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February Review

Merci Suarez Changes Gears

by Meg Medina

 Review by: Betsy

I recently read Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina, which is this years' Newbery Award Winner. Merci is a fun, forthright, delight of a main character, with a love of soccer, longing for a new bicycle, and frustration with the social minefield that is being a sixth grade girl. When she's chosen as new student Michael's Sunshine Buddy, her former friend Edna goes ballistic, alternately scathing that Merci is spending time with a BOY and green with envy. Meanwhile, her new Sunshine Buddy is instantly more popular than Merci has ever been, and doesn't seem to need any school-sponsored fake friends. Even worse, when Merci's beloved grandpa is diagnosed with Alzheimers, she is forced to give up soccer to take over his role as babysitter to her not so well-behaved little cousins. The characters in this book seemed so real. Merci is sometimes kind and mature, other times resentful and selfish; and Micheal is interesting, fun, and popular while at the same time completely obnoxious. Even Edna, horrible as she is, shows glimmers of the better person she'll eventually become.


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