Sequel to Discovering Pig Magic. Ariel is apprehensive about going into 8th grade. She's uncomfortable with her appearance, concerned about her father's health, and worried about her friends, Nicki and M. When M's mother has to move away from Alameda, California, M stays with Ariel's family. In the way that so many friendships in middle school hit the rocks, M and Ariel start to go their separate ways, which creates even more profound problems. In order to make sense of her world, Ariel likes to cook, and there are many of her recipes included in this book.
Strengths: Problems with friends and issues of personal identity are always hugely popular. These three friends are all likable and different.
Weaknesses: This seems very different from the first book in the series, which was younger and had more of a fantasy element about it, even though it was primarily a problem novel. I'm going to take a look at the first book again to see if I'm remembering it incorrectly, but I may order The Crepe Maker's Bond without the first book.
Had an odd moment with this book-- I read almost exclusively middle grade and young adult books, but I found myself thinking "Oh, get over yourself. It doesn't matter what you wear. And stop worrying about what you look like. No one is looking at you. They are all too worried about what THEY look like." So you bet I will give this book immediately to my own personal rising 8th grader, who has voiced similar concerns.