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Publisher's Summary

In Meg Medina’s follow-up to her Newbery Medal-winning novel, Merci takes on seventh grade, with all its travails of friendship, family, love - and finding your rhythm.

Seventh grade is going to be a real trial for Merci Suárez. For science she’s got no-nonsense Mr. Ellis, who expects her to be a smart as her brother, Roli. She’s been assigned to co-manage the tiny school store with Wilson Bellevue, a boy she barely knows, but whom she might actually like. And 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 Suárez can’t dance - not at the Heart Ball or anywhere else. Dancing makes her almost as queasy as love does, especially now that Tía Inés, her merengue-teaching aunt, has a new man in her life. Unfortunately, Merci can’t seem to avoid love or dance for very long. She used to talk about everything with her grandfather, Lolo, but with his Alzheimer’s getting worse each day, whom can she trust to help her make sense of all the new things happening in her life? The Suárez family is back in a touching, funny story about growing up and discovering love’s many forms, including how we learn to love and believe in ourselves.

©2021 by Margaret Medina, original book published by Candlewick Press. (P)2021 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“…Frankie Corzo manages to deliver a believable portrayal of a working-class Latina middle schooler who feels out of place in her predominantly wealthy, white private school. Corzo's remarkable range takes listeners on an emotional roller coaster ride as Merci Suárez navigates her first crush while challenging racist bullies, grappling with economic inequality, and confronting significant changes in family dynamics, specifically her brother's departure for college, her beloved aunt's new relationship, and her grandpa's battle with Alzheimer's. Don't miss this!” (AudioFile Magazine)

“Narrator Frankie Corzo returns to narrate the sequel to Meg Medina’s 2018 Newbery Medal-winning novel, Merci Suárez Changes Gears.... With an even pace and light tone, Corzo makes Merci’s struggles with friendships, responsibility, school, crushes, and jealousy easily relatable to all listeners. While Merci has a neutral American accent, Corzo seamlessly transitions between English and Spanish words, perfectly delineating the Spanish accents of Merci’s family and creating a realistic portrayal of a young Cuban American’s life.” (Booklist)

“Merci returns for another year of challenges and triumphs at home and at Seaward Pines Academy...Merci’s maturity and growth are as engaging and compelling as they were in the author’s Newbery Medal winner, Merci Suárez Changes Gears (2018). The cast is broadly diverse; Merci and her family are Cuban American, Edna is Dominican, and Creole and Cajun Wilson has a physical disability. An uplifting sequel told with heart and humor.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

What listeners say about Merci Suárez Can't Dance

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