All You Knead Is Love

Farrar. Mar. 2021. 384p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374314231.
Gr 4-6–Twelve-year-old Alba feels discarded when her mother sends her across the ocean to live in Barcelona with the grandmother she hardly knows. With time, Alba builds a close relationship with her grandmother and other family friends she meets along the way. Alba finally gets to know the former version of her mother through Toni, her mother’s childhood best friend, as they spend time together baking bread for his bakery. Eventually, Alba’s mother joins her in Barcelona with a battered face and hopes to build a new life without Alba’s abusive father. When Toni’s bakery is in danger of closing, Alba and her mother team up to devise a rescue plan. Guerrero weaves traumatic flashbacks of domestic violence together with scenes of opportunity and hope in this coming-of-age drama about forgiveness, friendship, and family. Any reader will relate to Alba’s experiences finding her true self and her first taste of romance. The author does a beautiful job educating readers about the differences between gender identity and sexuality in a way that is suitable for middle grade readers. A diverse range of characters facilitate Alba’s growth through her relationships. The Spanish language sprinkled throughout helps craft an authentic tone and will not impact non-Spanish speakers’ understanding of the text.
VERDICT A charming, original title that will draw fans of Janae Marks’s From the Desk of Zoe Washington.

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