

    To make an annoying story short, we got my gift bag back, and my friend kept apologizing for losing it.

    Don’t sweat it, kid.

    We had my bag back, as well as wet socks and shoes. And the windows were open all the way home. 😅

  6. One of the most impactful things one of my friends has done for me was being honest. He had something on his chest that he needed to let go. He told me, and that just made our bond stronger. He proved that he was a great friend by trusting me with a very personal situation, and I am thankful that he did

  7. The greatest thing my best friend has ever done for me is listening to my side of the story and telling me that i’m wrong when nobody else dares or bothers to. Constructive criticism seems to be a very commonly heard term these days but it’s difficult to come by and to have a friend who would correct you with love and still have your back is a very precious thing.

  8. My best friend is my sister. She’s a great friend because she’s loyal and always helps me when I need her. One time my sister was working really hard for something important to her. I got really distraught by something, and she stopped all she was doing to help me. Other times when someone made fun of me, she immediately jumped up to defend me.
    Thanks so much for hosting the giveaway! Congratulations to all the winners! I’m so excited to read the Scourge!

  9. She includes me and talks to me even when others don’t. And she really cares about me.

  10. They would stay by my side at any time no matter what, supporting me if from a distance. No friend is perfect and never will be but that doesn’t mean they(or you) should strive the best friend to anyone at any time. No matter the circumstances. And friends should always be forever.

  11. My best friend Danielle frequently spends her hard earned money to fly out and see me knowing that I can’t afford to come see her. Even though we’ve been separated by thousands of miles since we graduated college, we talk every day. She is my most true confidant and I talk to her more about my fears and my struggles than I do anyone else. She and I love all the same things and we never fight or get angry with one another. When we were in college and my roommates would all leave for a weekend to visit family, she would come stay at my apartment and we’d drag matresses down to the living room and watch movies so I didn’t have to spend the night alone (she knows how much I hate being alone at night when it’s dark…and my wild imagination gets the better of me). She is a sister (my sista from another mista so to speak) to me. We may not have been raised together and we may not have met until we were both adults, but to me it feels like she has been my sister and best friend for my entire life.

  12. During a stressful time in my life, they sent a card to cheer me up and remind me to be positive.

  13. Once, I was at a cast party after a play my senior year of high school. I’d just really started to get to know this girl (we’d recently discovered we both loved books and were talking nonstop) when someone humiliated me as part of a game involving dares. I don’t believe the point was to humiliate me (at least not by the one who did it), but I was really embarrassed nonetheless and left the room. My new friend came with me and stayed with me while I called my mom and waited for her to pick me up, and talked about books with me to keep my mind off of what had happened.

  14. She is honest with me, no matter how harsh.

  15. My best friend lives a very great distance from me but she continues to keep in touch with me and become closer as best friends.

  16. Once it started getting close to my birthday all my closest friends decided to make my birthday extra amazing. We had lunch together, my friends gave me cards and homemade presents they took the time to make themselves. They all helped decorate posters and so much more! I don’t know what i’d do without such fantastic friends!

  17. My best friend has been there to help me get into trouble and to keep me out of really bad trouble.

    • That sounds like a true bff!

  18. When one of my close family members died my friends comforted me, by telling me everything would be alright and that she (one of my closest family members) still loved me and she doesn’t want me to be sad about her passing she wants me to be happy and to move on, but still remember her always. My good friends still help me through tough times today. 🙂

    • Sorry I put 2 down I just couldn’t help it!

  19. They shared their food with me, sensing thoughtfully that I was very hungry. 😁

  20. Stay by my side when I needed it most and not just one time. She’s not (curiously) my best friend, but she had been a great friend for years now. Recently I lost my grandfather and she was there (through the computer but there nevertheless). She just listen… and that was the thing I needed.

  21. I have this one friend and me and her were hanging out with a couple other girls in our neighborhood and one of them didn’t like me (we were pretty young and we were playing house.) So she “gave” me the role of the youngest child (even though I hated that role.) And I was super sad about it, but my friend cheered me up and offered to switch roles with me. Even though it was small it was super kind of her to do. She is the greatest friend I ever had.

  22. Simply tell me about something a person did for you to prove how great a friend they are.

    I want to tell two great stories about how two great friends did something for me.

    1. I have this friend that most of the time I forget to spend my time with and I tend to leave him when there are other friends that are beside me. He is my childhood friend and has always been my friend even now. I think that he is also your friend. The greatest thing he did for me is paying the penalty of death for my sins so that we can be saved.

