Merci Suárez Can't Dance

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Merci Suárez Can't Dance
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
9+
Release Date
April 06, 2021
ISBN
978-0763690502
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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.

Editor review

1 review
Finding Oneself
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
‘Merci Suarez Can’t Dance’ by Meg Medina follows main character Merci Suárez through seventh grade. She has a lot to live up to, from her brother Roli's influence on her academic career, to holding her own against Edna Santos, the girl who is in charge of the annual Heart Ball. In very typical middle school fashion, Merci realizes that it's difficult to find people to talk to about her problems—and problems she has, both good and not-so-good, from the way she grows to like Wilson Bellevue, the boy with whom she manages the school store, to family issues, including her ailing grandfather.

Coming into one's own is hard enough without so many obstacles. Merci is certainly not the only seventh grade girl to deal with drama and frustration, and she won't be the last. As if school isn't enough for her to worry about, she also grows concerned when her Tia Inez gets a new boyfriend. Merci worries that her aunt won't be around anymore.

The focus on diversity, growth, and early teenager ups and downs is great for readers, no matter their age. Medina hits on topics that come together to show that everyone is capable of finding themselves and the niche that fits them best if they just take the time to discover what matters to them. Life isn't easy at any age, and this is most definitely true in middle school when hormones and puberty are running rampant.
Good Points
The focus on diversity, growth, and early teenager ups and downs is great for readers, no matter their age. Medina hits on topics that come together to show that everyone is capable of finding themselves and the niche that fits them best if they just take the time to discover what matters to them.
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