FICTION

Never Fear, Meena’s Here!

S. & S. (Meena Zee). Mar. 2020. 208p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781534428201.
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Gr 2-5–After saving a first grader from being run over and finding an amazing rainbow ring, third grader Meena becomes convinced that she and the ring both have superpowers. Now all she needs to do is find a way to prove it. And she needs to figure out why her best friend Sofía wants to be friends with so many other people, and why her little sister is always hanging around, and why her cousin Eli cares so much about seeing his uncaring older brother. Oh, and if she could make everyone stop treating her like she’s contagious because she had a convulsive seizure in the lunchroom one day, well, that would be good too. After an escalating series of experiments, mishaps, and near-disasters, Meena finally comes to some important realizations about what makes a hero of any kind. Meena is brash, funny, creative, more than a little impulsive, and sometimes truly obnoxious. Sofía is pretty darned saintly, but she has good reason for behaving the way she does. Little sister Rosie turns out to be stronger than anyone gives her credit for. Aside from these central figures, most everyone else is background. Realistic descriptions of a family learning to live with a new normal ring true and don’t overwhelm the narrative of a girl discovering that maybe she’s not the center of the universe, and that’s okay.
VERDICT Fans of Meena’s first outing (Meena Meets Her Match, S. & S., 2019) and of realistic fiction that handles serious topics with sweet humor will enjoy this installment.

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