Bound To Stay Bound

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 Merci Suarez can't dance (Merci Suarez)
 Author: Medina, Meg

 Publisher:  Candlewick Press (2021)

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 319 p.,  20 cm

 BTSB No: 635038 ISBN: 9780763690502
 Ages: 10-14 Grades: 5-9

 Dance -- Fiction
 Interpersonal relations -- Fiction
 Middle schools -- Fiction
 School stories
 Family life -- Fiction

Price: $22.08

Seventh grade is going to be a real trial for Merci Suarez. 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 Suarez can't dance-not at the Heart Ball or anywhere else.

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Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: MG
   Reading Level: 4.60
   Points: 11.0   Quiz: 511799

   Kirkus Reviews (+) (02/01/21)
   School Library Journal (03/01/21)
   Booklist (+) (02/15/21)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/04/21)
 The Hornbook (+) (00/05/21)

Full Text Reviews:

Booklist - 02/15/2021 *Starred Review* In this sequel to the Newbery-winning Merci Suárez Changes Gears (2018), 12-year-old Merci takes on growing responsibilities both within her family and as a seventh-grader. With her brother Roli away at college, she is now seen as the oldest child and often finds herself taking care of her younger cousins while Tía Inés is working, and Merci also struggles to come to terms with the way Alzheimer’s affects her beloved grandpa Lolo. At school, after an unexpected accident at the Hearts Ball—and after working together with friends, new and old, to promote her tía’s new dance studio—Merci and her friends come together to show Seaward Pines the beauty of other cultures, and she discovers a strength within her that, together with the love and support of friends and family, assures her everything will be OK. Filled with the familiar, laugh-out-loud humor from the first title, this sequel will quickly pull readers, both returning and new, into Merci’s world. The struggles and worries that occupy her thoughts—from seeing the changes in Lolo to losing her tía Inés and the new, uncertain feelings she might be having for a fellow classmate—will all be relatable to readers young and old. Fans of Merci will root for her as they are immersed in her vibrant world full of unique characters and heartfelt surprises. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 03/01/2021 Gr 4–7—Now in seventh grade, Merci Suárez finds that a new school year means new responsibilities and challenges. Merci has been enlisted to work in the school store alongside her classmate Wilson, who she might have a crush on, and is still at odds with classmate Edna, who is planning the Heart Ball and maybe stealing one of Merci's best friends. At home, Merci feels unprepared for the changes in her family: Her grandfather's Alzheimer's is worsening, and Tía Inez has started dating. At heart, Merci remains true to the character readers met in Merci Suárez Changes Gears and has grown alongside her readership. However, seventh grade Merci is not without her flaws. She and Edna still don't get along, and she spies on Tía Inez even when she isn't supposed to. When Merci is roped into running a photography booth at the Heart Ball and the equipment breaks, she tries to solve the problem herself instead of telling an adult. The struggles with friendships, responsibility, school, crushes, and jealousy that Merci and her friends face will strike a chord with many readers. A subplot about Tía Inez keeping dance classes alive for neighborhood kids who have nowhere to go after school serves as a subtle reminder of Merci's Cuban American heritage and the socioeconomic status of families in Merci's neighborhood versus at school. The plot moves along at a consistent and page-turning pace, and as usual Medina's characters are excellently written and developed. Medina also touches on racism and how shared cultural heritage can bring people together unexpectedly. VERDICT Fans of Merci Suárez Changes Gears will love watching how Merci and those around her grow. This sequel doesn't disappoint and is an essential purchase for all collections.—Liz Anderson, DC P.L. - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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