Lara's life is almost perfect, especially now she has a best friend of her own, Tanya. She's given up her matchmaking ways and has promised not to interfere in other kids' lives again.
But it's hard to resist the urge to meddle when there are so many unhappy children at school. The Friendship Matchmaker Goes Undercover is a funny and pitch-perfect snapshot of schoolyard affairs.
This is the second book - in what I imagine will be a series - about Lara, a ten year old girl, who has taken it upon herself to try and organise everyone's friendships at her school.
I haven't read the first book but that doesn't affect the readability of this book.
Lara is a little irritating to say the least but this is a good read for the intended age group of 8 years plus.
This book is based in a school in Australia and covers the issues of asylum seekers, immigration, bullying, friendships, and fitting in. I think this book covers the issues well and although Lara's character is a bit irritating I think the message that meddling isn't always a good thing to do is clearer because of it. I like the way issues around asylum seekers was focussed on and the strong message about valuing and working on yourself and your own friendships.
I would definitely recommend this for your eight year old plus girl reader and think that it is worth reading yourself and then using this as a discussion point. The issues discussed in this book are pertinent in most schools and are worth spending time discussing. Scholastic also have provided Teachers notes for this which are worth looking at also to aid in your discussion. www.scholastic.com.au
I am not sure this book will appeal as much to boy readers as it is written from Lara's perspective.
At $21 this is a bit steep as it is a straight black and white print book devoid of illustrations. I would recommend checking out Scholastic specials and buying it on special.
I have just finished reading this book today. The Friendship Matchmaker Goes Undercover is probably aimed at 8 - 10 year olds. Its quite a lengthy book, but I managed to read it over the course of a few hours.
The writing is excellent. I felt interested in the storyline right from the first paragraph. I kept reading because I wanted to know what would happen with the various characters. I also found it easy to follow.
The characters are built up well over the course of the book. Although this is a sequel, I haven't read the first book. I found this book could be enjoyed without the first book though.
I found myself a little annoyed with the main character at some of her choices. I'm not sure if the parent in me was judging her or if I would have been annoyed with her when I was 10 as well. But I'm a goody-two-shoes by nature.
There is some stuff about civil war, refugees and international situations. It is a heavy topic but it is dealt with in a way that is sensitive. It could be a good way to open up conversations about wars and why they happen. The price seems steep for a book that is such a quick read. But it is well written.
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