Merci SuŠrez Changes Gears

Meg Medina

Candlewick Press

September 2018

$24.99 AU

362p hc

ISBN: 978-0763690496

from the Penguin Random House...

Thoughtful, strong-willed sixth-grader Merci Suarez navigates difficult changes with friends, family, and everyone in between in a resonant new novel from Meg Medina.

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 donít 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 Merciís school-assigned Sunshine Buddy, Merci becomes the target of Ednaís jealousy. Things arenít going well at home, either: Merciís grandfather and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately ó forgetting important things, falling from his bike, and getting angry over nothing. No one in her family will tell Merci whatís going on, so sheís 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 ó and the steadfast connection that defines family.

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Merci Suarez Changes Gears is a wonderful book written by Pura Belpre award-winning author Meg Medina. It won the 2019 Newbery award. This book portrays a story about a sixth grader girl called Merci, who lives with her extended family in three small houses.  Merciís mother named the houses Las Casitas. Merci goes to a private school called Seaward Pines Academy.

Merci is a scholarship student who faces lots of challenges. Firstly, she gets bullied by her classmates especially by Edna Santos. Merci also has a problem with her left eye for which she gets bullied about, however, her friends Lenna and Hannah are always there to help her. Secondly, she is very attached to her grandfather Lolo whose behaviour has been very strange lately. He has been forgetting peopleís names and getting angry at Merciís grandmother for no reason. Merci is very worried about Loloís abnormal behaviour as she is unable to get an answer for it.

This is a very heart touching story which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. The story has effectively covered issues of bullying and old age problems. I believe the book is for teen because it is mostly about a life of a sixth-grader girl and problems she faces. I would recommend this book to ages ten and over as it might be hard for younger readers to understand.  I really liked reading the book and rate it a 10 out of 10.

Riddhi, age 11

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