Fall 2019 Kids Indie Next List
“Sweet Pea is that spunky, likeable girl next door who’s going through a rough patch. Her parents are getting divorced, she’s caught between friends, and her cat seems like the only one who loves her for who she is. And now she’s scored her first job — forwarding mail for her unusual neighbor, Miss Flora Mae, who writes the paper’s advice column. Sweet Pea gets tempted to open a letter, and then the fun begins! Can trying to help cause more trouble than it solves? A funny and heartwarming story of a tween finding her way.”
— Jenny Stroyeck, The Homer Bookstore, Homer, AK
The first middle grade novel from Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’ (now a popular Netflix film), is a funny, heartwarming story perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead, Ali Benjamin, and Holly Goldberg Sloan. Four starred reviews!
Patricia “Sweet Pea” DiMarco wasn’t sure what to expect when her parents announced they were getting a divorce. She never could have imagined that they would have the “brilliant” idea of living in nearly identical houses on the same street. In the one house between them lives their eccentric neighbor Miss Flora Mae, the famed local advice columnist behind “Miss Flora Mae I?”
Dividing her time between two homes is not easy. And it doesn’t help that at school, Sweet Pea is now sitting right next to her ex–best friend, Kiera, a daily reminder of the friendship that once was. Things might be unbearable if Sweet Pea didn’t have Oscar—her new best friend—and her fifteen-pound cat, Cheese.
Then one day Flora leaves for a trip and asks Sweet Pea to forward her the letters for the column. And Sweet Pea happens to recognize the handwriting on one of the envelopes.
What she decides to do with that letter sets off a chain of events that will forever change the lives of Sweet Pea DiMarco, her family, and many of the readers of “Miss Flora Mae I?”
About the Author
Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. After several wonderful years in the library world, Julie now writes full-time. When she’s not writing or reliving her reference desk glory days, she can be found watching made-for-TV movies, hunting for the perfect slice of cheese pizza, and planning her next great travel adventure. She is also the author of the young adult novels Dumplin’ (now a film on Netflix), Puddin’, Ramona Blue, and Side Effects May Vary. You can visit Julie at www.juliemurphywrites.com.
“Murphy creates a wonderfully realistic portrait of tween life in her first middle-grade novel…. Sweet Pea is a treasure of a protagonist.” — ALA Booklist (starred review)
“Endearing and funny… An excellent blend of eccentricity, humor, genuine sweetness, and mild drama.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“With gentle humor, ageless wisdom, and charming, genuine characters who represent a diversity of experiences, Murphy’s novel offers all the emotional highs and lows of pitch-perfect middle grade.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Murphy succeeds yet again at crafting a touching, quotable coming-of-age story, this time exploring divorce, shifting friendships, crushes, queerness, and much more." — School Library Journal (starred review)
“Full of cringe-worthy but funny seventh grade moments… [there’s also] plenty of room for more serious reflection about the people around her in her small Texas town, a cast diverse in ethnicity, sexual orientation, and body size as well as in attitudes.” — Horn Book Magazine
“Successfully handles tough topics with humor.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Dear Sweet Pea is a truly irresistible story about a family in flux, brimming with humor and heart.” — Rebecca Stead, Newbery Award-winning author of When You Reach Me
Praise for PUDDIN’: “Julie Murphy has created the platonic love story of a lifetime. I am wildly in love with Puddin’.” — Becky Albertalli, New York Times bestselling author of Leah on the Offbeat and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Praise for PUDDIN’: “Murphy’s plot brims with unlikely friendships, irresistible romance, fabulous fat acceptance, and a kick-ass ending. Buoying.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Praise for RAMONA BLUE: “An exquisite, thoughtful exploration of the ties that bind and the fluidity of relationships, sexuality, and life.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Praise for RAMONA BLUE: “Julie Murphy knows a thing or two about navigating the worlds of girls on the brink of self-discovery.” — Booklist (starred review)
Praise for DUMPLIN’: “Will’s singular voice compels readers to think about all that goes into building-and destroying-self-esteem...Splendid” — Booklist (starred review)
Praise for DUMPLIN’: “Murphy...successfully makes every piece of the story—Dolly Parton superfans, first love, best-friend problems, an unlikely group of pageant entrants, female solidarity, self-acceptance, and Willowdean’s complicated relationship with the mother...-count, weaving them together to create a harmonious, humorous, and thought-provoking whole.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)