Reviews for Friendship Matchmaker Goes Undercover

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
Lara (The Friendship Matchmaker) has hung up her matchmaking hat, but she keeps seeing people she can help. The arrival of a Sudanese refugee student shakes up the middle-school social scene in unexpected ways, and Lara is forced out of retirement. But will her sneaking around ruin her new best-friendship with Tanya? Though occasionally heavy-handed, Abdel-Fattah's tackling of prejudice and cultural difference is admirable.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 June #2
Seventh-grader Lara discovers just how difficult it can be to change established habits. As the former FMM--or friendship matchmaker--of her middle school, Lara was accustomed to managing the social lives of her peers. Now she has vowed to refrain from matchmaking, but Lara still feels compelled to intervene. When a new student's arrival alters the social balance, Lara clandestinely resumes her role as FMM in order to fulfill an unusual request: seek out a potential friend for Chris, a student known for his malicious, bullying behavior. Abdel-Fattah adeptly addresses the social concerns of early adolescents in this perceptive tale. As Lara attempts to find a match for Chris, the circumstances that influence his negative actions are subtly revealed. When Lara cleverly pairs Chris with Antony, an enthusiastic yet unskilled athlete, the opportunity to be a mentor has a profound effect on Chris and his behavior. In addition to arranging the relationships of others, Lara must also resolve her own friendship insecurities. Amid these familiar friendship concerns, Abdel-Fattah also addresses other complex issues, most notably with the new student's arrival. Through Majur's experiences as a refugee adjusting to life in a new country, she examines the effects of war on children and their families. Although she struggles in her efforts to resolve her managing ways, Lara's genuine kindness and compassion remain evident in this poignant sequel. (Fiction. 10-13) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 July

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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