Thursday, June 09, 2022

The Do-Over

Torres, Julia.The Do-Over
June 7th 2022 by Scholastic Press
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

6th graders Lucinda and Raquel Mendoza are twins who usually get along, but since the pandemic hit and the two have to stay home from school, they are getting on each other's nerves. This started when their parents got divorced and their father moved to the country. Their mother works in a hair salon, and has been able to keep a little business by selling product packages to customers, but when a neighbor in their apartment building becomes ill, moving the girls in with their dad sounds like a safer option. Lucinda is angry because she figure skates, but the rink is shut down. Raquel has thrown herself into online school and also has frequent meetings with her newspaper club. When the plans start to be made to send the girls to their dad's, she comes up with a plan of her own-- to get her mother to go with them and reconnect with their father. The catch? Dad's girlfriend, Sylvia, and her daughter Juliette are living with his because of the pandemic. When Juliette becomes ill and has to be isolated in the garage apartment with her mother, will it be enough to encourage their parents to get back together?
Strengths: It's interesting to see how families coped with the pandemic, and sending the children out to the country seems like a decent strategy. Raquel's connection with her peers on the school  newspaper were interesting, and using the internet and conferencing to maintain a connection is something that we saw a lot when schools were remote. I loved that she had a daily schedule-- I would not have been able to function without my quarter sheet of Things to Do for the first ten months of lockdown. Lucinda's longing for skating was also realistic. I liked the fact that they didn't hate Sylvia as much as they just wanted their dad and mother to be together, and they were able to get along with Juliette fairly well. There should be many  more books about blended families and step siblings, since this is a reality that isn't well represented in middle grade literature. This was a quick, interesting read about a specific period of time not that long ago. I would argue that this is historical fiction, since it took place in mid 2020. 
Weaknesses: Aside from delivering groceries to neighbors and my dad, I didn't really see anyone during the pandemic, and I only got to talk to my neighbors and dad while standing ten feet away! Like Yang's New From Here or Ibura's When the World Turned Upside Down, Lucinda and Raquel see way more people than I could imagine. It was a little odd that while "pandemic" was used, "COVID" or "Coronavirus" was never mentioned. 
What I really think: I  loved Torres' The Fresh New Face of Griselda and Stef Soto, Taco Queen, but maybe it's too soon for me to really enjoy a pandemic tale. I'll probably purchase this for historical reasons, and younger readers will have more patience with cutting up Sylvia's perfectly good clothing to make masks than I had. 
 Ms. Yingling

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