Tumble by Celia C. Pérez

Published by Kokila

Summary:  Addie’s mom is expecting a baby, leading her stepfather Alex to offer to adopt her.  While Addie loves Alex, she wants to learn about her biological father before making her decision.  Her mom has always refused to tell her anything about him, so Addie does some detective work with the help of her best friend Cy.  When she discovers that her father is the wrestler Manny Bravo, she convinces her mom to let her visit him and his family in the nearby town where her mom grew up, and where the Bravo family still lives.  The Bravos are famous Mexican American wrestlers in a community known for wrestling, and Addie is kind of starstruck when she meets them.  But soon she begins to form warm bonds with all of them…except for Manny, who frequently is late for their meetings or stands her up completely.  Eventually, Addie begins to understand why her mother left him to pursue her own dreams, and she is able to make some important decisions about her family and her future.  368 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  Belpré Honor winner Celia C. Pérez may be in line for another award or two with this heartwarming story of Addie and her family and friends.  There’s a lot going on with both of Addie’s families, as well as interesting subplots, particularly one about an unusual production of The Nutcracker that Cy is directing at their middle school. Pérez does an excellent job of weaving all the various parts of the story together.

Cons:  I could see the writing on the wall with Manny about halfway through the book.

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