Parents' Guide to

Dear Sweet Pea

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Thoughtful tale tackles middle grade, divorce, body image.

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Kids say (3 ):

Author Julie Murphy creates a believable main character with relatable problems, but this middle-grade debut suffers from a few plot holes, bland supporting characters, and overall lack of sparkle. Readers in the target age range will root for and empathize with Dear Sweet Pea as she negotiates big changes in her life, and they'll enjoy navigating the complexities of family and friendships along with her. Sweet Pea's voice is authentic but not very distinctive, and unfortunately the same can be said for a lot of the rest of the book, too: The setting, the other characters, some of the events all ring true but aren't especially unique.

That being said, there are a lot of positive messages to absorb about body image, self-esteem, sexual orientation, integrity, and honest communication. None of the characters are defined by any one aspect of their lives, bodies, or backgrounds, so it's a refreshing reminder that people are more than just one thing, especially more than just what they look like. It will also reassure younger readers that big changes can be scary, but those changes can be faced and overcome with support from family and friends.

Book Details

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