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Dear Sweet Pea (2019)

by Julie Murphy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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13411165,280 (3.92)6
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?"… (more)
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» See also 6 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
*reviewed from uncorrected ARC*

diverse children's middlegrade fiction (7th grade girl with different body type deals with school and changes in her life with amicably divorced parents and other responsibilities and decisions; her dad is gay and her BFF may be queer)
sweetly told story of a young tween/teen trying to do the right thing and making a few mistakes as well. Loved it, and will definitely recommend. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
This charming story focuses on Sweet Pea, trying to adjust to her parents' recent divorce. Her parents decide to try to keep things as normal for her as possible and get a house for her dad and try to make it as close as possible to the family's house. This seems to just kick the problems down the road. Between the two houses lives the local eccentric, who also happens to be an advice columnist. She serves as a mentor/fairy godmother in some ways to Sweet Pea.
Friendship drama abounds as Sweet Pea navigates the end of seventh grade and changing relationships. ( )
  ewyatt | Jun 8, 2021 |
I guess more of a 3.5. I found myself skimming through some parts and discovering that accidentally skipping a few pages didn't change the narrative all that much. There were some good parts but wish it had been edited down a bit more. ( )
  RachellErnst | Jan 5, 2021 |
The situation with the advice column didn’t seem all that plausible, still I love seeing characters of all ages featured in books, especially if it means generations intermingling so I did enjoy the interactions between Sweet Pea and Miss Flora Mae. In addition to generational representation, there’s an array of representation here as far as race, sexuality, and body type, too, none of which is delved into all that deeply since those things weren’t the main focus of the plot, nonetheless it’s good to see the world of books looking more and more like the actual world.

Sweet Pea has a cute tongue-tied crush on a boy and I very much liked their moments especially where things left off with them, but it doesn’t play a huge part in the story, it should be noted for readers who don’t enjoy romance there really isn’t a romance here this centers much more on friendship and family.

While I did feel like Sweet Pea’s issues with one friend resolved a little too easily given that friend’s unrelenting bullying, it seemed like maybe that character should have had to work a bit harder to make amends, still, I do think second chances and forgiveness are important concepts that seem to be put into practice less and less these days, so I was mostly good with how that worked out. Overall, the concerns in both of Sweet Pea’s friendships about growing and changing and taking each other for granted, it’s realistic stuff that pretty much everyone experiences at some point in their friendships.

Scenes between Sweet Pea and her parents were easily my favorite in the book, so part of me wishes the story had taken place right when Sweet Pea first learned about the divorce and about her dad, when she and her parents would have been at their most emotional, but even some time removed from that moment, this kid is still dealing with a lot and her parents are still struggling with how to navigate this new iteration of their family and I thought Julie Murphy handled that with honesty and warmth. ( )
  SJGirl | Jul 16, 2020 |
Sweet Pea is a big fan of her neighbor Miss Flora Mae's advice column in the local newspaper. When Miss Flora Mae needs to leave town to take care of her ailing sister, she asks Sweet Pea to coordinate delivery of the letters between her and the editor. Sweet Pea ends up answering a couple of the letters herself, including one from her former best friend Kiera and another from her current best friend Oscar. The results are unexpected. Author Julie Murphy has a way with dialogue, a turn of phrase, and self-deprecating humor that makes Sweet Pea an appealing character. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Mar 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Julie Murphyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Strole, PhoebeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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?"

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