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A Two-for-One ARC Giveaway

By January 18, 202136 Comments

It feels good when someone says they’re happy to see you, doesn’t it? That’s true in my social life, and it’s true in my book life, too. That’s why I’m so happy to have my upcoming novel, Merci Suárez Can’t Dance on Kirkus’s list of Most Anticipated Books of 2021. It officially pubs on April 6.

Here’s the thing. The days leading up to bringing a new book into the world are always nerve-wracking, no matter how long you’ve been writing. Will your readers like it? Is it on par with your other books? Is a critic out there going to grind it into dust? Those questions have been on my mind even more than usual for Merci Suárez Can’t Dance, mostly because it’s a sequel to Newbery-winning Merci Suárez Changes Gears.

A while back, Travis Jonker did a 20-year survey of Newbery titles for School Library Journal to see how many had sequels or prequels. It turns out, plenty of authors have written sequels to their Newbery winners, but I wonder if any of them worried like I did as they were drafting.

The first problem I ran into was my writing process, which has always been largely intuitive. Typically, I start with a character and a rough idea for a conflict, and then I draft my way into the story until a plot starts to take shape. This time, though, I saw that I would finally need some sort of outline to help keep track of what happened in the earlier book. I needed to be sure, for instance, that I was addressing unresolved events that I had laid out in book 1, to say nothing of being consistent with all the teeny details, such as street names and Iguanador Nation trivia. It was a painful change of work style for me, to be honest, but it had to be done. I guess what we find out as writers is that there is no single “right” way that works for every book. Anyway, I finally embraced Scriveners to help me get organized.

But the bigger issue was the story itself. I wanted to craft something that would resonate again with kids but still feel fresh, one that would introduce new characters, but also show growth and change in the old ones they already knew and loved – Merci, chief among them. Who was coming with me into the second book? Who was going to have to take a back seat? How could I write it, so that even if you never read the first book, you’d still have a satisfying ride in this new one?

The old “pantser” inside me kept listening to Merci’s voice for help. I kept pressing her for answers to my questions:  What new discovery have you made about growing up, Merci? What new experience is stretching you in unexpected ways, niña? How is this newer, older you facing things differently?

Ultimately, Merci pointed me to her school life during the seventh grade. As I wrote, her voice was still tart and funny, but I could see that Merci was learning about love and friendship in all its forms as she was getting older. The hidden crushes we have when we’re almost 13. The devastating hurt when we fight with friends. The examples of love that span generations and bloom in our greatest time of need. And most important, self-love and forgiveness.

If you’re heading to ALA midwinter next week (now an online event moving forward), you can hear more about Merci Suárez Can’t Dance by registering for an after-hours preview event of Candlewick Press’s 2021 titles. I’ll be sharing the virtual stage with the fabulous Kekla Magoon. During my part, I’ll read my favorite 2-minute bit and share some behind-the-scenes work on the book. Then you can ask anything you want to know. You’ll even get a virtual “goodie bag,” complete with a dance playlist you can use in your classroom… or alone when no one’s looking. Best of all, you don’t have to be a librarian to attend this talk. Just go to this link to register.

As always, I appreciate all of you who support my work and ask that you post an Amazon review for the first Merci book and/or pre-order a copy of the new title. (Both of these things will help new readers find me.) To get you in the spirit, I’m also doing a two-for-one ARC giveaway of the new book. You’ll get a signed ARC of Merci Suárez Can’t Dance, plus an autographed paperback of Merci Suárez Changes Gears.

To enter, please leave a comment below. Two random winners will be announced next week.

See you at ALA – and happy reading!

Meg Medina

Author Meg Medina

I'm Meg Medina, author of libros for kids of all ages. I'm the 2019 Newbery medalist for Merci Suárez Changes Gears. I write strong girls, tough circumstances, and the connecting power of culture. Thanks for visiting my blog!

More posts by Meg Medina

Join the discussion 36 Comments

  • Betsy Wolf says:

    I can’t wait to see what happens for Merci next…and I’d love to win another signed copy because mine is circulating in my intermediate library! ❤️

    • Meg Medina says:

      Oh – soooo much happens! Good luck and stay tuned for the drawing next week!

      • Gwen Marra says:

        I can’t wait to read more about Merci! I introduced you at NCTE in 2019! Hope you are well!

