The Friendship Riddle

Megan Frazer Blakemore. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-61963-630-9
Sixth-grader Ruth, who teachers describe as “a bit in her own world,” lives in the small seaside town of Promise, Maine, with her Mom and Mum; her former best friend Charlotte—adopted from China by her fathers—is now aligned with the popular girls. During a relentlessly snowy winter, Ruth is focused on a “secret clue” she found in a library book (Could it be the start of a “saga-worthy” quest like her favorite fantasy novel heroine is always embarking upon?) and on the upcoming spelling-bee championships. But her heart is on her lost friendship with Charlotte and her uncertainty about investing in new friends. Blakemore (The Spycatchers of Maple Hill) has created a cast of distinctive and believable sixth-graders; the new relationships develop more satisfactorily than the plot, which lacks momentum. Once Ruth invites her friends to help with the clues, the search does take on the nature of a quest, which wraps up cleverly, if a little too neatly. This sprawling novel’s chief strength is its portrayals of middle school dynamics, seen through the eyes of unconventional Ruth, and of contemporary family life. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/30/2015
Release date: 05/05/2015
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 359 pages - 978-1-61963-631-6
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-68119-019-8
Prebound-Glued - 384 pages - 978-0-606-38546-6
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