Author: Wallace, Matt
There is only one thing MJ loves: the world of professional wrestling. She especially idolizes the luchadores and the stories they tell in the ring. When MJ learns that her neighbor, Mr. Arellano, runs a wrestling school, she has a new mission in life: join the school, train hard, and become a wrestler. But trouble lies ahead. After wrestling in a showcase event, MJ attracts the attention of Mr. Arellano's enemy. There are threats to shut the school down, putting everything at risk.
|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 511760
Kirkus Reviews (11/15/20)
School Library Journal (00/11/20)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 11/01/2020 Gr 3–7—A "bump" is the act of a wrestler hitting the mat. While this can appear painful to the audience, 12 year- old MJ knows what can really hurt. She has felt a whole lot of hurt this past year with grief, mean girls, and moving homes. The only thing MJ loves is professional wrestling and when she finds out her new neighbor is a former luchador and runs a wrestling school, she feels a sense of hope returning to her life. While she practices her new wrestling abilities, her pain begins to fade with the introduction of friendships and courage. Just as she is finding her place, an unknown enemy threatens to take down the school and her courage must be tested. MJ's character will resonate with readers as she learns to be proud of herself, navigate her grief, and build new relationships. While parts of the story lack fluidity, the climax of the plot keeps readers on the edge of their seats, cheering on this young heroine. VERDICT A unique middle grade story celebrating family, culture, and, of course, lucha libre wrestling. Hand this title to fans of Victoria Jamieson's Roller Girl or Jason Reynolds's Ghost.—Julie Jesernik, Warrenville P.L., IL - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 01/01/2021 Before his untimely death, MJ’s papi instilled in her a love of professional wrestling. At 12, she struggles to cope with his passing, her mother’s overburdened schedule, and a bully on the gymnastics team—until she learns that her neighbor, a retired luchador, runs a school for aspiring wrestlers. After convincing him and her mother to let her train, she finds peace and belonging in the grueling art form and its community. And when a bitter bureaucrat attempts to have the school shut down, she must find the confidence to stand up for her newfound family—and herself. In his middle-grade debut, Wallace draws upon his own pro-wrestling experience to give a backstage glimpse of all the work, athleticism, and creativity that goes into the oft-misunderstood art form. The characters and events are rendered with all the beautifully unambiguous melodrama of a wrestling angle: loathsome bad guys, dramatic promos, and undeniably exciting action. Young fans will cherish gaining a deeper understanding of “sports entertainment”—and of the Mexican-wrestling tradition of lucha libre—and newcomers, too, will find in MJ a baby face worth cheering for. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.