cover image The Friendship Matchmaker

The Friendship Matchmaker

Randa Abdel-Fattah. Walker, $15.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-8027-2832-6

Seventh-grader Lara Zany is the self-proclaimed "official Friendship Match%C2%ADmaker" of Potts County Middle School, and she is drafting a manual filled with her top tips to send to "Harry Potter's publishers" when it's complete. Unfor%C2%ADtunately, Lara is so busy coaching her %E2%80%A8"clients" on how to talk, dress, and on what not to bring for lunch or do at recess that she has no time to dwell on her own lack of friends. A transfer student from another school, Emily Wong, shakes up all the rules ("Cartoon-inspired dress choices in seventh grade? Dolphins? This was without a doubt the worst case of RFP [Reputation Faux Pas] I'd ever come across," says a horrified Lara) and bets Lara that she can't match up one of her most difficult "Terminal Total Loner" classmates. Australian author Abdel-Fattah (Where the Streets Had a Name) navigates the intricacies of middle school relationships and social challenges via a well-meaning protagonist whose enthusiasm never flags. Readers will quickly see the end of Lara's tale coming but still be pleased by the happy, slightly rushed %E2%80%A8denouement. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. (July)