by Celia C Pérez (Author)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

From the award-winning author of The First Rule of Punk and Strange Birds, a dazzling novel about a young girl who collects the missing pieces of her origin story from the family of legendary luchadores she's never met.

Twelve-year-old Adela "Addie" Ramírez has a big decision to make when her stepfather proposes adoption. Addie loves Alex, the only father figure she's ever known, but with a new half brother due in a few months and a big school theater performance on her mind, everything suddenly feels like it's moving too fast. She has a million questions, and the first is about the young man in the photo she found hidden away in her mother's things.

Addie's sleuthing takes her to a New Mexico ranch, and her world expands to include the legendary Bravos: Rosie and Pancho, her paternal grandparents and former professional wrestlers; Eva and Maggie, her older identical twin cousins who love to spar in and out of the ring; Uncle Mateo, whose lucha couture and advice are unmatched; and Manny, her biological father, who's in the midst of a career comeback. As luchadores, the Bravos's legacy is strong. But being part of a family is so much harder--it's about showing up, taking off your mask, and working through challenges together.

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Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Humor and heartfelt emotion reign supreme in a quirky narrative that centers the importance of family, blood or blended. Twelve-year-old Adela Ramírez, who's of Mexican descent, has a half brother on the way, a new addition to the stepfamily of her, her museum fossil preparator mother, and her stepfather, a wrestling fan who runs a diner. As the due date looms, Adela's stepfather proposes a big step: formally adopting her. Adela loves him and even thinks of him as her dad, but the situation is complicated by the existence of her absent biological father, whose identity her mother has never revealed. After deducing it from an old photo, though, it turns out that Adela is descended from a line of wrestling superstars, the Bravo family, who welcome her warmly into their family and traditions. But her biological father remains distant, and with the question of adoption looming, Adela must decide what, if any, role she wants him to play in her life. Layered, moving characterizations and Adela's voice, full of amusing witticisms, mark this charming novel, which glows with the love--and complications--of family. Ages 9-12. Agent: Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (Aug.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Praise for TUMBLE By Celia C. Pérez: 

★ "Very entertaining . . . Any child who also likes professional wrestling will eat this right up."
—School Library Connection, starred review

★ Adela loves mythology and draws parallels from it to wrestling's celebrity allure and peripatetic lifestyle...It all acts as an engaging backdrop to this story of family lost and found and of making amends.
—The Horn Book, starred review

Select accolades and praise for STRANGE BIRDS
A 2020 Rise: A Feminist Book Project List Selection
A 2020 Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year
An ALSC 2020 Notable Children's Book

"'Strange Birds' respects its readers' intelligence and sophistication."
—Erika L. Sanchez, New York Times bestselling author of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter for The New York Times Book Review

"Thought-provoking, timely, and laugh-out-loud funny."
Aisha Saeed, New York Times bestselling author of Amal Unbound

"Strange Birds is an inspiring story about the power of truth, and of true friends."
Rebecca Stead, New York Times bestselling author of the Newbery Medal winner When You Reach Me

★ Writing with wry restraint that's reminiscent of Kate DiCamillo."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

★ "Engaging, well-plotted."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

A perfect title for school and public libraries seeking realistic books about friendship."
—School Library Journal (starred review)

Perfect for preteens becoming aware that friendships can be complicated, and that the world is more so."
—The Horn Book (starred review)

Select accolades and praise for THE FIRST RULE OF PUNK
A 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book
A 2018 Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award Winner
A 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Fiction and Poetry Honor Book
An E.B. White Read-Aloud Middle Reader Award finalist

★ "Thoughtful."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

★ "Those who enjoy vivacious, plucky heroines... will eagerly embrace Malú."
—School Library Journal (starred review)

★ "A rowdy reminder that people are at their best when they aren't forced into neat, tidy boxes."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Celia C Pérez
Celia C. Pérez es la autora de La primera regla del punk, libro de honor del premio Pura Belpré, 2018. Celia nació en Miami, Florida, y actualmente vive con su familia en Chicago, donde además de escribir libros sobre personajes adorables y fuera de lo común, trabaja como bibliotecaria. Cuando estaba en la escuela secundaria llenaba cuadernos con resúmenes de los combates de lucha libre que veía en la televisión. Puedes visitar a Celia C. Pérez en línea en celiacperez.com.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
August 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV013010 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Adoption
JUV011030 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - Hispanic & Latino
JUV032160 - Juvenile Fiction | Sports & Recreation | Wrestling
Library of Congress categories
Family life
Mexican Americans
New Mexico

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