Summary: Squad Goals (Hearts & Crafts #1)
Squad Goals (Hearts & Crafts #1) is the first in a new middle grade series about Mackenzie Miller, a new seventh-grader who calls herself a “maker.” Mackenzie loves projects especially when they involve crafting artsy things or planning things. After her parents’ divorce and her father’s remarriage, it’s just Kenzie and her mom and Kenzie wants her mom to find a boyfriend.
Last year, her BFFs also dumped her and Kenzie is convinced she can try to win them back this year while working hard to make new friends. In the spirit of making, she quickly finds herself embroiled in a fundraiser to help get some of the Band kids in her school (she’s also in Band) new instruments. But can Mackenzie balance it all?
This was a fun book! For a while, I just read it because I liked MacKenzie and enjoyed seeing all she had going on in her life, but there’s a poignant lesson near the end of the story and that made me like this one more. Mackenzie has a great relationship with both of her parents, even though they’re divorced. She’s also close to her grandfather whose wife has died. Her best friend is an animal lover with a pet reptile that plays a fun role in the story.
Mackenzie is a really interesting character. She loves her friends and supports them deeply, but she has trouble letting other people help her. I strongly identified with her in that way because I’ve been there. Doing the fundraiser, trying to parent her mother, and care for her friends all while being a tween with her own issues was a lot for her. I liked seeing her figure stuff out in the end.
I think this is one of those books that may not win the Newberry but will be LOVED and adored by tween readers. It reminds me of books like Pizza My Heart and Alpaca My Bags, both of which I enjoyed and will resonate hard with the tween crowd.
Overall: Squad Goals (Hearts & Crafts #1)
Squad Goals (Hearts & Crafts #1) is a relatable, enjoyable middle grade book about crafting, friendships, and letting others help you. With a cast of lovable characters, a protagonist with divorced parents, and a fundraiser at the center of its plot, this story will appeal to tween girls (and boys) dealing with similar issues to Mackenzie’s. I really enjoyed this one and can see the series quickly becoming a hit.