Elfie Unperfect

Knopf. Aug. 2021. 256p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593175828.
Gr 3-7–Elfie strives for excellence. But for a girl with no friends, fifth grade is chock-full of challenges. First, Elfie is expelled from her dream school. Second, Elfie’s babysitter and confidant becomes ill. And finally, Elfie’s aunt and uncle’s impending divorce and her return to the dreaded Cottonwood Elementary bring Elfie face-to-face with Jenna, her nemesis cousin. So how does a smart girl sans chums survive? In this well-plotted, realistic read, Mahoney shows readers that when presented the impossible, people can change for the best. Expertly honing in on the social skills that grow with friendship, Mahoney gently reminds tweens that others’ perspectives, expectations, and intentions often differ from their own—and that other’s intentions can be good.
VERDICT A sure pick for booksmart readers who might need a boost making friends, and an excellent candidate for illustrating social-emotional learning skills.

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