Iveliz Explains It All

Listening Library. Sept. 2022. 323p. $56. ISBN 9780593611920.
Gr 6-10–“I’ve moved on from everything/ that happened,” Iveliz insists. “I don’t need anyone’s help but my own.” The seventh grader regularly pens verses in her journal to record her “true inner thoughts./ And if you can’t trust a girl and her poems/ well.” She’s taking her meds, her beloved Puerto Rican grandmother is moving in, a new friendship looms. Despite her declared self-reliance, she’s missing her father, avoiding her mother, her grandmother’s Alzheimer’s proves unpredictable, and facing racism and bullying at school. Mellifluously bilingual Merediz effortlessly enhances Arango’s Newbery Honor–winning debut, notably punctuated with untranslated Spanish stanzas. Merediz’s impressive emotive range—from denial to aching to regret to glimmering hope—ensures attentive engagement to the satisfyingly concluding, “how lucky I am/ to finally be seen/ by people who understand.”
VERDICT Share with anxious tweens and teens facing loss to show they’re not alone.

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