I’m so thankful for a spare few minutes today because I really wanted to share the latest read from Blanche’s Book Club! We’ll be discussing “Dear Sweet Pea” by Julie Murphy.
I started following this author a few years ago after reading her book “Ramona Blue” and I loved it, so then I read every other book she published. I was sad once I read them all and then saw this one was coming out, but I wasn’t quite sure when. So, when I saw it on the shelf during some holiday errands, I snatched it right up.
Here is the book’s description:
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?”
This is Julie Murphy’s first middle-grade novel, and I probably wouldn’t have picked it up if it weren’t because of the author, but I’m so, so glad I did — I’m thankful this story was created.
I read this book in a single sitting over the weekend and when I closed the cover, I held it close to my chest. I absolutely LOVED this book! I thought Sweet Pea was such a fun character, and it’s got a plot that many can relate to — perhaps not being in charge of Miss Flora’s letters — but having divorced parents, not fitting in at school, and finding a way to do the right thing without hurting anyone.
It was such a sweet book and I loved the visual of these identical homes, and Sweet Pea escaping to Miss Flora’s house to wear non-prescription glasses and drink ginger ale. Ha!
With a fizzing glass of ginger ale in hand, I find that the letters have a way of blending together. It’s not that they’re boring, but it’s just a surprise to see how much everyone has in common and how alike all our problems really are.
This is a book I’d recommend to just about anyone… and I’ll probably read it again 🙂
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be Reading is “The Good Neighborhood: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers” by Maxwell King.
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