Breathe and Count Back from Ten

Clarion. May 2022. 352p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780358536864.
Gr 9 Up–A disability should never be a stigma or a barrier and in this book, main character Verónica refuses to let hers stop her from achieving her dreams. The Peruvian American teen has hip dysplasia, for which she has had multiple surgeries and does rehabilitation. One of her types of rehab is swimming. Her dream is to become a mermaid at a Central Florida theme park the summer before her senior year, but her parents do not agree with this. However, Verónica refuses to give up her wishes, as she faces her fears of disappointing her strict Latinx family and possibly rejection from her dream job at Mermaid Cove. Readers will relate with Verónica’s struggles as a teen and root for her, especially when she battles a crush on a cute guy who her parents would never let her be with, and finds the strength to determine her own path. As the book twists and turns, drama further ensues when she realizes her parents might be hiding something from her about her disability.
VERDICT Teens will be unable to put down this book filled with drama, hope, and family conflict, including great Latinx representation.

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