Fish in a Tree

Friendship Bracelets Symbol Analysis

Friendship Bracelets Symbol Icon

Ally enviously notes at the beginning of the novel that Shay and all of Shay's friends wear colorful friendship bracelets that Shay made. At this point, Ally sees the bracelets as being indicative of genuine friendship, mutual support, and companionship between Shay and her many friends—something that the lonely Ally is jealous of. However, later in the school year, Ally discovers that Shay is actually selling the bracelets—suggesting that the bracelets actually symbolize false friendship built on fear and manipulation rather than genuine friendship forged through mutual respect and appreciation. The fact that Shay believes that her "friends" need to buy her attention and affection suggests that Shay's friendships are just as shallow and corrupted as her idea of what a friendship bracelet means.

Friendship Bracelets Quotes in Fish in a Tree

The Fish in a Tree quotes below all refer to the symbol of Friendship Bracelets. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Fish in a Tree published in 2015.
Chapter 11 Quotes

Besides that, Shay, Jessica, and some other girls all have these woven friendship bracelets. And I have never had the kind of friends who have matching bracelets, but I have always wanted them. It's like the bracelet tells the world that the person wearing it has someone who cares about them.

Related Characters: Ally (speaker), Shay, Jessica
Related Symbols: Friendship Bracelets
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 24 Quotes

“I laugh. “Uh, no, thanks. I'd rather wear handcuffs.”

I can't believe Shay charges her friends for something that's supposed to stand for loyalty and friendship. And I can't believe they paid.

Related Characters: Ally (speaker), Shay, Jessica
Related Symbols: Friendship Bracelets
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:
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Friendship Bracelets Symbol Timeline in Fish in a Tree

The timeline below shows where the symbol Friendship Bracelets appears in Fish in a Tree. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11: Scrambled Egg
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...them. Ally doesn't want to, but she's tired of sitting alone and envious of the friendship bracelet s the girls wear. Ally sees the bracelets as proof that someone cares, and she... (full context)
Chapter 14: Boxed In and Boxed Out
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
...Suki. Ally considers asking to go to the nurse when she sees all of Jessica's friendship bracelet s. Oliver grabs their box and shakes it. Max tries to take the box, and... (full context)
Chapter 21: Butterfly Wishes
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...She notices girls from other classrooms as well as Jessica, all of whom are wearing friendship bracelet s. Ally wonders if Keisha would like one. An employee lines up the kids and... (full context)
Chapter 24: Imaginary Hero
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
As Ally sits down, she hears Jessica ask Shay for another friendship bracelet . Ally pretends not to listen as Shay says that she has lots of orders... (full context)
Chapter 48: Oliver's Idea of Lucky
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...Ally hears Shay sounding unhappy across the room. She looks and sees a pile of friendship bracelet s on Shay's desk. (full context)