When her best friend announces that she is moving to Paris, 11-year-old Olivia’s life looks bleak, but new friends, a new crush, and a new project suggest that when life seems to be unraveling, it is just time to add some new thread.
Olivia helps out in her mother’s craft store in between playing tennis, taking care of her golden retriever, and going to day camp, but even she cannot compete with Ethan Fleckman’s obsession with friendship bracelets. When Ethan starts a service club aimed at helping patients in the local hospital pass the time weaving friendship bracelets, Olivia is thrilled. But she soon finds that bringing together different personalities is hard work. Add in a monster case of poison ivy, the school mean girls, and braces, and Olivia wishes more than ever than she had her best friend by her side. Clunky dialogue, one-dimensional characters, and a meandering plot are only a few of this story’s problems. Opportunities for intrigue and growth pass without a glance, while lengthy passages where nothing significant happens are the norm. The primary characters are largely white, with diversity evidently limited to an Asian friend named Mu Mu who likes Chinese food as much as Olivia does.
Wooden and wordy. (Fiction. 8-12)