Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel

324p. Little, Brown. 2013. Tr $17. ISBN 9780316209960. LC 2012029856.
Gr 6–8—Can a mood ring determine what you are really feeling? Erica Montenegro not only believes it can, but she also relies on it to help express her emotions. She thinks about boys, fights with her little sister, and hangs out with her friends. All that changes, however, when her mother comes home with nine bikinis, one for each day before her mastectomy. Suddenly, Chia's whole world is thrown off-kilter. As she tries to cope and understand her mother's situation, the family takes a trip to a special church to offer a promesa, a promise to God, in exchange for her mother's health. What promise is big enough to save her mother's life? And what if she can't fulfill it while she tries to juggle school and the extra demands of her family? Chia's voice shines with the insecurities and struggles of middle-school students. López takes a family with a Hispanic heritage and makes them accessible by keeping them steeped in authenticity. The characters' beliefs drive the story, but are never overwhelming. Family and friends are also diverse and genuine, even the frustrating ones. The relationships are easily believed, and the cancer scare is plausible and relatable to many students today. A fast-moving, absorbing read about how one person's illness can affect the whole family in many different ways.—Mariela Siegert, Westfield Middle School, Bloomingdale, IL
As if middle school weren't hard enough, thirteen-year-old Erica's mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. "Chia" is too busy worrying about her mom to have fun with her friends, who don't really understand her predicament anyway. Then Chia makes a promesa to God to help sponsor a fundraiser; the goal brings together all the facets of her life in a humorous, touching way.

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