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Parents' Guide to

Merci Suárez Plays It Cool

By Joly Herman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Fitting in, family play large in touching final Merci book.

Merci Suárez Plays It Cool

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Moments of true poetry pepper the pages of the final book of the Merci Suárez trilogy. In Merci Suárez Plays It Cool, Merci is immersed in the Cuban American experience befitting a girl her age. Readers are treated to the feel of tight plastic loafers from Sears and the tragic taste of Abuela's arroz con pollo as it cools into a paste on the patio table. Merci's holding tight to the things that run through her veins, while exploring the new, exciting opportunities that are rolling out in front of her. The big issues of aging, illness, independence, identity, and community are beautifully addressed in this story.

Though there are some characters who don't feel fully developed (girls in her friend group feel interchangeable), and a subplot about her cousin's deadbeat dad feels supplemental, the tender, very human moments that hit home, truly hit the mark. Overall, this book serves to complete a series that tells the enriching story about a lovable girl and her family who are making their way through small triumphs and big challenges.

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