SMART COOKIE, by Elly Swartz, Scholastic Press, Jan. 30, 2018, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 8-12)
Frankie’s life is all about her dad and their B&B. Frankie’s even in charge of helping the B&B’s guests feel welcome by baking welcome cookies every day.
There’s really only one thing Frankie wants — a “complete” family. Ever since her mom dies, Frankie’s felt like something was missing. The only thing that can fill that void, she thinks, is to find her dad a new wife. The best way to accomplish that — create an online dating profile for him and screen potential suitors before presenting them to him.
Finding a new wife/mother turns out to be a lot more difficult than Frankie imagined. The women who respond to Dad’s profile are not what Frankie was expecting, and none of them really have “mom power.”
On top of that, the B&B’s guests keep canceling, Frankie’s former best friend is avoiding her, and there may be a ghost haunting the B&B. Add to that the secrets that both Dad and Gram are definitely keeping, and Frankie’s definitely on edge. It’s going to take all Frankie’s skills and some help from her ghost-hunting friend to save the B&B and make her family complete again.
Smart Cookie is one of those “unlikely but plausible” books that you love to read as a middle-grader. There’s hope and sweetness mixed with a bit of mystery that make for a pretty tasty recipe.
Frankie is clever and thinks big. Her friend Elliot’s a bit more grounded, except when it comes to all-things supernatural. The duo’s personalities are perfectly matched. And the side stories with former friend Jess and Gram help ground Frankie and her overall arc.
Smart Cookie is a fast read, and — with the exception of perhaps a little too tidy an ending — smart read that will make readers both shake their heads and laugh at the same time.
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