Merci Suárez Changes Gears

 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
596 0
Merci Suárez Changes Gears
Author(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
September 11, 2018
ISBN
978-0763690496
Buy This Book
      
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 don’t 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 Merci’s school-assigned Sunshine Buddy, Merci becomes the target of Edna’s jealousy. Things aren't going well at home, either: Merci’s grandfather and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately — forgetting important things, falling from his bike, and getting angry over nothing. No one in her family will tell Merci what's going on, so she’s 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 — and the steadfast connection that defines family.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Multigenerational Family Problems
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Merci lives next door to her grandparents, Abuela and Lolo, and her aunt and younger twin cousins. Her father has a house painting company, and she and her older brother Roli go to a fancy private school on scholarship so that they have every opportunity. Merci finds it a bit difficult to deal with her well-t-o-do classmates, especially the snooty Edna, who is one reason that Merci is saving up her money for a fancy new bike. Merci has to be a Sunshine Buddy and is assigned to Michael, a new student from Minnesota, and isn't thrilled to have to show him around, especially since Edna "like likes" him and makes life difficult for Merci. Merci doesn't need help with that-- her Lolo is having trouble with his memory, and her aunt needs someone to watch the twins, so Merci is not allowed to try out for the school soccer team. There are a lot of school projects being assigned, and Merci sometimes has to work with Edna on them, with disastrous results. As her grandfather's memory worsens, her brother applies to colleges, and the family has to deal with a number of struggles, Merci needs to learn to grow up and help her family instead of being focused only on her own personal concerns.
Good Points
It's nice to see multigenerational families living near each other-- my own neighborhood has a lot of that. The grandparents are especially fun, and the Cuban culture and food vividly portrayed. Merci's struggles with classmates, projects, and assignments, as well as her changing relationship with her brother, are all very realistic. This reminds me a bit of The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z, but set in Florida. This joins the ranks of more recent novels concerning grandparents, which include Swartz's Smart Cookie, Gephart's In Your Shoes, Greenberg's The Battle of Junk Mountain and Reynold's As Brave As You.

This is a good transition by Medina, who has both picture books and young adult novels to her credit. There are a lot of topics being covered, which makes this book a bit on the long side, but her feel for middle grade emotions and reactions is on point.

Mental diminution in the elderly is a topic that young readers should have some knowledge of, since many of them will face problems with their grandparents before they are too much older. It always surprises me that families don't expect or discuss After my mother was diagnosed with Parkinsons a dozen years ago, we told the girls exactly what to expect. My mother is doing fairly well for 84, but none of us are surprised when she is confused. I guess it makes a better story the other way, since almost all books dealing with grandparents and dementia react with denial.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Astro Kittens: Cosmic Machines (Astro Kittens)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Greetings, my little Astro Kittens! Are you ready to take...
Astro Kittens: Into the Unknown (Astro Kittens)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Greetings, my little Astro Kittens! Are you ready to take...
All the Things We Do in the Dark
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Sadie meets Girl in Pieces in this dark, emotional thriller...
The Rubicus Prophecy (The Witches of Orkney, #2)
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Abigail has just started her second year at the Tarkana...
Fancy Nancy: Camp Fancy
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Based on the Disney Junior TV show and inspired by...
Rules for Vanishing
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes...
What Makes Us
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A viral video reveals a teen’s dark family history, leaving...
Harry Potter Origami
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ever wanted to fold your own Chocolate Frogs? Or play...
By Any Means Necessary
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Heart-wrenchingly honest, fans of Brandy Colbert and Nicola Yoon will...
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution...
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In 2001, audiences first met and fell in love with...
On the Come Up
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers...
Spin
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sixteen-year-old Paris Secord's (aka DJ ParSec) career--and life--has come to...
Leah on the Offbeat
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best...
The Brightsiders
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A teen rockstar has to navigate family, love, coming out,...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Could you fall in love with a robot? ...

Latest Member Reviews

Astro Kittens: Cosmic Machines (Astro Kittens)
 
5.0
"An excellent read for children who love machines and/or space, ASTRO KITTENS: INTO THE UNKNOWN takes preschoolers for an unforgettable..."
Astro Kittens: Into the Unknown (Astro Kittens)
 
4.7
"Wish you could teach your toddler about outer space and the basis for science-fiction? If so- or you just love..."
All the Things We Do in the Dark
 
4.3
"ALL THE THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK is an intensely challenging and thought-provoking read with some magical realism elements...."
The Rubicus Prophecy (The Witches of Orkney, #2)
 
3.5
"THE RUBICUS PROPHECY is an engaging second book in the WITCHES OF ORKNEY series that follows the same friends on..."
Rules for Vanishing
 
5.0
"RULES FOR VANISHING is a deliciously haunting YA horror perfect for Halloween. Told through collected documents, interviews, and texts, this..."
What Makes Us
 
5.0
"WHAT MAKES US is an intriguing story that follows a teenaged boy, his mother (in the past), and his friend..."
Serpent & Dove
 
5.0
"Lou is on the run from her family and she lives a thieving life with her friend Coco. Both of..."
Fancy Nancy: Camp Fancy
 
5.0
"When Dad tells Nancy stories about when he and Mom used to go camping, Nancy knows it's something she has..."
Harry Potter Origami
 
4.0
"Scholastic Inc brings origami and Harry Potter together in this book with fifteen foldable crafts! Each one has a different..."
By Any Means Necessary
 
3.7
"BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY is an engaging contemporary YA that presents some issues very well. The writing is in a..."
On the Come Up
 
5.0
"ON THE COME UP is a fantastic new YA contemporary that handles big issues like racism and sexism. The characters..."
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
3.3
"FIREBORNE is a new YA fantasy that follows two teens, Lee and Anna (Antigone) in alternating points-of-view. Lee and Anna..."
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel
 
4.0
"As Middle Grade graphic novel adaptations go, this urban fantasy is above par. The artwork has a bit..."
Into the Crooked Place (Into the Crooked Place, #1)
 
4.0
"INTO THE CROOKED PLACE is an engaging YA fantasy that follows five characters on a quest of aligned goals- even..."
To Kill a Kingdom
 
5.0
"TO KILL A KINGDOM is a wonderful YA fantasy about a siren and a pirate. Told in alternating points of..."
A Warm Friendship
 
4.5
"A WARM FRIENDSHIP is a story of friendship and loss, celebrating the time that you have together. Squirrel finds Snowman..."
Winter's Captive
 
5.0
"YA fantasy has always been my favorite. However, the past few months, I'd been in a slump. I struggled getting..."
The Rift
 
3.3
"THE RIFT is a unique YA fantasy that takes place on Black Water Island, a place prized for the herd..."
The Fractured Empire
 
5.0
"I don’t know where to start! The Fractured Empire by Robin D. Mahle is the first in the World Apart..."
Abraham Lincoln: The Making of America #3
 
4.5
"A highly accessible biographical overview of (arguably) the most renowned and history-altering of all the United States presidents. The book..."