Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Book - 2018
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Merci Suárez begins the sixth grade and knows things will change, but she did not count on her grandfather acting strangely, not fitting in at her private school, and dealing with Edna Santos' jealousy.
Publisher: Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, 2018
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9780763690496
Characteristics: 355 pages ; 21 cm
Call Number: J MEDINA, M


From Library Staff

Winner of the John Newbery Medal for most outstanding contribution to children's literature.

2019 Newbery Winner

A coming-of-age story of Merci, a sixth grader at a private school in Florida. With humor, this story shows us the strength of family and how to deal with the constant changes middle school present.

From the critics

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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_lindsAy 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.

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Jan 13, 2019

This was a bit slow at the beginning, but I think it’s worth a bit of patience. I am biased, because this is set in my hometown, and so it was really fun for me personally to read mentions of them going on a field trip to the art gallery near my parents’ neighborhood or to the movies at the movie theater that I myself went to in middle school, etc. But beyond that specific personal appeal, this is just a solid story about growing up and family and friends and things changing, and I really liked it, and am glad I stuck with it after a slightly slow start.

ArapahoeMary Oct 16, 2018

Merci Suarez is having trouble fitting in at her private school. Edna Santos keeps picking on her and as a reluctant member of the Sunshine Buddies she has to help a new boy settle in to the school. She's also feeling out of control at home, where her grandfather has started acting strangely. In this engaging and real story of family and friends, Merci navigates change and challenges with determination and heart.

Aug 27, 2018

Merci is growing up and leaving elementary school behind. Her first semester in 6th grade brings joys and triumphs, but also mistakes at school and troubles at home. When we grow up, we begin to learn more of the bad things about the world around us. We also have to learn to get along with others in our classrooms and in our homes despite circumstances that make it difficult. In this book we watch Merci stumble and pick herself up time after time. She is learning to deal with the changes and difficulties we find in our daily lives and middle grade readers will learn much from reading her story.
My older brain struggled a bit with the Spanish phrases throughout (I studied German back in the day), but I would guess that most elementary kids are exposed to more Spanish than I was at their age and will sail right through.


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Jun 03, 2019

LataChandnani thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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