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Meena Meets Her Match

(Meena Zee)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  172 ratings  ·  52 reviews
“For Junie B. graduates” (Kirkus Reviews). Join Meena as she navigates the triumphs and challenges of family, friendship, and personal secrets in this charming middle grade debut.

Meena’s life is full of color. She wears vibrant clothes, eats every shade of the rainbow, and plucks eye-catching trash from the neighborhood recycling bins.

But when Meena’s best friend, Sofía,
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  172 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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This was such a delight to read - still made me cry, but a wonderful read. Highly recommended. Would make a fantastic read-aloud book to children and/or a class.
Ms. Yingling
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Meena is an artistic, exuberant elementary school student who has a great, supportive family, kindergarten sister Rosie, and cousin Eli who is in her class at school. Ever since winter break, though, her best friend Sofía has been a bit cold to her, and she's not sure why. This worry is soon eclipsed by the increasingly weird feelings Meena has-- she blacks out and scribbles on her assignment in school, she zones out with her cousin, and eventually has a seizure at home
Liza Wiemer
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I'm so impressed with the way Karla Manternach dealt with a child's epilepsy. This is a thoughtful, authentic middle grade novel. Meena has spunk. She's not the easiest kid to deal with. But that's because she's inquisitive and sometimes short-tempered. Inquisitive children often get into trouble because their questions and actions take them places many adults don't want to go—like diving in trash to discover treasure and spilling art supplies and making big messes with glue, feathers, pain ...more
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Adorable, fun-loving Meena is a joy to read.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
MEENA MEETS HER MATCH by Karla Manternach is as sweet as it looks -but SO much more! I admit, I cried at the end! Meena seems to be having lots more Downs than Ups in 3rd grade: her best friend has left her behind, her creative ideas keep getting her into trouble, and now her brain is acting freaky! How can Meena turn the grays back into rainbows, and finally feel like she is winning at something, especially when trips to the doctor make her parents - and Meena - scared and worried? Meena just w ...more
LitPick Book Reviews
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Meena is a third-grader who loves colors. She likes to include every color of the rainbow in her meals. She likes to color her hair with permanent marker. But most of all, she loves to collect colorful trash to use in her art projects. Meena also likes to be the best. She wants to have the craziest hair at school, wants to win every race, and she wants to decorate the best box for Valentine’s Day. Mostly, she wants to beat her best friend, Sophia, who has been staying in at recess and ignoring M ...more
I had the opportunity to read a NetGalley digital ARC of this middle grade novel in exchange for a review. This realistic fiction book tells the story of a precocious, think-outside-the-box third grade girl who is more interested in making crafts from items she finds in trash bins than working on her spelling or handwriting. At the beginning of the story, Meena is experiencing some friendship drama and is super excited about a class project to design a Valentine box. But as Meena starts to exper ...more
Sandy Brehl
I was eager to read this because a young MG/chapter book addition to the choices available to kids is always welcome.
Meena is a delight in many ways, although a corner of my adult brain kept muttering "she's a handful". In that sense I enjoyed her even more, and kids will, too. Before the BIG problem occurs, young readers will quickly identify and connect with her, either finding themselves in parts of her story or recognizing a friend.
Meena's parents seem to "get" her very well, supporting he
Sofiya Pasternack
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novel19s
What I Liked
Meena is immediately lovable and unique. Her descriptions of color and how she interprets things is so fun to read, and you get a sense of her personality right away. Her family is wonderful as well; there were a few tearjerker moments with Meena and her sister, or with her parents, that were just so sweet to read. The illustrations are a hoot as well!

What I Would Have Liked to See
I can’t think of anything. Just a very cute book all the way through!

My Favorite!
Meena has seizures and
Teresa Bateman
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Meena is an energetic girl who thinks everything should be a competition, and she should win. Her creativity manifests itself in many way. Now, however, she's dealing with some issues. Her best friend seems to have dumped her. Her little sister is annoying. likes to win. Discipline-wise, she's not doing so well at school. The biggest issue, however, is those moments she's losing, the dizziness, the weird metallic taste in her mouth. What is going on? This is a book about a child dealing with a h ...more
Sarah Overvaag
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Meena Meets Her Match” is a fantastic story that tells the story of so many children: kids who seem to have more downs than ups because of a condition they have no control over. Working in the public school system, I have seen similar situations but never from the child’s point of view. Meena’s frustration at navigating friendships in third grade is the least of her problems, but she tries hard to remain herself as the shadow of seizures looms over her daily life.
I found Meena to be endearing a
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sequoyah
This is definitely a heavier young reader book, with a 9 year old main character Meena, who maybe half way through the book has a seizure and goes through the process of having a CT Scan and a MRI. It would be helpful if children had to have a scary test like that or if their family member did, so they know a little about the tests.

Love the author’s note at the end - “Like most children, however, Meena just wants to march on with her usual activities in the face of her symptoms. She is herself,
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Judy Moody and excellent disability rep
I really enjoyed Meena Meets Her Match. While the constant talk of "color vs. gray" gets a little old, Meena herself is a very enjoyable main character to read about and her world feels very real. This is also the only elementary or MG book I am aware of with a MC with epilepsy. The course of Meena's first seizures, testing, and eventual diagnosis was described very well. I remember clearly what it was like when my brother had epilepsy when he was younger, and Manternach perfectly captures the c ...more
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Meena is a fun, spunky third grader who likes to create art pieces from the trash and recycling she finds around school and her house. This year has been hard for her -- she is struggling to live up to her teacher's expectations and her best friend since kindergarten has pulled away. What makes it more confusing are the strange episodes where she spaces out or her arms jerk funny. It all leads up to a full seizure one morning at home. Meena, her parents, and her younger sister are realistically ...more
Jes Smith
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Meena likes to win. Meena likes to collect recycling and turn it into art. She doesn't like her best friend Sophia any more because Sophia never goes outside at recess and Meena doesn't know what she did to make Sophia mad. Meena struggles with a new diagnosis, staying out of trouble, and figuring out how she can get her best friend back.

