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Merci Suárez Changes Gears
Merci Suárez Changes Gears | Meg Medina
19 posts | 12 read | 6 to read
Thoughtful, strong-willed sixth-grader Merci Suarez navigates difficult changes with friends, family, and everyone in between in a resonant new novel from Meg Medina. 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.
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RebL
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Merci feels as though she‘s on her own at school and at home, but ultimately learns that she has support in both places. Even more importantly, she learns that she has what it takes to navigate all the challenges life offers. https://wowlit.org/blog/2019/03/01/wow-recommends-merci-suarez-changes-gears/ #MiddleGrade

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BucklingBookshelves
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🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

What a great ending to a great book, deserving of all the honors it has received. I‘m so glad this book exists, especially for all the kids who have a loved one suffering from Alzheimer‘s Disease. ❤️❤️❤️

Thanks for buddy reading with me @smilingshelves ! Looking forward to reading the 2019 honor books with you later this year! 📚📚📚

smilingshelves I loved the ending, too! Perfect realizations, perfect writing. This one definitely deserved the Newbery! 3mo
smilingshelves Should we make a loose schedule for the honor books, just to make sure they happen? Buddy reads are so much fun. Like maybe, one in June and one in September or something? (Those months were picked completely randomly, so feel free to pick something else!) 3mo
BucklingBookshelves @smilingshelves Good idea! Those months sound good to me. (I did try to see if either book had any seasonal elements, but nothing was jumping out at me — so no reason not to just space them out a few months apart 😊) 3mo
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BucklingBookshelves @smilingshelves I was just looking at the line-up of authors (so far) for the children‘s book festival near me and the author of The Night Diary will be there this year! You are one of few people who will understand my excitement about this! I will have to replace my ARC with a signed copy when I go! 🎉📚🎉 https://hudsonchildrensbookfestival.com/authors-illustrators/ (edited) 3mo
smilingshelves That festival looks amazing! I'm so jealous! And it looks like it's in May? Should we read The Night Diary in April, so you've read it before you go? Or would you rather wait and read your signed copy? ☺️ 3mo
BucklingBookshelves @smilingshelves I‘d love to move it to April if you don‘t mind! I always feel super awkward and don‘t know what to say meeting an author, but reading the book beforehand seems like a good way to not sound like a complete idiot! (I say that like I meet authors all the time, which I don‘t, but I went to this same festival last year for the first time and was kinda starstruck — I mean Kwame Alexander, Jason Reynolds, & Jane Yolen were there! 🤩) 3mo
smilingshelves April it is! Those are some seriously big names! That's so awesome that you have this festival so close to you! 3mo
BucklingBookshelves @smilingshelves awesome! I have to say it was so cool to see how excited the kids were. And I really love how the organization that runs the festival fundraises so every kid in the school gets a free (signed!) book. Its not in our district (about a half hour away) but anyone can go — my son was really too little even for the storytimes they had, but I can see this being a yearly tradition for me and then also the kiddos when they are older. 📚📚📚 (edited) 3mo
smilingshelves Oh, my goodness, I love that free book thing! What a great way to inspire a love of reading in kids! 3mo
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smilingshelves
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"How can somebody popular have so many people glad to see her crash?... Popular is even weirder. Turns out, it's not the same thing as having friends at all."

The beginning of your sixth grade year is a really good time to learn this, Merci! All of this middle school drama has had me squirming. Suffice it to say that middle school was not my favorite time of life! It's really accurately portrayed in this book, though! @BucklingBookshelves

BucklingBookshelves I totally agree! And I totally put a book dart on that quote — wise words from Merci right there. Popularity is such a double-edged sword and it‘s definitely not all it‘s cracked up to be. I was way too introverted to be popular, but I know it is so easy to look at the popular kids and think how great they must have everything. How easy life must must be for them, especially in middle school! But so much of that is just on the surface. 3mo
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BucklingBookshelves
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😭😭😭

smilingshelves Yes! I almost posted this earlier! This was the first time I cried in this book, but I have a feeling it won't be the last! 3mo
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smilingshelves
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Why don't they tell her anything?? I know they're probably trying to protect her and keep her from worrying. But she's in sixth grade! That's not such a little kid anymore. She could understand what's happening. It must be so frustrating for Merci! @BucklingBookshelves #buddyread

BucklingBookshelves I don‘t get it either! Definitely frustrating for her because she obviously can tell something is going on, just no one wants to talk about it. It‘s not like with a tiny kid that would just be oblivious. Not to mention how scared she must be because she is so close with Lolo and he‘s not acting like himself. These things are never easy, but I hope her family tells her the truth soon 🙁 (edited) 3mo
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brandymuses
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February Favorites

Total Read: 12

#literarylove

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BucklingBookshelves
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🙄

Can I get a 🤣 from all the parents of littles?

