I suggest having a snack on hand to eat while you read this book, because it will leave you starving. Seriously. There are recipes included in between chapter breaks that sounded delicious, and I ended up having to skip most of them because they were making me hungry. A lot of the recipes have cute names, though, like “Shaky Ground Wonton”, named so because Ariel was making wontons when an earthquake hits in the beginning of the book. Those were actually probably one of the best parts of the book, although there’s a lot of other notable things. Going back to the earthquake bit, I have to say that Crabtree’s descriptions of being in an earthquake and the silence afterwards were amazing. It honestly did feel like you were right there with the characters as it happened. It was, as Ariel notes, pretty good foreshadowing to what would happen later. The characters are extremely well done in that they sound like authentic middle graders, and act like middle graders as well. They’re sometimes bratty, sometimes get irritated for no good reason, sometimes they don’t necessarily think things through, but otherwise they’re okay. I think the best out of the trio was Ariel, which makes sense as it is her book. I never really warmed up to Nicki or Mattie, but I did like the friendship between the three girls and how Ariel was willing to do anything to keep it. Which it what it comes down to in the book, really: The theme of friendship and growing up and learning to say goodbye to someone you love, even if it’s not for forever. Ariel’s main concern in offering to let Mattie live with her was, of course, the fact that Mattie would feel out of place in a new middle school for the last year, but really deep down Ariel didn’t want to lose her closest friend. So, in order to keep Mattie close for a little while longer, she asks Mattie to live with her without really thinking about how such a thing will effect her life, as middle schoolers are wont to do. It is a realistic thing for a middle schooler to do, less realistic for the parents to go along with it, but that’s where the suspension of belief comes in anyway. The pacing was off at times, especially as it’s a small book, and it took almost a hundred pages of build up to even get to the point of Ariel asking Mattie to live with her. In the beginning it seemed like Crabtree was just trying to fill up some page space so the main plot didn’t happen right away, with a frankly disposable subplot about Ariel’s father that added nothing to the story. It was just there to bulk up the story a bit, but it definitely felt out of place. The whole drama surrounding Nicki’s secret was also pretty heavy handed, with Ariel mentioning it every single time she sees Nicki, even when it’s clear that Nicki would rather not talk about it at all. It was obvious build up to the rushed conclusion of that subplot, with Nicki revealing everything, and the reveal itself was obviously a build up for another book. Sometimes the writing was stilted and sometimes the main characters didn’t exactly sound middle school, but those times were few and far between. The Crepe Makers’ Bond is one of those books you read on a slow afternoon when you just want to turn your brain off. It’s entertaining and it definitely calls for some suspension of belief, but the themes of friendship and what you would do to keep that friendship is a nice message to send. The book definitely won’t be for everyone but middle graders and young girls I’m sure will enjoy it.