October 1, 2019
Balzer + Bray
Blurb: Patricia “Sweet Pea” DiMarco wasn’t sure what to expect when her parents announced they were getting a divorce. She never could have imagined that they would have the “brilliant” idea of living in nearly identical houses on the same street. In the one house between them lives their eccentric neighbor Miss Flora Mae, the famed local advice columnist behind “Miss Flora Mae I?”
Dividing her time between two homes is not easy. And it doesn’t help that at school, Sweet Pea is now sitting right next to her ex–best friend, Kiera, a daily reminder of the friendship that once was. Things might be unbearable if Sweet Pea didn’t have Oscar—her new best friend—and her fifteen-pound cat, Cheese.
Then one day Flora leaves for a trip and asks Sweet Pea to forward her the letters for the column. And Sweet Pea happens to recognize the handwriting on one of the envelopes.
What she decides to do with that letter sets off a chain of events that will forever change the lives of Sweet Pea DiMarco, her family, and many of the readers of “Miss Flora Mae I?”
Pre-order from Amazon: Dear Sweet Pea
Julie Murphy hits all the right notes in Dear Sweet Pea, a middle grade novel about Patricia “Sweet Pea” DiMarco whose parents are in the middle of a divorce, whose once best friend treats her like dirt, and in her attempt to balance everything, almost loses her real BFF.
Like Murphy’s Dumplin’, our heroine, Sweet Pea, is overweight but that is not the focus of the story nor does it need to be. She’s aware she’s overweight. She’s hurt when people are insensitive, but, more than anything else, she’s living her life with acceptance. The reader feels her pain when she goes dress shopping and her favorite dress isn’t in her size…nor does the store carry it.
The main focus of Dear Sweet Pea is relationships. When you’re only 13 how do you navigate a landscape that seems to be marred with so many landmines? You’re asked to keep a secret but find that it derails your relationship with your best friend whose been there for you for three years. Do you welcome back your former best friend when she’s going through troubles and most definitely needs a friend, despite the fact that she’s treated you very, very badly? And, lastly, your parents are divorcing, moving on, how do you adapt?
Dear Sweet Pea is a wonderful novel of touching moments, extremely cringe-worthy moments, and revelations. Perhaps Dear Sweet Pea is summed up by the person Sweet Pea chooses to write her research paper on: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul—R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.