The Friendship Matchmaker Goes Undercover

208p. Walker. Aug. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-3485-3.
Gr 4–7—In this sequel to The Friendship Matchmaker (Walker, 2012), seventh-grader Lara Zany finds herself back in her role as Potts County Middle School's Friendship Matchmaker. Although she promised her Official Best Friend, Tanya, that she was out of the matchmaking game, she can't resist meddling. When new student Majur transfers to her class from war-torn Sudan and ends up displacing the school bully from his role as soccer star, Lara finds herself drawn into their conflict. To keep the peace with Tanya, she tries to do her friendship matchmaking undercover and unofficially, but she discovers that keeping secrets is no way to keep a friend. Reading the first book is not necessary to enjoy the second. The story has some light humor and is written in a style that should connect well with its intended audience. Instant message transcripts, texts, and handwritten notes are scattered throughout, propelling the plot and adding interest. The story has just enough conflict to make it interesting, though it tends toward the moralistic. The school bully is redeemed through Lara's influence and everything ends on a happy, though perhaps a little too pat, note. Lara is well developed through her inner monologue, and though the other characters are more lightly sketched, fans of school stories will likely enjoy this book.—Genevieve Feldman, San Francisco Public Library

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