Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Miosotis Flores Never Forgets

Burgos, Hilda Eunice. Miosotis Flores Never Forgets
October 5th 2021 by Lee & Low
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Miosotis lives with her abuela, college professor father and older siblings, Jacinto and Amarilis, who are both academic stars. Jacinto is in high school, and Amarilis is living at college, but isn't very far away. Miosotis (whose mother died shortly after she was born) isn't as keen on school; she would rather spend time helping her neighbors Gina and Mabel with their foster dogs. She really wants a dog of her own, and her father says she can... if she can get all A's. This isn't a reality for Miosotis, and Amarilis helps her negotiate more realistic terms with her father. She needs to get TWO A's, and no C's, which will be challenging enough. When Amarilis brings home a serious boyfriend, Rich, and says that they are getting married, Miosotis is sad that her sister won't be able to spend as much time with her. She not only enjoys hanging out with her sister,  but often gets help on her schoolwork from her. When Amarilis stops coming home, and often avoids her calls, Miosotis expects that something is up, but doesn't know quite what. Her sister's friend, Callie, also has concerns. Mabel and Gina have a dog that is very skittish, but Miosotis bonds with Freckles and hopes to adopt him. She spends a lot of time researching how to help abused dogs, and even thinks about doing her science project on the topic. When things go badly wrong with Amarilis, their father decides that it is not the time for the family to get a dog, especially after it turns out that Abuela is very allergic to Freckles. Will Miosotis be able to keep up with her school work in order to get a dog, and will she be able to help her sister as well?
Strengths: Some middle grade readers are really enthralled by the idea of weddings, and would enjoy hearing about Amarilis' planning. The desire for a dog is definitely strong in middle school, and many readers are right where Miosotis is at in their attempts to be allowed to adopt a pet. I liked the fact that the grandmother lived with the family, and her cultural prejudices toward different complexions and types of hair are handled fairly well. My favorite part was Gina and Mabel's different rescues that they are fostering-- that's my plan for retirement! The father is solidly supportive, and eventually comes around to understand his youngest child a bit more. It was interesting to see how the family handled anniversaries concerning the mother, and how Miosotis really didn't miss the mother she had never met. This moved quickly, progressed in an easy to understand way, and had a bit of suspense to it that kept me turning the pages. 
Weaknesses: I wish that this had a little bit of an older feel to it (cover, Miosotis' age), because I think my 8th grader readers would enjoy it. Might take some hand selling. 
What I really think: This was the best book I have read in quite some time; it is solidly appealing to middle grade readers who like books about dogs, struggling in school, and (oddly enough, I know) abusive boyfriends. There are a lot of kinds of sadness that are hard to sell to my students, but the abusive boyfriends are always intriguing. This was very much like Cleary's Sister of the Bride, if Rosemary's fiance beat her and Barbara had managed to stop thinking about herself long enough to save her sister! 

 Ms. Yingling

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