Monday, September 02, 2019

MMGM--The Fresh New Face of Griselda

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Always in the Middle and #IMWAYR day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.

Torres, Jennifer. The Fresh New Face of Griselda
August 27th 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Griselda Zaragoza (or Geez, as her sister Maribel calls her) is apprehensive about the first day of 6th grade. Her father's landscaping business failed, and as a result, the family lost their home and moved in with their grandmother. Maribel has had to put off going to college, and is selling Alma cosmetics door to door to make money. When school starts, Griselda feels a little better when long time friend and neighbor Logan is there to support her. She hasn't talked to him or her friend Sophia much because she is embarrassed about having to move, and also about being in the free lunch program. Logan has been in the program for a while, and reassures Griselda that  no one notices or cares, but she still feels self conscious about it. When popular girls find out at lunch that she has some new lip gloss that is an Alma exclusive, she sells the sample Maribel has given her to one of them, and promises to get more. There is a contest for junior sales people, and if Griselda can sell a huge amount of lip gloss, she could win enough money to at least get her father's truck repaired. Since his business failed, he's been in Los Angeles with his brothers, trying to find work, and Griselda misses him. There are school projects (like the biography wax museum, for which Griselda is assigned Lady Bird Johnson) to keep her busy, and she manages to sell a large amount of cosmetics while occasionally helping Maribel on with her home parties. When the school gets complaints that students are buying lip gloss with their lunch money, they close Griselda's business down. Will she be able to help her family go forward without this extra source of income?
Strengths: This was just what I needed! The 7th grader is me was so happy! I loved that Griselda was feeling apprehensive, but took matters into her own hands to try to make her world better! Everything from sprucing up her new plain tennis shoes with ribbon to selling that lip gloss in which she had no interest-- she doesn't complain to her family or friends, even though she is sad. She tries to change things, which is what I loved. Maribel was much the same way, and a good mentor for her younger sister. The details of running a business are great, and even though the contest is a bit hard to believe, it was definitely fun. The other part of this that I appreciated was how Griselda navigates her family's new circumstances. Being embarrassed by free lunch, trying not to ask her mom for stuff, not wanting to tell her friends what had happened-- all completely true to middle grade. Timely, addresses current social issues, AND is fun to read. Let's not forget the collection of First Lady tea cups, which I don't think actually exist in real life but that I totally want now!
Weaknesses: Is it realistic that Griselda sold so much lip gloss at school before being discovered and (realistically) banned from selling? Hmm. Considering I sold 2,500 boxes of M&Ms my senior year in high school so I could pay for an orchestra trip, maybe not.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing. A great story AND a fantastic cover. So many details about the story that were just delightful.


  1. First Lady tea cups? I'm in!

  2. This definitely sounds like a book that is perfect for you. And it does sound like a great MG novel. I hope it gets nominated for a Cybils this year.

  3. I have a cousin, long ago, who got in big trouble for selling bubble gum at school. He made quite a bit of money before discovered! This sounds good, Karen. Thanks for the review!

  4. Ah, this sounds great. Adding it to my list for the coming year. Thanks for sharing the great review, Karen!