“THE FRIENDSHIP EXPERIMENT,” by Erin Teagan, HMH Books for Young Readers, Nov. 1, 2016, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 10 and up)
Maddie is a future scientist. Just like her dad and grandfather before her, Maddie is curious about the world around her. Everything she sees is a potential science experiment and every action deserves equal consideration. That’s why she follows her grandfather’s example and writes out SOPs (standard operating procedures) whenever facing something new.
Nothing has seemed right since Maddie’s grandfather died. Her parents are getting ready to sell his house, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt go past it everyday on her way to middle school. And then there’s middle school itself. Maddie thought she’d always have her best friend beside her, but when her bff transfers to a private school, Maddie finds herself alone.
Despite not being very interested in her friend prospects, Maddie slowly finds acceptance. But when her new friends discover what she’s written in her private lab notebook, Maddie learns SOPs aren’t all she thought they were cracked up to be.
The first thing that attracted me to “The Friendship Experiment” was its cover. The beakers with different characters immediately piqued my interest. I’m happy to report that the cover isn’t just clever but perfectly inline with Erin Teagan’s story. And while Maddie wants to be a scientist, her experiences aren’t just limited to those interests.
Maddie’s experiences are universal, and her friends and family members are as varied as you could hope. Those charters’ quirks are interesting, and while some play to the typical stereotypes, others defy them, giving the book a diverse and fresh feel.
Author Erin Teagan has a relaxed and inviting writing style. Maddie’s voice is clear and accessible. “The Friendship Experiment” is a fine choice for young readers looking for something outside the realm of series.
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