- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Series: Emma Emmets
- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Razorbill; Csm edition (June 27, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 159514661X
- ISBN-13: 978-1595146618
- Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#1,839,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #1948 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Social Skills
- #7648 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > School
- #16249 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Friendship
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Emma Emmets, Playground Matchmaker Hardcover – June 27, 2013
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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. Grades 3-6. --Abby Nolan
About the Author
Julia DeVillers is the bestselling author of several novels, including Liberty Porter, Trading Faces, and How My Private, Personal Journal Became a Bestseller, which was adapted into the Disney Channel original movie Read It and Weep. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children. Check out her website at www.juliadevillers.com.
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Though the blurb doesn't mention this, probably because kids wouldn't much care, I am one hundred percent convinced that Emma Emmets, Playground Matchmaker is a retelling of Jane Austen's Emma. How awesome is that? SUPER AWESOME. Basically, Emma inadvertently matchmakes Annie and Henry at summer camp, and, when Annie credits her skills, Emma decides this could be just what she needs to make something of herself. Em has been pretty unpopular, because of the horrifyingly EMbarrassing nicknames Isla, the most popular girl in their grade, had given her. Now, she plans to tout her matchmaking skills to make people happy (and to boost her own place in elementary school society).
Like Emma Woodhouse, Emma Emmets has mostly good intentions, but doesn't necessarily have a great grasp on the whole matchmaking thing, because she's not all that familiar with romance and gets a little too caught up in herself. Still, she's pretty successful at matchmaking on the whole. All the boyfriends and girlfriends in fourth grade did creep me out a little bit (there weren't many couples until middle school in my day - most of us still thought the opposite gender was kinda gross), but I like that DeVillers put an emphasis on matchmaking friendships too, not just romantic relationships. The overall message really was about helping kids find kindred spirits, and it really shook up the school's cliques and brought people together.
Emma has a little romance of her own going, that also follows a sort of Jane Austen line. The new boy, Daniel Dunne, makes fun of Emma on the very first day. Since he's rude to her, she decides she hates him too and considers him an enemy. Obviously they're not, and they have a cute little flirtation going, though I love that it's kept very simple and not overly emotion-y.
The writing didn't do too much for me though. DeVillers writes in third person, but it really reads like first person. I am just not a fan of when third person narration is full of exclamation points and ellipses. I prefer my narration a bit more staid and for the thoughts of the MC to be delineated separately. I'm sure this won't bother the intended audience, but it was an annoyance for me.
Emma Emmets, Playground Matchmaker is a funny, sweet story about the trials and tribulations of elementary school friendships and relationships. Though not an ideal read for older readers, the Jane Austen connections were enough to keep me happy!
This is an accelerated reader (AR) book - reading level 3.7 - AR Pts: 6.0