Iveliz Explains It All by Andrea Beatriz Arango, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez, Random House, 2022. 9780593563977
Genre: Realistic fiction
What did you like about the book? Twelve-year-old Iveliz tells her story through journal entries. Though born in the U.S., she is Puerto Rican. She has one really good friend, Amir (who is from Afghanistan), but her temper gets the better of her when she is bullied, landing her in detention. When her grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s, comes from Puerto Rico to live with her family, Iveliz is thrilled. She loves her grandmother but discovers that her grandmother’s illness changes their relationship. Her father is her ally, her rock but she struggles with her mother. She goes to therapy to deal with her grief and is on medication but it is not until more than half-way through the story that the reader learns why. The infrequent ink illustrations are most welcome!
Anything you did not like about the book? I took Spanish in high school so I was able to discern some of the constant Spanish used but definitely not all. I would have preferred translations on the page or would suggest one have a Spanish dictionary nearby when reading.
To whom would you recommend this book? Middle-schoolers who are struggling to fit in for one reason or another will understand the temper and grief that are engulfing Iveliz.
Who should buy this book? Public and middle school libraries
Where would you shelve it? Middle school, J or YA
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Contributor, Youth Services Book Review
Date of Review: October 2, 2022