    2. Before when I was a sophomore in high school entering junior, I met this friend that became my best friend. I never really considered any best friend on high school because I was having a hard time coping with culture shock as my school before had a different set of values and environment. During the summer break, she always went to our house even though my house is far away from her so we can bond by watching korean dramas and talking about a lot of stuffs. During that time I am not so serious with my studies but she taught me to be disciplined and have this fire and eagerness to study that even now I am actually reaping the benefits of this. I have proven this fact because there was a time that I was focusing on stalking our favorite television actor and then she told me that the school will start soon and I better focus on studying as this television actor will not give me any good grades and i will not be learning anything beneficial from it. She even told me that the money paid for tuition fee is so valuable that I should really place importance in studying than doing any other thing. I actually felt bad at that time because my idea of a friend is so shallow as I imagine a friend will not be hurting your feelings. I told my mom about it and she responded saying that ” you know, she is a true friend because she chose to tell you what she thinks will not be good for you even though after she told you this, you may not talk to her feel bad about her”. It suddenly dawned on me that yes a true friend will definitely tell the truth in order to spare you from the bad consequences that they think you are doing even though the good relationship will be in jeopardy. I talked to her and apologized to her. I am an only child and that is the only time that someone whom I enjoyed my time with that is not a family told me about the importance of education. From then on, I believe that God used my dear bestfriend to have a change of heart and really took studying seriously that even now in college I became a half scholar and even experienced being a full scholar. Before in our school I was in achiever’s list number 39, I rose up to 23 and even became in the number 14.

  23. Ms. Jen – Traci Ann above is also me Traci Ann Borja.

  24. My best friend is named Emily. We have been friends our entire lives (we’ll both be fourteen by the end of next month). I’ve always been extremely shy, but Emily helped me make new friends. She’s the reason that I have so many amazing friends today. She’s always there to make me laugh or to help me with my homework. I can’t imagine my life without her. Also, she was the one who first introduced me to the False Prince trilogy. What more could you ask for in a friend?

  25. Just being there for me.

  26. It might seem nothing major but it is to me, I have known people but true friends? not really, except for one. I don’t often see her since she travels a lot because of her work but whenever I need to talk to her she’s there for me, to offer advice or simply to listen. And that is the best thing, to know there’s someone who cares for you and who will always be there 🙂

  27. Ms. Jen, I have another entry! HAHAHA.
    This I considered is the most memorable thing a friend did for me. I have a friend overseas and she took time to send me a large shipping box full of good books! I think the books that was included inside were about 100 or more. Actually the thought of someone sending me a book already fills my heart with joy so how much more is the feeling of actually receiving one. At first, I thought it will only consist of a series that we talked about before but instead it even included purely awesome books, the one that it is included in my “wish list” that I deeply enjoyed. It was so memorable because it was the first time that I received a shipping box. Until now, when I think about it I just speak blessings for my friend and I really want that she will only receive the best.

  28. It’s been 12 years since I moved to U.S. and even though I go back and visit friends and family every couple of years, my best friend has been the only one to get money together to come visit me. Sure, it has taken a while, but nobody outside my family has come to see JUST ME, I know of other people who have taken vacations somewhere else, but my friend has made it a priority to come see me first ^^ my only regret is that she was working on her thesis while I had my classes that semester and I feel like I could have taken more time for her, made me think of the situation of “I’m not such a great friend like her”
    Just this gesture is plenty for me to be able to say she is a great friend <3

  29. One of my friends gave up playing volleyball every time he was able to just to talk to me. Because he knows I don’t like playing volleyball he would always do something else just for me, even though he really likes to play volleyball.

  30. Once I was having a rough day and I just happened to tell my friend at lunch that I really wanted some chocolate chip pancakes with syrup and whipped cream because that is honestly my best comfort food. She told me we could go to her house and make some but lunch was almost over and I didn’t want to be late to class so I told her thank you but no thanks. Anyways, later that day at like 5 o’clock she called me and asked if I was home. I told her I was and asked if she was coming over. She said she might. 10 minutes later she showed up at my house with chocolate chip pancakes and syrup and whipped cream for me and I honestly started crying. So yeah she is amazing.

