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*Portia's Exclusive and Confidential Rules on True Friendship* by Anna Hays- young readers fantasy book review
Also by Anna Hays:

Portia's Ultra Mysterious Double Life
Portia's Exclusive and Confidential Rules on True Friendship
by Anna Hays
Ages 9-12 224 pages Aladdin May 2009 Paperback    

Twelve-year-old Portia Avatar loves to solve the mysteries of people and hidden truths. When she’s not at school or Trash and Treasures, Portia is trying to find her dad, help a depressed rabbit, and figure out why her friends both old and new are acting strangely.

Portia is an interesting girl and a brilliant amateur detective. She has a best friend who likes to design clothes for her and a mom who enjoys trying out new pomegranate recipes on her at mealtimes. Portia manages her busy life by using her PDA to record important information such as observations and questions about her investigations. Readers can follow Portia’s thought processes by reading not only her PDA entries but her emails as well. Portia takes not only her cases seriously but her friendships and family, too.

In this story, readers will always know the time of day and place. Times and locations appear under each chapter heading, or sometimes in the middle of the story if Portia has moved from school or home. With several breaks per chapter for Portia’s observations, questions, and notes, the chapters go by very quickly. In addition, the butterflies that surround each page number add to the summery, outdoors feeling of this story. Portia often describes the birds she sees in the neighborhood, the sounds she hears outdoors, the way the sky looks and the breeze she feels when she is walking outside.

I really enjoyed Portia’s positive outlook in this story. In school, she comes to see her punishment essays as constructive activities. At home, she never gives up hope about finding her dad. With her friends, she doesn’t get discouraged by a boy who is too nervous to ask her a question, or by two friends who persistently vie for her attention.

This story, which ends with the last of Portia’s eight friendship rules, leaves readers learning some hidden truths about Portia’s life - but not all. Anna Hays leaves us hanging in so many exciting ways!

A graduate of Oberlin College, Hays has written and produced film, television, and animation for children. Her first book about Portia Avatar is entitled Portia's Ultra Mysterious Double Life. Anna lives in California with her family.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2009 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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