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Merci Suárez Changes Gears

By Meg Medina
Publisher: Candlewick Press Copyright Year: 2018 ISBN/ISSN: 9780763690496

Review

Sixth grader Merci Suárez lives in the "Suárez Compound," three houses that her family, her grandparents, and her aunt's family live in, while attending a private school in Florida. Merci's family cannot afford to send her brother (a genius according to Merci) to the private school, so their father paints at the school while the kids do community service to compensate for the costs. Middle school is tough for anyone, but Merci has to deal with a class bully along with helping out the family. Her grandfather has not been himself lately, and although Merci knows that something is wrong, no one will tell her what is happening. This causes her to have to take on more responsibilities, like babysitting her terrible twin cousins, which keeps her from trying out for the soccer team. This book introduces the reader to a close knit, wonderful family who are proud of their heritage and culture and who want to make a difference in the world. Merci is a relatable character who has her faults but who tries to navigate middle school and stay true to herself and her family. This novel is well-written and contains characters and situations that are complex and realistic. The family's culture plays a large role in the text. This novel would be a wonderful addition to any library.

Reviewer: Chris Dexter
Rating: Recommended
Grade (as stated by Reviewer/SLC): 3-8
Review Date: October 1, 2018

Product Description

Merci Suarez knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. For starters, Merci has never been like the other kids at her private school in Florida, because she and her older brother, Roli, are scholarship students. They don't have a big house or a fancy boat, and they have to do extra community service to make up for their free tuition. So when bossy Edna Santos sets her sights on the new boy who happens to be Merci's school-assigned Sunshine Buddy, Merci becomes the target of Edna's jealousy. Things aren't going well at home, either: Merci's grandfather and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately — forgetting important things, falling from his bike, and getting angry over nothing. No one in her family will tell Merci what's going on, so she's left to her own worries, while also feeling all on her own at school. In a coming-of-age tale full of humor and wisdom, award-winning author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school — and the steadfast connection that defines family.

Media Type Book, eBook
Binding HC
# Pages 368
Price 16.99
Grade (as stated by Reviewer/SLC) 3-8
Genre Fiction
Sub-Genre Chapter Books
Content Subject 1 Friends, Peers, Family & Growing Up
Content Subject 2 Culture & Diversity
Time Period 21st century
Region North America
Story: Character Centered
Characters/Characterization: Familiar/Realistic/Lifelike
Language: Engaging
Tone/Mood Hopeful
Pace: Leisurely/Relaxed/Unhurried
Setting: Immersive
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Entry ID: 2173937