  31. I have a friend who, no matter what kind of mood I’m in, will always listen to whatever crazy dream or idea I hav recently thought up, or will listen to my complaints, or will just smile and remind me that she and I must always keep in contact that she expects me to be at her wedding as a bridesmaid, whenever that may be. She’s great

  32. I have had several good friends but what sticks out to me the most right now is this;
    I was at a funeral and a complete mess. My annoyance levels were rising because there were a lot of people there who either knew the person who died not well or not at all. Some girls were making small talk with me and I was about to crack and start sobbing again when I saw an old friend across the room. They didn’t do anything major, they just offered one short nod. That nod meant the world to me right then, it did more than empty words of distraction or consolation could have ever done.

    On a brighter note my current bff tolerates my ranting and lunacy which is quite the feat!

  33. One time after I’d just had wrist surgery and was feeling down, one of my best friends who lives halfway across the country mailed me a box full of chocolate, socks, puzzles, and activities to do with only one hand. It made me so happy to see that she cared enough about me to go through all that effort, and my day was so much brighter because of her.

    As an aside, I just want to say that I really love the format of this giveaway – giving out prizes every week and making different ways for people to interact with your content to enter is really clever. I’m planning on making a giveaway on my blog for the month of August, to clear out some ARC’s and publicize my blog. Do you mind if I borrow some of the techniques you’re using here?

  34. My friend let me live in her house so I could get out of an abusive household.

  35. I have a lot of good friends. When you move a lot, you find great people all over the world. My best friends at camp just made me laugh. We just laughed all the time: in math class, on break, in activities, while playing four square. It made me realize how I hadn’t laughed in a long time. They are just funny, and we still text and laugh with each other.

  36. One time my best friend invited me to go camping with her.I had to say yes;her and I had the time of our lives.I got extremely ill and was throwing up constantly.Through all the chaos and frustration she kept my joy level at tops.I still felt awful at times,but she handle it too well.I was so thankful that she was the one person standing there and no one else.

  37. Hello! Thank you for all of the chances you gave us to win! So for my answer, my friend is always there for me. If I ever need to talk about something that is bothering me or am feeling sad or mad- any of those not-so-good emotions, they are there for me to speak to them about it. If I need help or just need a friend in a time of need, I’ll know they’ll come through. Even if it’s not right away, I know that I’ll get the advice and pick-me-up that I need.

  38. I guess what proves someone is a true friend to me is simply listening and understanding. 🙂

  39. My best friend knows how to make me laugh, no matter what. But she also knows when to leave me alone.

  40. My friends and I hang out in the library every lunch and we’re always reccommending books to each other so that we can fangirl together. I’ve forced them to read TFP and MoTT and they loved them! In return, I’ve also discovered some really great books like Between the Lines, Virals, and Eragon.

  41. What I love most from my friend is that he is always loyal to me and would never give up on me. This one time I was having a birthday day to party and his family was going on vacation that day to Florida, so he stayed home to go to my party.

    Thankyou, this contest is so much fun and you are amazin, I cant wait to read book 3 of the mark of the theif

  42. I just realized I am out of new books to read, scary thought for a book worm. I was wondering if you have any recommendations. I read all of Jennifer Nielsen’s books, except Scourge of course, and loved them!

  43. My best friend in the whole world should me how much our friendship means to her by always having faith and believing in me even when others didn’t we may have had a few ruff patches but we always stayed by each others side to help each other when the other needed it the most. I love that other people have that friendship that will last a life time .😍❤️💗 I hope that people who don’t have that friendship find it cause it’s the best gift in the world to have besides a good book to read

  44. Something a friend did for me was she defended me. And I know it should be a normal thing for friends to defend each other but like myself, most of my friends are very quiet and would be nervous to say something but they would talk to me afterwards. Anyways this friend actually spoke out for me and that’s what made me really appreciate her friendship.

  45. I have friends who will see needs that I have and offer to help without me asking and do it in a way that I don’t feel bad.

  46. My friend proved how great she was when she stayed by my side, even when I was in the worst times of my life. She was always there for me and made me feel special.

  47. I’m naturally a shy person, and as such, my friend remembered my birthday and made it special for me, even though I hadn’t told her when it was! She really made my day.

  48. My best friend believed that I could accomplish my goal (that was extremely important to me) when everyone else doubted my abilities.

  49. I met Christine my first year at college. After High School where hardly anyone I knew loved to read, I met a girl that loved reading as much as I did. She had a book with her at all times and we bonded talking about Roald Dahl and Harry Potter. She knew I was planning to be a librarian and go to URI after RIC so as she finished her Senior year at RIC she applied and got into URI. She was there waiting to be in my classes when I finished my last semester at RIC ( the dean changed my program forcing me to take an extra semester). Two and a half years after that we were both librarians and still talk about books together today.

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