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)