Tween Tuesday

The Friendship Experiment by Erin Teagan


   Aspiring scientist Madeline Little is dreading sixth grade.  Mix together no Grandpa with no best friend, then add lunch with misfits and humiliating health Friendship Experimentsituation – Maddie is sure this is a formula for middle school disaster.

   At least she can rely on what she learned from Grandpa: how to write perfect standard operating procedures.  Only her SOPs can help her navigate this treacherous new territory.  Step by step, it’s all in her lab notebook: how to escape a discussion with her mother, how to find a new best friend, hoe to avoid the school weirdos.  Fortunately, Maddie’s notebook is top secret.

   But are her deductions giving her the right answers? This future scientific genius just might have to experiment with kindness, compromise, and new definition of friendship before middle school starts to make sense


This is a very sweet friendship story for the middle grades.  There isn’t a whole lot of tween angst or drama so it did feel very realistic.  Maddie sounded authentic and it was enjoyable to see things through her point of view.  She also had very supportive, although at times, over protective parents.  No divorce or absent parents either which was kind of a nice change from the last few tween books I’ve read. 

Maddie is anxious about starting middle school with out her best friend.  She struggles with making new one because she is a little bit quirky, but in a nice way.  She is alway writing these Standard Operating Procedures, or SOP’s for everything as a way to cope. Maddie wants to be a scientist just like her father and grandfather, but I’m not sure that is her true calling.  Writing the SOPs helps her to cope, but it is what ends up causing a lot of the friendship problems in the end. 

The added issue of Von Willebrand Disease, adds an interesting layer to the story.  It’s a hereditary disease that doesn’t allow your blood to clot.  So nose bleeds, cuts and bruises can be life threatening to both Maddie and her sister.  It is handled nicely in the book, with just the right touch of drama to the story and how hard life can be for people with this disability.

Overall a very nice middle great read about friendship and the strength of family. 

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