So my home is currently on day 3 of a massive power outage thanks to a little domestic terrorism. I can’t call it vandalism no matter what the reason behind it turns out to be. I’m safe and warm with family out of my county, but 33,000 people remain without heat. The community is coming together, in some ways, but the whole thing is just awful. I don’t want to focus on that, but it is allowing me to take a little time to come back to my blog. I have been reading and reviewing like crazy, but most things blog-worthy have been handwritten in a journal and there simply hasn’t been time in my life. Well, no time like the present!
In thinking about family and all of the support that we get from them, it seems apropos to have my first post back be about the marvelous book Tumble, by Celia Pérez. I read and reviewed this book over the summer, if that gives you any idea of how many books I have been sitting on. I had previously read Pérez’s middle grade novel, The First Rule of Punk, and loved it. Tumble did not disappoint.
This book is a fascinating story about family, friendship, and figuring out how we all work together, with the interesting twist of lucha libre. As if 7th grade wasn’t hard enough already, Adela begins a search for her long-lost father. Little does she know how much she would discover along the way.
Celia Pérez is great at writing stories where the main character journeys to find themselves on roads not often traveled. First Rule of Punk brought in punk music and zines. In Tumble, Pérez introduces readers to the colorful world of lucha libre. I was fortunate to understand lucha libre before reading this book thanks to 2 high school friends of mine who were professionally a part of that scene for a few years, but I digress. Lucha libre is full of costumes and often features wrestlers who wear masks. For Pérez, masks are used as a metaphor for the face we put on with others and the change that can happen when we are true to ourselves.
The story focuses on Adele, who lives in the small town of Thorne, New Mexico with her mom and step-dad. When her step-dad, Alex, brings up the idea of officially adopting her, it opens up Adela’s personal need to find out who her biological father is. Her mom has always been silent about the past, but since her birth-father has to give-up his rights, she makes it her mission to find out who he is. Through some sleuthing and utilizing the local archives (librarian shout out!). Adele does solve the mystery, but nothing in life is every simple, and there are reasons her mom has always stayed silent. Instantly her family grows from tiny to quite large, bringing the good and the bad parts of that change.
Tumble is a really marvelous coming of age/family story that I would highly recommend for middle grade readers.