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Isabel in Bloom - Verse

My review

5 stars

Very uplifting and inspiring novel in verse. Isabel goes through some difficulties at home, then traveling alone to meet her mother in America, facing a new school and new friends, trying to find a piece of her home and memories in every smell or corner, but she doesn't let this discourage her. She tries (and by trial and error) and she learns good and bad things and turns the bad into positive ones. I loved the ending. She takes things into her own hands and never quits.

Thank you, publisher and Netgalley for the copy.

Book Info:

Isabel in Bloom by Mae Respicio

Genre: Middle Grade

Publishing Date: April 9, 2024



A Filipina-American girl discovers a connection between her two homes through a culinary garden in this middle grade novel that celebrates nourishment and growth—both in our lives and in nature.

Twelve-year-old Isabel is the new kid in her San Francisco middle school. It’s the first time in many years that she’ll be living with her mother again. Mama’s job in the US allowed Isabel and her grandparents to live more comfortably in the Philippines, but now Isabel doesn’t really know her own mother anymore.

Making new friends in a new city, a new country, is hard, but joining the gardening and cooking club at school means Isabel will begin to find her way, and maybe she too, will begin to bloom.

In this beautifully rendered novel-in-verse, Mae Respicio explores how growth can take many forms, offering both the challenges and joy of new beginnings.


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About the Author:

Mae Respicio writes heart-filled middle grade novels including The House That Lou Built, which won an Asian Pacific American Libraries Association Honor Award in Children’s Literature, was an NPR Best Book, and was named to many “best of” and state reading lists, Any Day With You (out now), and How to Win A Slime War (out fall 2021).


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