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Merci Suarez Changes Gears: Book summary and reviews of Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Merci Suarez Changes Gears

by Meg Medina

Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina X
Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2018
    368 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Thoughtful, strong-willed sixth-grader Merci Suárez navigates difficult changes with friends, family, and everyone in between in a resonant new novel from Meg Medina.

Merci Suárez 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.

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Book Awards

  • award image The John Newbery Medal, 2019

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Caught between the world of family and peers, the comfort of Las Casitas and the enticing new call of independence, Merci Suárez is a delightful heroine who, despite real challenges, never wavers in her strong sense of self or her fierce love for la familia. Readers will appreciate watching her navigate how to hold on to what matters when it feels like everything is changing." - The New York Times Book Review

"Starred Review. Medina's breathtaking coming-of-age story features a strong, deeply honest protagonist whose insights will make readers laugh, as well as dynamic secondary characters that reveal glimmers of profound depth. Medina capably gets to the heart of middle school experiences in this engrossing story of a kid growing into herself. A must read." - Booklist

"Starred Review. Medina writes about the joys of multigenerational home life (a staple of the Latinx community) with a touching, humorous authenticity. Merci's relationship with Lolo is heartbreakingly beautiful and will particularly strike readers who can relate to the close, chaotic, and complicated bonds of live-in grandparents. Medina delivers another stellar and deeply moving story." - Kirkus Reviews

"Starred Review. The realistic portrayal of a complex young Latina's life is one many readers will relate to as she discovers that change can be hard, but it's the ride that matters. Pura Belpré–winning author Medina cruises into readers' hearts with this luminous middle grade novel. A winning addition to any library's shelves." - School Library Journal

"Starred Review. Medina (Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, rev. 3/13; Burn Baby Burn, rev. 3/16) consistently and assuredly portrays Latinx girls and women who grapple with their insecurities while learning about themselves and their worlds, and middle-grade heroine Merci is a fine example. Accurate and natural use of Spanish words and sayings that fit each character's tone builds authenticity. Medina writes with sincerity and humor to convey the experience of growing up in a close-knit family that tends to mingle too much in each other's business while unfailingly and dedicatedly supporting and helping one another." - The Horn Book

In this warmly told story, Medina (Burn Baby Burn) introduces 11-year-old Merci, descendent of Cuban immigrants, who attends a Florida private school on scholarship with her whip-smart older brother...Medina keeps the tone light as Merci's take-charge personality helps her to succeed in this coming-of-age tale about family and the perils of sixth grade.
- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Merci is a relatable character who has her faults but who tries to navigate middle school and stay true to herself and her family. This novel is well-written and contains characters and situations that are complex and realistic. The family's culture plays a large role in the text. This novel would be a wonderful addition to any library." - School Library Connection

"Fans of school and family dramas will enjoy the usual negotiations and a few fresh twists (Merci ends up friends with Michael but another girl becomes his girlfriend), and they'll ponder the message that life can be not fair and still worth it." - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Award-winning author Medina delivers a warm, comic tribute to the agonies and ecstasies of intergenerational families...[Merci] and her big, infuriating, lovable family are real enough that readers will wish they could live next door. Grade: A." - The Plain Dealer

"Feisty Cuban-American Merci fends of sixth-grade bullies at school while worrying about her grandpa's failing health at home. A moving coming-of-age tale." - People Magazine

"Medina, who won the Pura Belpre Author Award for young adult novel, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, offers a marvelous portrait of a loving, hard-working, Hispanic family and a vividly realistic picture of the confusion of the middle school years through the unforgettable voice of Merci Suãrez." - Buffalo News

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Author Information

Meg Medina Author Biography

Meg Medina is an award-winning Cuban American author who writes picture books, middle grade, and YA fiction.

Her most recent young adult novel, Burn Baby Burn, has earned numerous distinctions including being long listed for the 2016 National Book Award and shortlisted for the Kirkus Prize. She is the 2016 recipient of the Pura Belpré honor medal for her picture book, Mango, Abuela and Me, and the 2014 Pura Belpré Award winner for her young adult novel, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, which was also the winner of the 2013 CYBILS Fiction award and the International Latino Book Award. Meg also earned the 2012 Ezra Jack Keats New Writers medal for her picture book Tía Isa Wants a Car.

When she is not writing, Meg works on community projects that support girls, ...

... Full Biography

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