#MiddleGradeMonday : The Fresh New Face of Griselda

The Fresh New Face of Griselda by Jennifer Torres

Griselda “Geez” Zaragoza’s life has been turned upside down.

A few months ago, if asked, Geez would have said that her life was perfect. She lived in a comfortable house, had a room of her own, and would spend her weekends alongside her dad tending to the rose’s in their garden.

But that was then.  And things are different now. Very different.

Now she lives with her grandma where old toilet bowls have been turned into makeshift planters. Her dad is looking for work hundreds of miles away. Her mom has started working. And older sister Maribel has become a consultant for Alma Cosmetics, a life choice which their mother openly dislikes.

Geez wants to help, but doesn’t know how. Until she suddenly happens upon one of Maribel’s Alma Cosmetics brochures stating that the company is looking for someone between the ages of twelve and eighteen to become the Fresh New Face of Alma Cosmetics. While Geez isn’t necessarily interested in that, she is interested in the five thousand dollar prize.

Geez knows that that prize money could really come in handy. It won’t fix everything, but maybe it could help give a fresh start to both her and her family.

The question is, does Geez have what it takes to, not only meet the contest goals, but to actually win?

The Fresh New Face of Griselda, written by author Jennifer Torres, is a realistic middle grade book that has a lot of heart, great characters, and a story that will resonate with all readers.

Torres writing is strong, and more than that it’s filled with honest emotions. So much so that readers will feel as if they know Griselda on a personal level, and that they are experiencing her trials and triumphs alongside her. Even though this book is well written, and even though it deals with some tough subject matter – family struggles, financial struggles, societal pressure and embarrassment just to name a few – it’s extremely easy to read.

Author Torres does not gloss over all those hard hitting subject, instead she explores them with honesty and a gentle hand. She truly has a way of making readers understand these issues and feel sympathetic to them as well.

What I appreciated most about this book were it’s characters. They were all so unique, yet easily relatable. Griselda is a likable character, one that young readers will easily identify with. But not only will they identify with her, but they will also see their own emotions and feelings reflected in her as well. As a reader, an older one, I truly appreciated the apparent growth seen from the beginning to the end.

The Fresh New Face of Griselda has a lot of heart. And I think that that’s what makes this book such a great book for readers of all ages. Beyond that, it feels as if there’s a little something for each and every one of us.

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