Review| Dear Sweet Pea – Julie Murphy

As you know, May is often seen as middle grade May. I decided to get an early start and listened to Dear Sweet Pea. This was my first book by Julie Murphy and I enjoyed it! Keep on reading to find out what I thought about this book.

Review| Dear Sweet Pea – Julie Murphy

The first middle grade novel from Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’ (now a popular Netflix film), is a funny, heartwarming story perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead, Ali Benjamin, and Holly Goldberg Sloan.
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?”

Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy
Published by Balzer + Bray on 01/10/2019
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 273
Format: Audiobook


I love middle grade books, because the stories tend to be something that will really hit home for the group it’s written for. I think it’s amazing that teenagers can pick up a book and have a character they can totally relate to. I think Dear Sweet Pea will really hit home for kids going through similar things as Sweet Pea.

Our main character’s life is turned upside down when her parents let her know they’re getting divorced and that her father has come out as gay. I loved that this subject wasn’t brought as a big deal and that it was totally accepted. That’s how it should be and I loved reading it this way. Divorce isn’t easy for any kid and Julie Murphy did a good job showcasing the struggles that can come along in these situations.

It’s okay not be okay and it’s clear that Sweet Pea is trying to adjust to her new normal. Her parents are trying to keep things as normal as possible, but her father living next door in an identical house, doesn’t always make it any easier. This book dealt with divorce, learning to deal with change and even the aspect of parents starting to date again.

Sweet Pea gets herself in a bit of trouble when she starts answering letters for her neighbor’s advice column instead of only mailing the letters like asked. There is an aspect of this that I really enjoyed. All of the advice she gives, are lessons that she’s in the middle of as well. She doesn’t realize it, but she’s actually giving herself pretty good advice.

Also, like in most middle grade books, friendship is a big part. Friends grow up and grow apart, things change and sometimes you have to admit you’ve made a mistake. This is something Sweet Pea experiences with her best friend Oscar and her former friend Kiera. Growing up isn’t always easy and Sweet Pea is realizing this.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. Sweet Pea is definitely a realistic character and I loved how all of these subjects are dealt with. I think a lot of kids Sweet Pea’s age will be able to relate to this book in one way or another. If you enjoy audiobooks, I really recommend you listen to this one. It was a lot of fun!

Dear Sweet Pea basically had everything I hope to read in a middle grade book. I think I need to check out this author’s other books. Have you read any good middle grade books lately? Let me know in the comments!

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