Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Med Medina

Growing up is full of complicated changes and Merci Suárez is learning how complicated life can get. Dealing with changing friendships, harder classes, and a changing family life is proving to be overwhelming. Merci is starting sixth grade at Seaward Pines Academy, a private school that she attends on a scholarship. Merci isn't showing up to school in a fancy SUV, she's showing up in her father's work van he uses for his painting business. Instead of expensive vacations at the beach, Merci spends her weekends working alongside her dad or babysitting her cousins. Also, no fancy houses for the Suárez family-they live in a group of three pink houses where are all family members come and go, regardless of who lives where. All of this is starting to make Merci frustrated about the things she doesn't have but when her grandfather's dementia becomes worse, Merci learns that her tight-knit family has everything they really need.

A wonderful story that shows the pressures children feel in school to be successful and how that pressure is amplified when you're constantly trying to prove that you belong. The author did an excellent job of depicting real childhood friendships and how popularity affects everyone. The Suárez family felt so real-the way they worked together, ate together, shared childcare, and how events in the story really impacted them. It was all written with such heart and feeling. Meg Medina created a thoroughly enjoyable read that I can't wait to add to the shelf.

Thank you to Netgalley and Candlewick Press for the opportunity to read and review this delightful book. 

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