Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Book - 2018
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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.
Published: Somerville, Massachusetts :, Candlewick Press,, 2018.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780763690496
Branch Call Number: J MED
Characteristics: 355 pages ;,21 cm


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ArapahoeMarcia May 14, 2020

I enjoyed reading about Merci as she navigates her way into 6th grade. She deals with classmates and teachers while navigating issues with her extended family. She wrestles with issues of friendship, honesty, popularity, and individuality. Beautifully written and highly recommended.

IndyPL_SarahL Apr 26, 2020

This book is wonderful! Meg Medina is an absolute treasure and she created quite a lovable and relatable protagonist once again. Merci, our main character, is coming to terms with puberty, middle school and the illogical nature of love and friendship while struggling to understand her grandfather's Alzheimer's diagnosis. Heartwarming, wholesome, and funny, middle graders will really enjoy this one!

hooraystorytime Aug 22, 2019

I loved this book. I love Merci and how splunky she is. I love her close-knit family, her grandfather whom she loves and is kindred spirit with. They both have a gentle sensibility and are dreamers. When she feels low after school, he understands how he feels. Her grandmother, who is pragmatic, helps her sew her Halloween costumes. Her mother and father are busy surviving. They live together with her cousins and aunt. They quarrel but they love each other and take care of each other. The story is so endearing and so real to me. They remind me of my own family--which is Asian American.

Jun 30, 2019

I rated this book 8 out of 10 because the book was good but I didn't entirely enjoy it. The car crash seems weird to me.

Jun 03, 2019

It was a very good book, almost addictive. A lot of comments say it was slow at the beginning, and that is kind of true, but it just got better and better. The only annoying thing was that there was no Spanish glossary in the back. Since I don't really speak Spanish, I kept having to go to google translate. The houses, Las Casitas, sounded very cozy, and the whole family sounded so nice, and all the friendships were very sweet. The sad parts were very few, which was good. It was overall very entertaining.

vpl_childrens May 15, 2019

(gr.4-7) Merci attends a private school on scholarship and lives with her immediate and extended family in a trio of houses that they like to call Las Casitas. Overall, things are pretty good, but life's complications begin to add up when the school's mean girl sets her sights on Merci and Merci's abuelo, Lolo, begins to exhibit strange behaviours. In turns humorous and touching, this coming of age story will resonate with readers. Newbery Award, 2019. Starred reviews: BL, HB, JL, K, PW, SLJ, GR (4.4*)

IndyPL_AmyF Apr 30, 2019

This is a book I will recommend when young readers ask for a book about "real kids." Plucky , endearing Merci Suarez navigates challenges at school and at home that many pre-teens might encounter. Meg Medina makes the story of Merci and her family completely engaging without any over-the-top drama, a refreshing change of gears indeed!

VaughanPLKim Apr 25, 2019

Merci Suárez is a sixth-grader whose life is full of changes. She has different teachers at school, new responsibilities as a Sunshine Buddies volunteer, and her friendships with the kids in her class suddenly got a lot more complicated. But the most worrisome change of all is her Lolo (grandfather), who suddenly starts acting strangely and forgetting people's names. This is a touching story not just of growing up, but also of coming to terms with a loved one's illness, in this case Alzheimer's disease. I loved the portrayal of Merci's family. They don't always get along but the love they have for one another is very real. Merci's struggles at school, including dealing with a mean girl, will also resonate with young readers.

PLYMC_Jack_Simons Mar 01, 2019

Have to say I was disappointed. It was slow and lacked something. I can't put my finger on it, but it needed something.

IndyPL_SteveB Feb 18, 2019

11-year-old Merci is part of a close Hispanic family living in Florida. She and her parents were born in the U.S. and her grandparents (she calls them Abuela and Lolo) were born in Cuba. Merci is just starting 6th grade at prestigious private academy, but she feels intimidated because her father is a house painter and her mother runs a bakery. She is even more intimidated by her leader-of-the pack insulting classmate, Edna.

Home is a different matter. Her extended family lives in a group of four small houses they bought together. Everyone helps each other out, although Merci is upset that she is forced to babysit her twin-terror nephews. Her happy home life starts to have cracks in it when she begins noticing that Lolo is forgetting things, losing his balance, and getting lost on the way home. As adults, we know right away what this is, and Merci’s family knows, too; but they have avoided telling her. It’s a well-written book, with the kind of deeper issues that fit with a Newbery Award. It would be a fine read-aloud for a class setting, as long as the reader is comfortable with some Spanish phrases, most of which can be easily understood in context. There is some humor and a lot of classroom action, as the 6th grade class members sort out the new “pecking order” that comes with pre-puberty and with switching classrooms and teachers every period. It does have a bit of a slow start, but stick with it.

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Jun 03, 2019

LataChandnani thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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cmlibrary_jcurrie Oct 22, 2019

Merci is beginning sixth grade at a private school where she doesn’t really fit in with the other kids. She and her brother attend the school on scholarships and don’t have as much money as some of the other families. Merci lives with her extended family in three small homes that are built beside each other. Her grandfather and grandmother live in one of the homes and her grandfather has been acting different lately. Merci already feels the pressure of being one of the poor kids at school and now she suspects something is wrong with her grandfather. Follow Merci as she learns to navigate her new school and her changing family.


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