Rosa, who loves everything computer related, is seemingly beset from all angles, but her newfound companion quickly steps up to the plate to help Rosa cope with the myriad problems she’s experiencing. When Luis gets locked in the janitor’s closet by resident bully Shantel, Mee warns Rosa just in time to rescue him; when Rosa’s robbed in the park, Mee teaches her self-defense moves; and, when Rosa questions whether Mee is human, Mee suggests they embark on a route of self-discovery together. Goldstein brings the challenges of a deteriorating school in a rundown neighborhood to life, highlighting the difference true friendships can make when navigating hardships.
Though the novel takes on weighty themes and some scary high-stakes situations, Goldstein effectively resolves the central conflicts in a way that will suit middle-grade readers. Even when Rosa’s mother is wrongfully arrested, social services immediately intervene, ensuring that Rosa is placed in a safe home with a family friend until her mother returns. Mee remains loyal, working hard to keep Rosa and her friends safe—including a last-minute rescue in a dire kidnapping situation—and Goldstein keeps Mee’s role positive until the end. Ultimately, Rosa’s good deeds pay off, netting the story a satisfying and hopeful ending that hints at future adventures with Mee.
Takeaway: Hopeful story of finding friendship in the most unlikely of places.
Comparable Titles: Katherine Applegate’s Wishtree, David Barclay Moore’s The Stars Beneath Our Feet.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: A