        • Meg Medina says:

          Hi Gwen! NCTE is always a highlight! Thank you so much for leaving a comment. Fingers crossed for the arc drawing!

  • Chris says:

    I am very excited to see you at the ALA Midwinter Conference and would love to be entered in the Two-for-One ARC giveaway.
    See you soon!

  • Matthew Bowers says:

    I’m registered for the After Hours Sneak Peek. I’m can’t wait to read the Merci sequel. Our staff does a bi-monthly “Personal Pick” display to recommend items to patrons. One of my picks this go-around is “Merci Suarez Changes Gears”. I would love to win a signed copy.

  • Margo Jantzi says:

    Looking forward to the After Hours Sneak Peek. I would love to enter the giveaway. It will be a highlight to share Merci’s next chapters in her adventures with our library readers.

  • Dionna says:

    So enjoyed this interview, Meg! Looking forward to seeing what scrapes Merci gets into this time around. Have fun at ALA.

  • Lori Lovato says:

    I can’t wait to share this with my students!

  • Janet Davis-Castro says:

    Good morning Meg,
    I’m a grandma myself and I want to know what’s happening with the Abuelos in the sequel! My mom suffered from Alzheimer’s so I was really touched by their situation. Hope to see you at ALA!

  • Hi Meg! Greetings from Hot Springs, Arkansas. We are so excited about your new book!
    Love and air hugs!
    -Brittany and the Garland County Library Children’s Dept Staff

    • Meg Medina says:

      Brittany! How wonderful to hear from you! I’ll enter you in the drawing! Really looking forward to seeing you, even if virtually!

  • Comadre Meg,
    I’m registered for ALA and look forward to the sneak peek of the titles. I would love to enter for the giveaway and I look forward to seeing what Merci gets into next!
    – Julia Abrantes
    Las Comadres & Friends Nat’l Latino Book Club

  • I’m so excited to re-enter Merci’s world in this new book. Also, thank you for sharing all that goes into writing a follow-up to a successful story.

    • Meg Medina says:

      Hi Tamika! It was harder than I had imagined, to be honest. Thanks for stopping by. Good luck!

  • Nancy Brown says:

    Good afternoon! Changing Gears is a phrase I use all the time in this every changing and challenging time of covid! Looking forward to sharing the news of your new book with students and teachers. A moment of anticipation and wonder keeps our spirits up!
    Thank you for listening to Merci’s voice and continuing her journey in life!

    • Meg Medina says:

      It absolutely has been a year where we’ve had to stay flexible! Thanks for entering the drawing, Nancy!

  • Galiah Morgenstern Lotwin says:

    So looking forward to reading more about Merci!!

  • Malissa says:

    I can’t wait to see how Merci evolves! I loved hearing how your writing “style” changed!

  • Natalia Ortega-Brown says:

    So excited to spend more time with Merci. We are about to start reading Merci Suárez se pone las pilas in our 5th grade DL classroom. The kids love you!

    • Meg Medina says:

      ¡Que bueno, Natalia! I’ll keep you posted when the translation of the second book gets scheduled. For now, I’ll enter you to win the ARC of the English version!

  • Jassyel Gomez says:

    Hi Meg,
    I loved reading about Merci and her family! Very relatable for me especially growing up in an intergenerational home like hers. Can’t wait to see what happens next! Thank you for writing these stories, you are an inspiration for Latinas like myself who are pursuing writing.

    • Meg Medina says:

      I love finding fellow writers here, Jassyel. Thanks for entering the ARC giveaway and good luck with your writing!

  • Jeane Campbell says:

    Oh, to go to ALA and school library conferences was so much fun. Miss that a lot. So glad that you wrote a follow up book for Merci. She deserved it and so do our kiddos. Can’t wait to see what you wrote. Enjoy and stay safe.

    • Meg Medina says:

      Hi Jeane! I’ll be at ALA tonight (Sunday) at 6 pm to talk about the novel a bit more – and share some memories of ALA midwinter. I miss it, too. There was always such a feeling of hard work and also of celebration. Anyway, I’ve entered you in the drawing. Fingers crossed for you!

  • Angie Kelly says:

    Would love to share these books with my readers at the K-6 elementary where I am a LRC assistant. Thanks for the chance!

    • Meg Medina says:

      Hi Angie! I’ve entered you in the ARC giveaway. Glad you are thinking of your library patrons for these titles. Good luck!

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