#buddyread

BucklingBookshelves @smilingshelves How are you doing on the book Julie? I have about 100 pages left and I *think* I can finish it this weekend. 3mo
smilingshelves I'm on page 215 right now, but I think finishing it this weekend is feasible. Especially if I read during naptime tomorrow instead of doing something more productive. 😄 3mo
BucklingBookshelves @smilingshelves we shall do our best then! 100 pages seems doable but you just never know with little kids around 🤣 3mo
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BucklingBookshelves
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All my photos for this #buddyread are basically the same! 🤣📚🤣 Playing catch-up while big brother is at nursery school this morning. Up to chapter 12 (pg. 140), and @smilingshelves is right, this book is totally going to break my heart and make me cry, I can feel it coming...

smilingshelves Yay! And seriously, holding a baby is the best possible way to read. 😊 I haven't been reading any so that you could catch up. I'm surprised at how much I've missed these characters in just a couple of days! 4mo
BucklingBookshelves @smilingshelves it really is! And thank you! The last couple days were a little crazy, but big brother just left for a last minute sleepover at grandma & grandpa‘s instead of driving over tomorrow in the snow (they live 5 minutes away & watch him 1 day a week). So I‘m now planning to do all the reading LOL I‘m totally hooked on this one now I‘ve got my momentum back and time to read something other than audiobooks. Taking advantage! And sleeping! 4mo
smilingshelves All the sleep! All the reading! All the baby snuggles! Sounds like the perfect night! 😀 4mo
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BucklingBookshelves
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I found this brief passage so unexpectedly touching. There‘s something about holding hands like that that just gets me. Two of my grandparents passed away when I was in 5th grade, but two decades later I was sitting in church one day and suddenly felt my eyes well up. I had looked up to see a little kid walking past holding her grandfather‘s hand and it all came flooding back. It‘s funny how the littlest thing can remind you of someone.

smilingshelves That is absolutely true! You can never tell what will bring the memories rushing back. Both of my grandfathers passed away before I was born. I always missed having that sort of relationship with someone. 4mo
smilingshelves I love the relationship Merci has with her grandpa, but I can't help feeling an impending sense of doom... Sometimes it's hard to relax and enjoy books that you know are most likely going to make you cry! 4mo
BucklingBookshelves @smilingshelves I do love a book that can make me cry —though that might be admittedly even more easy to do lately, crazy hormones! I was so lucky to have have all of my grandparents alive as long as I did. And I have one grandma still with us — I try not to take any of that for granted ❤️❤️❤️ 4mo
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BucklingBookshelves
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Playing catch-up on my #buddyread with @smilingshelves ! I suddenly was alone in the house with just the baby and I can‘t tell you how quickly I ran for my book! 📖 📚

I still haven‘t read very far, but I‘m loving these characters and this family so much. ❤️❤️❤️

smilingshelves You have the snuggliest reading sessions! My daughter is only 8 months old, and I already miss those days! 4mo
BucklingBookshelves @smilingshelves I‘m really trying to soak them in — I feel like time is going so fast already and she only was 1 month old yesterday! 4mo
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smilingshelves
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Here's a connection I didn't expect! My daughter is going through something similar. Her eyes cross in, not out, and she just got glasses to fix it, not a patch. But I will definitely be reading this book with her someday! #buddyread
@BucklingBookshelves

BucklingBookshelves Oh my goodness! I can‘t believe how similar of a connection we have — my daughter hasn‘t been able to open one of her eyes all the way since she was born. It‘s improved to about halfway but that‘s still problematic for developing her vision, so we‘ve had all sorts of eye appointments (and a couple nervewracking days involving an X-ray to rule out a more serious, scary cause than just an underdeveloped eyelid muscle — thank God, that was clear!) (edited) 4mo
BucklingBookshelves ... They said she might need a patch on her good eye to try to strengthen the weak eye, but we are just waiting for our next appointments. And possibly surgery 😬 but we aren‘t quite sure about that yet. I‘m glad to hear your daughter could be helped with glasses! 4mo
smilingshelves @BucklingBookshelves That is crazy that we have this in common! Your daughter is so young to be going through all of this! We just started treating this at 7 months old because she hadn't outgrown the eyes crossing, which should have been gone by 6 months. She's only had the glasses for a week. She's going to wear them for 3 months to see if they help enough. Otherwise, surgery is a possibility for us, too. We'll have to keep each other updated!🙏 4mo
BucklingBookshelves @smilingshelves I hope the glasses are all she needs and neither of our babies need surgery! 🙏 Mine has her next appointments mid-March so we should know more by then. Surgeon definitely wants to wait as long as we can even if she does need the surgery — the bigger and stronger they are the better, for sure! 4mo
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Coffeedaily
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Pickpick

