The friendship match maker goes under cover by Randa Abdel-Fattah

cover image

Scholastic, 2012. ISBN 978 1 86281 948 8.
(Ages: 9+) Highly recommended. Humour.
The second in this entertaining series has Lara giving up her matchmaking skills to spend time with her new best friend, Tanya. But looking around the schoolyard, shows her that her skills are still required, and when a new boy, Majur joins the class, she has to do something, but secretly. Emily has asked to join Lara and Tanya to do a presentation for class, and with the problem of Chris bullying Majur, Lara finds that she must spend time away from the library where the girls are doing their work, and go into the schoolyard and particularly the sports area.
When Emily and Tanya begin to suspect she is not pulling her weight with the class work, a problem occurs. How can Lara retain her new best friend, keep up with her school work, but also help those who require her considerable talents. Saddled with Chris taking her behind the canteen, his favourite bullying spot, Lara is in a quandary, even more so when he asks her to find him a friend.
Full of wit, and told with a light touch, this story is funny and serious, alighting on the problems of classroom control, schoolyard friendships, bullying and how home life impacts upon the classroom. I loved the library described as a refugee camp, waiting for those needing protection from the likes of Chris, and was dismayed at the bullying he receives from his father, pointing to the fact that bullies are often bullied at home.
Again the writing flows smoothly, each incident adding another layer to the well drawn characters, leading to finding a friend for Chris. Lara is a most appealing character, her foibles cleverly being part of her charm. She is so self assured and confident in her own skills of people management that she cannot see things which the reader can see, right in front of her eyes. The subtle humour will be obvious to the book's readers, who will take delight in Lara's attempts at going undercover.
Fran Knight