Review posted September 1, 2022.
Candlewick Press, September 2022. 346 pages.
Review written July 23, 2022, from an Advance Reader Copy I got at ALA Annual Conference, signed to me by the author.
2022 Sonderbooks Stand-out:
#2 General Children's Fiction
This is the third book about Merci Suárez, in a trilogy that began with the book my committee chose to win the 2019 Newbery Medal, so it has a special place in my heart. But even though it didn't seem possible, Merci grows on me even more with each volume.
And yes, I think you should read all three books in order, growing with Merci from sixth grade to eighth grade. She's growing in her perspectives, but she still has issues with friends and family to face.
Now starting eighth grade, she's got an in with one of the cool girls because of being on the soccer team together. And her schedule has more classes with her than with her older friends. But can she navigate that without hurt feelings? And how does she feel about it?
Then at home, her Lolo's Alzheimer's is getting worse, which is hard on everyone. And the twins are as incorrigible as ever.
None of this sounds funny and interesting and engaging when I give it in summary, but it's all of that. It's a solid book about an eighth grade girl growing up and navigating relationships with family and friends, and all packed with humor and heart. If you've read the others, you'll be eager to spend more time with Merci. If you haven't, good news: You can read the entire trilogy without waiting to find out what happens next!