Merci is my new bff. You fall in love with her multigenerational extended family. Characters are relatable & varied. Realistic children‘s fiction for 4th grade & up tackles Alzheimer‘s, true friendship, bullying, as well as personal trials & triumphs. Very satisfyingly believable story. Many people read many, many children‘s fiction/nonfiction published in 2018 and this rose to the top for 2019 Newbery award. I see why.

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BucklingBookshelves
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Starting a #buddyread of this year‘s Newbery Medal winner with @smilingshelves today! I‘m only one chapter in, so I only have two observations so far:

1. I love how strongly Merci‘s voice is coming through from page one — I often struggle when a book starts off without a clear sense of voice for the main character, so I love when an author nails it right from the start. 🙌🏻

2. My other (tiny) reading buddy is very snuggly 😍🥰❤️

smilingshelves Now that's the way to do a buddy read! Even the little part I can see of her is adorable! I've gotten 8 pages in so far, and I totally agree about Merci's voice. This is going to be a good read! 4mo
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Coffeedaily
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A worrywart grandmother always has advice: “Nada de Coco-chews,” Abuela calls after them. “That‘s not food! Your teeth will rot and a dentist will have to pull them all out! You‘ll have to eat soup your whole life!” p. 135

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Coffeedaily
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The 2019 Newbery winner needs a cover image for Merci Suarez changes gears. Congratulations to Meg Medina! Does anyone know how to update?

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BucklingBookshelves
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My book arrived early @smilingshelves ! I‘m pretty sure it was in the mailbox since Saturday 😬🙊🤷🏼‍♀️ But at least now it‘s been retrieved, I‘m ready for our #buddyread Friday! 📚📚📚#lifewithanewborn

smilingshelves Yay! Hey, it's winter. Who wants to go out and check the mail everyday? I don't! 😄 I'm looking forward to Friday! And I love your hashtag. How is life with a newborn going?? 4mo
BucklingBookshelves @smilingshelves I definitely don‘t either as evidenced by the fact that BOOK MAIL didn‘t even get me out there promptly 🤣📚🤣 Life with a newborn is going pretty well! It‘s definitely the preschooler who is more of a challenge 😬🤷🏼‍♀️ — though I feel bad saying that! Enjoying the snuggles while I can — especially with book in hand! We will both be ready to pick up our #buddyread later today, I‘m sure. 😊📚 4mo
smilingshelves @BucklingBookshelves I know what you mean! Meeting the baby's needs is so much simpler! 😄 Soak up every minute of those snuggles. I'm learning all over again how quickly the time goes! I'm hoping for some overlapping nap time so I can get some reading in this afternoon, but that doesn't happen often. Otherwise I'll start after they're both in bed tonight and hope I can keep my eyes open! 😂 4mo
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smilingshelves
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@BucklingBookshelves My library hold came in! Have you gotten your copy yet? When do we want to start? 😀

BucklingBookshelves Mine is supposed to arrive this coming Tuesday — how long is your library loan for? We definitely could start soon! 4mo
BucklingBookshelves Oh! And I had won an ARC on Goodreads of The Night Diary and couldn‘t resist ordering The Book of Boy when I saw it on Book Outlet! So I‘m game for all the 2019 titles sometime this year if you are — we could maybe spread them out a bit. 📚😊📚 4mo
smilingshelves @BucklingBookshelves Yes, it would be so much fun to do all of them! I'll try to get a hold of the other ones. Spreading them out is a good idea. ☺️ My library loan is for a month, so we have a little time. Maybe start next Friday? Surely we should have some reading time over the weekend, right? 😄 4mo
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Spanish_Broom
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Still in the middle of it, but loving the deep character development, and sense of family, class, what we owe to each other.

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MGarciaWrites
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Pickpick

This is my first Meg Medina book and now I understand why people love her. Well crafted and full of heart! Will make sure to pick up more of Medina‘s work in the future.