A must have for library collections. Meena struggles with everyday problems in addition to having a medical condition she must cope with. Manternach really unde
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a great read - I loved Meena and her love of life (all things garbage, too)! Colorful and hopeful, supportive parents show how the unknown can be dealt with in a kind, gentle non-judgmental way. For the age group, I thought the language was great in explaining what Meena was going through when she had seizures. I really can't find many other fiction books that deal with epilepsy in such an age appropriate way. I think kids who love Clementine, Ramona, Junie B. Jones and Ivy and Bean wil ...more
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written story about a creative nine year old named Meena. Meena is trying to figure out why her best friend no longer likes her. Then one morning she has a seizure. Unsure of the cause and unable to talk to her former friend, Meena uses a school project to release her feelings. In the end, she is able to reconcile with her friend and realizes what a misunderstanding it all was. Great read for middle school students, this book explores friendships, the importance of talking and not ma ...more
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My kids (girls ages 7 & 10) and I just finished reading Meena aloud with one another. We loved it! Had been reading it before bed each night and as we got nearer to the end, my kids begged to stay up past their bedtime for "just one more chapter!" Excellent story and story-telling. So good to help kids understand health issues, make them less frightening, and great message about friendship and giving others the benefit of the doubt -- you never know what's going on in another person's life. Not ...more
Kendall Ball
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic early chapter book about friendship, managing emotions, and battling an unknown illness. What I love most about this book is the way Meena handles her “Ups and Downs” as she calls them. She is very aware of her feelings and what she needs to do to manage them. This book would make a great chapter book to read together as a family and discuss. It is also pretty funny and Meena is a well-developed character. It should hold the attention of any kid who enjoys Junie B. Jones, Judy Moody, ...more
Mary Lee
It was quite unique to read a book about a child who has seizures and is eventually diagnosed with epilepsy, something I've never seen in a children's book. But having the story framed around a classroom teacher who uses behavior clips is a deal killer for me. Unless...and this is just occurring to can read it and see how damaging those clip moves are to Meena's sense of self and self-worth and then change your practices (hint, hint). But if you're going to read it and say, Well she use ...more
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Meena is a quirky, fun character who is nine years old. She is younger than most middle grade protagonists that I read, which took some getting used to. The family dynamic was done well although with the narrator being so young, the parents were kind of flat. I thought the few illustrations in the book enhanced the story. Meena experiences a seizure in the book, and I really appreciate that representation.
Charlene Avery
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was transported into the story and couldn't put the book down. My heart was with Meena, her enthusiasm & creativity, and especially during her journey of discovering epilepsy. Bonus: Meena & I both love rainbows! If you write, this is an excellent mentor text for many skills, especially sensory details. Karla writes vivid descriptions, readers feel we are there with Meena and the other relatable characters. We feel the journey from many perspectives. ...more
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A testament to the power of friendship. I have been continuing with Sequoyah books for 2021. I enjoyed this book a lot more than I anticipated. The cover was very misleading. I expected a fun, light-hearted hijinks book. There was fun and hijinks, but there were also some very serious topics covered. This will be a great read for any kid who has had trouble with friends, who has struggled in school, or ever had a health problem. So many readers will relate to this book. Recommend for any kid.
Karol Silverstein
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a delightful and heartfelt book! Meena is wondrously flawed yet totally likable. It was great fun to spend time in the mind of such a creative, complicated, earnest and messy kid. I was rooting for her the whole way. Meena Meets Her Match shows young readers that things aren't always what they seem and that sometimes it takes a bumpy, twisty-turny and oh-so-colorful ride to get to the truth. ...more
Karen Gibson
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Kristi Schwamb
I chose this book mostly because it looked like it might be a good book for younger readers. I really enjoyed it. The main character Meena, is relatable and fun. She is having some health problems and has to have several scary procedure such as an MRI. The author does a great job of showing the anxiety and fear this produces in a child.
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: b-b, 2019
There are some common tropes here--someone is secretly ill and there's some confusion about which friend is mad at who. But it's the narrator who's sick and her descriptions of her own fear and her parents' and little sister's anxiety are visceral and real. The ups and downs of Meena's normal state of grubby exuberance carry a lot of emotional weight. ...more
Malayna Evans
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Meena is the feistiest, most lovable third grader imaginable. She's at once unique and relatable. Her story will tug your heart strings and make you laugh ... and maybe laugh some more. The book is loaded with heart: friends, family, and learning to live with life's ups and downs. Terrific read! ...more
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
"Manternach draws from her knowledge of her own nine-year-old daughter's chronic condition in telling Meena's story, adding a solid foundation to a story about how to grab all the colors in life." [from Booklist] ...more
Shauna Holyoak
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I adored Meena. Not only was the story important and well told (the anxiety kids often feel about the unknown was expertly shown), but the voice! How I loved the voice. It was reminiscent of Beverly Cleary's RAMONA or Barbara Park's JUNIE B. JONES! ...more
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Karla Manternach grew up in small-town Iowa, a grubby kid in tube socks who once stopped an entire parade by running in front of a fire truck for candy. When she was older, Karla detasseld corn, read Star Trek novels, and studied languages that no one speaks anymore. Today, Karla lives with her family in small-town Wisconsin where she creates books for young readers and works as a freelance writer ...more

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