In Meg Medina’s follow-up to her Newbery Medal–winning novel, Merci takes on seventh grade, with all its travails of friendship, family, love—and finding your rhythm. Seventh grade is going to be a real trial for Merci Suárez. For science she’s got no-nonsense Mr. Ellis, who expects her to be a smart as her brother, Roli. She’s been assigned to co-manage the tiny school store with Wilson Bellevue, a boy she barely knows, but whom she might actually like. And she’s tangling again with classmate Edna Santos, who is bossier and more obnoxious than ever now that she is in charge of the annual Heart Ball. One thing is for sure, though: Merci Suárez can’t dance—not at the Heart Ball or anywhere else. Dancing makes her almost as queasy as love does, especially now that Tía Inés, her merengue-teaching aunt, has a new man in her life. Unfortunately, Merci can’t seem to avoid love or dance for very long. She used to talk about everything with her grandfather, Lolo, but with his Alzheimer’s getting worse each day, whom can she trust to help her make sense of all the new things happening in her life? The Suárez family is back in a touching, funny story about growing up and discovering love’s many forms, including how we learn to love and believe in ourselves.
Newbery Medalist Medina artfully chronicles another year of highs and lows in the life of Cuban American middle schooler Merci Su rez via this winning sequel to Merci Su rez Changes Gears. Now a seventh grader, 12-year-old Merci has taken on more responsibilities at home and at school, including caring for her beloved grandfather, Lolo, as his Alzheimer's advances, and managing the school store with her classmate, "human calculator" Wilson Bellevue, a quiet Cajun and Creole boy who wears a foot brace. But when Miss McDaniels drafts the entrepreneurial Merci to sell tickets for the Heart Ball and cooperate with her former nemesis, Edna Santos Merci must learn to step outside her comfort zone and onto the dance floor. Medina continues to build on the stellar character work of the first book, balancing laugh-out-loud one-liners ("Buy a Heart Ball ticket if you have absolutely nothing better to do in this sad life") with vulnerability ("People... vanish, sometimes a little at a time. One day Lolo won't know how to move his legs. One day soon, he won't be able to dance"). This is a sequel of the finest quality, perfectly capturing the feelings of awkward first crushes ("Did he say I look nice? Or did he say I look like a rodent? I can't decide") and evolving friendships. Ages 9 12.)\n