A happy, loud, and messy third-grader meets obstacles at home and school in this novel for Junie B. graduates.
First-person narrator Meena loves color and finds beauty in the trash she adds to her large collection of found objects she saves for Inspiration. But although Meena surrounds herself with every color of the rainbow, a “gray haze” has crept into her life. First, her best friend, Sofía, stops playing with Meena at recess so she can stay in and get ahead on schoolwork. Then Meena has a seizure. In Meena’s imaginative mind, the word “seizure” sounds like “sea” and “treasure.” Of course, the reality is not as colorful or as pleasant as the word sounds. As Meena waits for a diagnosis to explain it, she continues on as her creative self, building a milk-jug igloo with her adoring little sister, Rosie, and their nature-loving cousin Eli. When Meena learns the truth about why she and Sofía aren’t friends anymore, she discovers that everyone struggles with something, even people who seem to be the best at everything. The grayscale artwork seems to come straight from an anime coloring book. Meena and her family are white, but she wishes she had Latina Sofía’s brown skin instead of her own “peachy-blah” tone. Meena’s epilepsy diagnosis doesn’t overpower the story, making it just one part of her well-rounded character.
A likable protagonist helms this appealing school story. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)