Reviews for Emma Emmets : Playground Matchmaker

Booklist Reviews 2013 September #1
Opening with Emma Emmet's first day of fourth grade, DeVillers' latest middle-grade novel delves into elementary-school attention getting (and romance). Emma found herself embarrassed in earlier grades and wants to make a new, improved impression. Before the first class has even begun, she has found a way to gain popularity (matching up kids with each other) and given herself a new nickname ("EmMatchmaker"). Some storytellers might teach their heroine humility about getting involved in other people's relationships, but DeVillers seems charmed by Emma's chutzpah--though, through the first-person narration, readers can track the doubts and second-guessing behind her boldness. DeVillers also makes gentle fun of Emma's obsession with pop-star Jake LaDrake, who shows up late in the novel and reveals himself to be unworthy of her devotion. By the end, Emma has made it clear to herself and others that her playground matchmaking was about promoting whatever "made people happier. Slowmances! Friendships! Whatever!" A worthy goal. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Fourth grader Emma begins a matchmaking service at school, figuring her popularity will skyrocket thanks to a playground wedding and interest from the most popular girl in class. Given the characters' ages, the romance aspect is awkward--something Emma eventually realizes--and the dialogue is forced and conscientiously trendy. Compatibility quizzes are sprinkled throughout the text.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 May #1
Emma has a gift for matchmaking and is determined to use it. Fourth-graders Emma and Claire are in different classes for the first time, and things promise to be interesting. When cool girl Annie enthusiastically credits Emma with finding her a boyfriend at summer camp, Emma is thrust into the role of matchmaker for the whole grade. Between the snarky comments of California transplant Daniel and the outright meanness of queen bee Isla, Emma struggles to find her way and build her new business. Emma hopes her new fame will allow her to be popular with her peers and leave behind some of the unfortunate nicknames of her earlier years. She commandeers the best playground spot and begins putting together romantic matches between the kids in her grade, inspired by the quizzes she reads in teen magazines and her own crush on teen heartthrob Jake LaDrake. Mercifully, the matches that Emma makes are, in the end, more platonic than romantic. Unfortunately, readers must put up with an overlong trip to get to the end. The journey is filled with uncomfortable crushes, one awkward playground marriage, dated language ("adorbs" and "obvi") and too many references to cellphone usage. Emma's quest for popularity makes her an unlikable fourth grader. Romance + fourth grade = ugh. (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 May #2

Emma Emmets hopes to make a name for herself in fourth grade, and on the first day of school, she discovers a talent she didn't know she had: matchmaking. When she paired up two friends to be leapfrog partners at day camp over the summer, she unknowingly created a perfect couple, Annie and Henry, who sing Emma's praises. Though that first match was a fluke, Emma quickly decides to launch EmMatchmaking from atop the new school jungle gym. After giving it some thought and creating a few quizzes, Emma discovers she does indeed have a flair for making matches "that... made people happier. Slowmances! Friendships! Whatever!" Though challenges arise, such as finding a match for her rival Isla and run-ins with new student Daniel, Emma comes out on top. With lively characters, a realistic portrayal of school life, and a main character with sharp observations and a natural effervescence, DeVillers's (the Liberty Porter First Daughter series) story should be a winning match for readers just starting to think about crushes, boyfriends, and dates. Ages 7-12. Agent: Mel Berger, William Morris Endeavor. (June)

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