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The Friendship Matchmaker

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Overview

Lara Zany is known throughout the school yard as the Friendship Matchmaker—kids call on her expertise and follow her hard-and-fast rules to find best friendships. Lara’s documented everything from friendship categories (the BOBF, or Bus Only Best Friend; the TL, or Total Loner; the LBC, or Loner By Choice) to strategies (BJF, or the Bungee Jump Friend; FTFP, or Field Trip Faux Pas). But when new kid in school Emily Wong questions Lara’s methods, the two decide to compete by each finding a TL a best friend. But ...

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The Friendship Matchmaker

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Overview

Lara Zany is known throughout the school yard as the Friendship Matchmaker—kids call on her expertise and follow her hard-and-fast rules to find best friendships. Lara’s documented everything from friendship categories (the BOBF, or Bus Only Best Friend; the TL, or Total Loner; the LBC, or Loner By Choice) to strategies (BJF, or the Bungee Jump Friend; FTFP, or Field Trip Faux Pas). But when new kid in school Emily Wong questions Lara’s methods, the two decide to compete by each finding a TL a best friend. But Lara, an LBC, doesn’t bank on finding her own best friendship in the most unlikely of places. . . .

In the tradition of Clueless, this reimagining of Jane Austen’s Emma for middle school readers is a funny and heartwarming story of celebrating individuality and finding acceptance.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Seventh-grader Lara Zany is the self-proclaimed "official Friendship Match­maker" 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. Unfor­tunately, Lara is so busy coaching her ?"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 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 ?denouement. Ages 8–12. (July)
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
What exactly is a friendship matchmaker? Lara Zany is too busy to make friends of her own; she is the friendship matchmaker at her school, the go-to girl who helps loners and shy kids meet and make best friends. Lara keeps a notebook with friendship details, and she is very proud of her intuitive abilities as a matchmaker. Sometimes she hits home runs, and other times Lara misses entirely. When Emily, a new girl, arrives at school, Lara looks forward to having another person to mentor. Emily believes it is better to be yourself than to blend in, and she breaks all Lara's rules immediately. Lara begins to wonder if she is a great friendship matchmaker after all. Emily and Lara go into competition to see who can "set up" friendships more effectively. In this humorous and poignant story, Lara realizes that everyone needs a best friend, including herself. By the end of the novel, Lara realizes that Tanya is no longer a client of the friendship matchmaking service; Tanya has become Lara's best friend in the world. Young readers will enjoy Randa Abdel-Fattah's moving and uplifting narrative about the trials and tribulations of middle school. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Seventh-grader Lara Zany is a LBC, or Loner by Choice, due to the demands of her duties as the Friendship Matchmaker of Potts County Middle School. Ever since fifth grade, she has worked hard to ensure that everyone has at least one compatible friend and avoids the deadly trio or the TL, Total Loner, designation. She keeps rather meticulous, viciously honest notes in her Friendship Matchmaker Manual, which she hopes will someday be a best-selling publication. The first-person narrative alternates with pages from the manual, which includes a glossary, various and sundry rules, and case notes. Just as readers start to wonder how and why this control freak has so much influence, a new girl, Emily Wong, arrives. She proves mysteriously resistant to Lara's efforts to make sure she fits in and finds a friend ASAP. The plot moves swiftly and is anything but predictable. Tween readers will recognize many of the befuddling social predicaments that Lara attempts to remedy. However, her comeuppance results in an ending that is a bit too tidy.—Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Seventh-grader Lara Zany's reign as the self-appointed "Potts County Middle School official Friendship Matchmaker" is in peril. Lara tackles her mission to aid the lonely with determination. Attempting to decipher the social nuances of middle school life, Lara busily compiles the "Friendship Matchmaker Manual," a guide to help the friendless discover their perfect BFFs. However, readers soon realize that Lara the matchmaker mysteriously remains without close friends. When new student Emily defies the status quo by questioning Lara's rigid rules of behavior, a friendship-matchmaking challenge ensues. As Emily and Lara endeavor to find BFFs for two friendless students, the reasons for Lara's adamant rules--and her reluctance to have a BFF--are slowly revealed. Despite her aloof demeanor and exhaustive rules, Lara remains an amiable, sympathetic character. Her vulnerability and inherent kindness shine through, as when she defiantly defends students against the school bully. While the tale's conclusion arrives rather abruptly, its encouraging message will appeal to readers. Abdel-Fattah demonstrates a savvy understanding of the middle school experience in this keenly observed tale. (Fiction. 10-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802728326
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 7/17/2012
  • Series: The Friendship Matchmaker Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,247,900
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 690L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 12.60 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

RANDA ABDEL-FATTAH is the author of the YA novels Does My Head Look Big in This?, Ten Things I Hate About Me, and Where the Streets Had a Name. Her books are published around the world and she regularly gives talks and workshops at schools and writers' festivals. Randa lives in Sydney, Australia, where she works as a litigation lawyer and is also a human rights activist. www.randaabdelfattah.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 18, 2012

    i think that it is so good that i want more!!!!!

    i think that it is so good that i want more!!!!!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2012

    Please read

    Ok...it might be $$$, but it sounds like a good book!

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2014

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    Posted October 1, 2013

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