I'm writing this to you/for you because I know what it was like to be an almost teenager. I know what it was like to have the same friends be there for you one day and not the next, to be anxious over getting good grades, and not want to grow up, but want to all at the same time. It gets easier I promise. Or rather, you adapt and learn and therefore it gets easier.
I wish I could say that people grow up and mature, but honestly, it's the same now (at 22) as it was when I was 12 and it likely will be the same all through life--I'll let you know in another ten years. So it's best that you learn to deal with it now--sorry does that sound harsh?
Friends will come and go, but some will stay around. Hold on to those. Don't let boys or tiny differences or what other people think get in the way of those lasting friendships. I look at you today and I see some great friends in your life, that's great! We know there are some that aren't that great either, and that's fine too.
Also, don't even get me started on boys. Not to sound like a parent, but you do you for as long as possible. No dating until you're married. Just kidding, but really. You don't need a boy for a VERY long time. You might WANT one, but they are mostly all just dumb.
Going into eighth grade, I had so many crushes and I think Stephanie already had a boyfriend, but YOU stay away. They can get in the way of you chasing your dreams and make you feel like your dreams are stupid. AND let's face it--they are still at least 9 or 10 years old in maturity level--and it's going to take them awhile to get on your level. Don't stoop to their level. You'll be tempted to act a certain way or dress a certain way to get a boy's attention because everyone else is, but it's not worth it. Trust me.
Also, don't let anyone tell you that you can't. You can do/be/accomplish anything that you set your mind to. I wish I would've done so much more ten years ago and believe me, you don't want to live with the "I wish"(es). Take the trips, indulge in the experiences, make mistakes. Don't regret anything. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I love you and want you to have the best almost high school experience next year.
Remember, it's never to early (or late) to think of someone other than yourself (volunteer), get ready for college (keep those grades up Miss Smarty-Pants), and find that thing that's really you (you could be the next Picasso).
I love you baby sissy! Love your favorite older sister :)