Amy McDougall, Master Matchmaker by Gary Pedler

Amy McDougall, Master Matchmaker by Gary Pedler
Publisher: Regal House/Fitzroy Books
Genre: Middle Grade (8 – 12 y.o.), Contemporary, LGBTQ
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Thirteen-year-old Amy McDougall is worried about Travis, the single gay guy who adopted her when she was a kid. He wants a boyfriend, yet isn’t having any luck finding one himself. Amy decides the solution is for someone else to do the finding. Someone like her! Amy’s first attempts at matchmaking are embarrassing flops, despite advice from her hyper-smart best friend Grace. Soon Amy makes not only a match for Dad, but for other people she knows. Now no one can deny that she’s Amy McDougall, Master Matchmaker. Still, she finds there’s a price to pay for her meddling when all three matches cause problems she hadn’t foreseen. Amy McDougall, Master Matchmaker is a fun and engaging tale that takes a fresh look at important subjects like love and friendship.

How complicated can finding a boyfriend for one’s single gay dad possibly be?
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Amy was a likeable girl whose character development felt realistic to me. I enjoyed getting to know every side of her personality from her unbridled creativity to her tendency to meddle in other people’s lives over and over again. This particular flaw of hers played an important role in how the plot unfolded, especially in the beginning when she wasn’t aware of all of the issues that can be caused by someone trying to control what other folks do. It was amusing to see how she reacted to her loved ones not always responding the way she wanted them to when she quietly interfered with their love lives.

I would have liked to see a tad more attention paid to the downside of Amy’s attempts to play matchmaker. The humorous parts of her experiment popped up everywhere, and I giggled my way through them. With that being said, I did think the negative consequences of her trying to set people up together weren’t explored quite as fully as they could have been. This was especially true when it came to the dates she picked out for her dad. I adored this tale in general, and I would have given it a perfect five-star rating if she’d faced a few more logical consequences for her actions.

Travis and Amy became a family thanks to an transracial older child adoption. He was a single, white, gay man, and she was a school-aged biracial foster child. I’ll leave the specific details of how they became a family for other readers to discover for themselves, but I appreciated the fact that this book acknowledged the difficult parts of her past while still having such a hopeful and upbeat approach to the beautiful life they’d built together. There was so much love in the McDougall household that I can’t help but to hope for a sequel about them someday.

Anyone who has ever wished they could set their friends and family up with perfect love interests might really like Amy McDougall, Master Matchmaker.