Back to the Drawing Board

Graphix/Scholastic/. (Making Friends: Bk. 2). Jul. 2019. 208p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781338139273; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781338139266.
Gr 4-7–Surviving middle school can be a nightmarish experience, especially when deciding who one’s true friends are. Awkward seventh grader Danielle “Dany” Radley makes a comeback in this sequel to Making Friends. Dany is gradually fitting in, trying to be cool, and getting into shenanigans. But mean girl Cara McCoy shuts her down and makes her feel like the biggest loser in front of their mutual friend Madison. Tired of being victimized by Cara and lagging behind on homework, Dany finds a solution. Once again, her magic sketchbook turns the imaginary into reality. She creates Cloney, her fun, confident doppelganger. Life seems to go smoothly for Dany and Cloney, but unexpected things keep happening around town and with her parents, and Dany must turn things around. Gudsnuk keeps readers wildly entertained, relying on a vibrant palette of purples and pinks and big-eyed characters who survive wacky events. Tweens will relate to Dany’s desire to escape reality during cringe-worthy moments. This is a fast-paced tale that deftly portrays the pitfalls of friendship and the dramatic emotional changes of middle school.
VERDICT While this sequel doesn’t break any new ground, it will appeal to readers with an appetite for fantastical realism.

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