review: Tumble by Celia C. Pérez

Title: Tumble
Author: Celia Pérez
Date: Kokila; August 2022
Main character: Adela “Addie” Ramirez
MG realistic fiction

Celia Pérez is originally from Florida and now lives in Chicago where she works as an academic librarian. Her first book, The First Rule of Punk won several awards, including a Pura Belpré honor. Her second book, Strange Birds was an ALA Notable Book. Tumble is her third book. She’s been a fan of wrestling since middle school.

Addie lives in New Mexico with her mom and stepfather, Alex. Much of their time together is spent in Alex’s restaurant. Addie has a busy life with a her mom about to have a baby, a school musical to plan, earthworms to find, and deciding whether or not she wants Alex to adopt her. When approached with this possibility, Addie’s desire to learn more about her biological father is rekindled and this time, she decides to do all that she can to find him. What she finds is way more than she ever anticipated. Her mom didn’t want Addie to know anything about the man, she did what she thought was protecting Addie for the past 12 years. I really like that Pérez wrote a mother who protected her daughter, but who allowed her to make her own decisions.

I found this to be a story that questions the dynamics of power whether it be in families, Greek mythology or lucha libre. Yes, this book is all about the wrestling (literal and figurative)! Pérez, who’s been recounting matches since middle school, writes clear and fun accounts of the matches in the story. It’s really nice to see such an important part of Mexican American culture in a middle school book.

Ever the optimist, ever the one to root for the underdog, Addie is about to grow up just a little bit as she learns a little about how the world works. She also learns how to do a double pin; or, how to look like it!