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Monday, June 08, 2020

Matchmaking Is For the Dog(s): The Love Pug by J. J. Howard

Cupid has special powers.

Not only is Emma's pampered pet pug Cupid adorable, but he seems to have a penchant for spotting potential couples and special powers in bringing them together.

It was the only explanation for what happened.

My best friend Hallie had been walking to Annie's house with me, complaining about the cool weather.

"How come you're so grumpy?" I asked her. Just then Cupid began barking excitedly at a teen-aged boy who was pulling a chair out of a moving van next to Annie's house. Cupid dashed straight for the boy, who picked him up.

Cupid started giving the boy big sloppy licks. "I'm Mateo," the boy laughed, turning to Hallie and Emma. Mateo was very tall and very cute!

Annie came out and ran to help corral Cupid, and he immediately started giving her big licks, too.

Annie looked up at Mateo. I swear the look on her face made it look like she'd just been struck by lightning.
I could almost swear Cupid winked at me!

Surely not, Emma thought. But then when Emma's favorite teacher, Ms. Bates, meets her dad, a widower for eight years, the same sort of thing happened. Now Emma wonders if all this matchmaking really is Cupid magic.

And as Ms. Bates ("Call me Amy when we're not in school") and her dad spend a lot of time together, Emma begins to believe in Cupid's magical powers, and decides to use them. And as the Valentine's Dance grows near, she decides to use Cupid to bring her friend Hallie and Mateo's younger brother Frankie together so that he will ask her to the dance. She arranges clever cute-meets, all of which don't quite come off, and in fact, leaves Emma with almost everyone mad at her.
I realized at that moment that I had been totally, completely, especially Clueless about everything!

I had to give myself a makeover. A Better Person Makeover!

Playing Cupid is for the dogs, Emma learns in J.J. Howard's The Love Pug: A Wish Novel (Scholastic Books), a doggy tale of seventh-grade romance with more twists and turns than a happy pug, giving middle-school readers a reason to laugh at romance as they hopefully learn that it's best to leave romance with its own mystery, sans magic. Still, everyone has a date for the dance in this lighthearted look of affairs of the heart. Other books in the Cupid the Pug series are Pugs and Kisses: A Wish Novel, Sit, Stay, Love: A Wish Novel, and Pugs in a Blanket: A Wish Novel.

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