Summary: How to Win a Slime War
In How to Win a Slime War, young Alex Manalo and his father have moved from Silicon Valley to Sacramento where his dad is taking over his Lolo and Lola’s grocery store. His grandparents have retired and his dad is tired of Silicon Valley living and wants to revamp the family’s Filipino Market. Alex is struggling to adjust a new place and also feeling burdened by his father’s expectations of him — that he cut his hair short, play more sports, and make less slime.
At school, Alex is quickly befriended by Logan, a boy who thinks he should sell his slime. Unfortunately, a girl named Meadow has monopoly over the school’s slime market and is not pleased about Alex joining. So they decide to have a contest to determine the champion, once and for all. Can Alex juggle sliming, figuring out soccer, making new friends, and helping his dad keep their family traditions alive at Manalo Market?
This one tugged at my heartstrings. Alex is a sweet boy who knows what he likes, but also desperately wants his single father’s approval. Unfortunately, his dad is caught in that trap parents can find themselves in: wanting their kids to be clones of them. Alex is creative and business-savvy. He loves making slime and he’s a kind kid who looks out for others too.
I don’t know much about slime, but I can see how this would be a lot of fun for slime-loving kids. The author includes slime recipes and describes Alex’s processes a fair amount. We also spend time with Alex at school and watch him navigate being the new kid in a school where everyone already fits into in a neat box.
As with all of Respicio’s books, Filipino culture plays a central role in this story. We see Alex’s father struggle to find the balance between “modernizing” the market and keeping the traditions his family started. Alex is also very close to his older cousins and learns a lot from them about what it means to be a man, how to stand up for yourself, and how to deal with racist bullies.
Overall: How to Win a Slime War
How to Win a Slime War is a fun, heartwarming story about identity, family, Filipino culture, soccer, and entrepreneurship. Community and evolving friendships also play vital roles in this story. With a protagonist who loves making slime and is figuring out where he belongs, there are several funny and poignant moments throughout this story. I loved it and I think it’s my favorite yet from the author.