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Freddie vs. The Family Curse

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In this thrilling and hilarious middle grade adventure, a young Filipino-American boy must team up with his ancestor to break the curse that’s haunted their family for generations. . . or be trapped in an amulet forever.  


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In this thrilling and hilarious middle grade adventure, a young Filipino-American boy must team up with his ancestor to break the curse that’s haunted their family for generations. . . or be trapped in an amulet forever.  

30 review for Freddie vs. The Family Curse

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alechia

    Love this book! It's compelling and magical, and so so funny! Kids will love it and root for Freddie on his journey to improving his luck and understanding his family's past. Highly recommend Love this book! It's compelling and magical, and so so funny! Kids will love it and root for Freddie on his journey to improving his luck and understanding his family's past. Highly recommend

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Freddie Ruiz has always had bad luck; it's why he is called "Faceplant Freddie". He keeps his head down, moves carefully, and limits his interests to RoboWarriors gaming cards. His great grandmother, Apong Rosing, tells him it is because of a family curse that occurred back during World War II, when she lived in the Philippines and her older brother, Ramon, became a soldier and was killed in battle. His cousin, Sharkey, lives next door, and since she is a Mendoza, E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Freddie Ruiz has always had bad luck; it's why he is called "Faceplant Freddie". He keeps his head down, moves carefully, and limits his interests to RoboWarriors gaming cards. His great grandmother, Apong Rosing, tells him it is because of a family curse that occurred back during World War II, when she lived in the Philippines and her older brother, Ramon, became a soldier and was killed in battle. His cousin, Sharkey, lives next door, and since she is a Mendoza, she has perfectly fine luck, and is an excellent break dancer who works with the Wyld Beats dance crew at their school. When Freddie finds an amulet in the garage while looking for glue for a school project (he's run out; that's how his luck goes!), he is surprised when it comes to life and holds the spirit of his great uncle Ramon! He finds out that Ramon stole the amulet for luck from his best friend, Ingo Agustin, before going on the mission during which he was killed, and that the family has suffered under Agustin's curse. Freddie has 13 days to find Ingo and have him remove the curse or the spirits will kill him! He and Sharkey try to research, but it's hard to find a 97 year old former soldier who may or may not have survived the war! Luckily, they track him down in Nevada, which is a bit too far from their San Diego home to take an Uber when he refuses to talk to them. Sharkey is supposed to compete in a break dancing competition in Las Vegas, but when she sprains her ankle due to Freddie's bad luck, the two decide that Freddie will take her place so they can travel there and stay in a hotel thanks to Wyld Beats sponsorship. The leader of the team, Dale, is very apprehensive, but Freddie works hard and doesn't do too badly, and challenges Dale to a RoboWarriors match to seal his place on the team. Apong Rosing decides she wants to go to the competition as well, and they are soon on their way. Time is of the essence, since the evil spirits are closing in, and the children manage to make it by bus to the Oasis nursing home where Ingo lives. They must create a distraction when the staff won't let them see Ingo, and this involves breakdancing which actually sets a few things on fire! Will they be able to find Ingo and discover the true nature of the curse, and get him to remove it? Strengths: This was the perfect balance of a lot of things. It had some social issues, since Freddie has some anxiety about his constant embarrassment. There's the cultural connection with a rich background of Filipino history and family traditions. There's even a little WWII history with the Bataan Death March. The inclusion of breakdancing was absolutely perfect, since break dancing is going to be included as a sport in the 2024 Olympics. Combine all of these things with funny scenes, a road trip, and a thread of self acceptance and personal growth, and this is an absolute winner. The short length helps, and the cover looks fun. There are a huge number of students to whom I can hand this. Definitely worthy of a Kirkus starred review. Weaknesses: The trip to Las Vegas, and Freddie's very quick inclusion in it, seemed a bit unlikely, but then I'm an adult worried about permission slips and logistics. Children are not going to worry about this, and the spirit deadline doesn't give Freddie much choice! What I really think: This was such a huge relief to read after ingesting a large number of lyrical, socially relevant, timely stories. It's possible to address these needs and include cultural content while still having a book that is a bit more light hearted and positive. After all, the information about the Filipino involvement in World War II is pretty dire, but it's handled in such an interesting and (dare I say it?) sweet way that what I took away from this was Ingo's spirit of forgiveness and the Ruiz's determination to move on after tragedy. Definitely my favorite book this month.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Belles Middle Grade Library

    This is 1 of my most highly anticipated releases. What an adventure of a story full of so much heart. This was such an intriguing story, & the whole idea of this family curse hooked me from the start. Add in the amulet & everything having to do with THAT-so gripping! The whole backstory of the family & the amulet was fascinating, & loved it all. Freddie took my heart right away. He’s such a sweet kid, who has had a rough hand dealt to him. School is hard enough, but for this poor kid? An embarra This is 1 of my most highly anticipated releases. What an adventure of a story full of so much heart. This was such an intriguing story, & the whole idea of this family curse hooked me from the start. Add in the amulet & everything having to do with THAT-so gripping! The whole backstory of the family & the amulet was fascinating, & loved it all. Freddie took my heart right away. He’s such a sweet kid, who has had a rough hand dealt to him. School is hard enough, but for this poor kid? An embarrassing nightmare. The author makes you love him & feel such empathy for him so well with her amazing writing, & so you are cheering him on the whole way. I loved the cousin relationship in here, & their dynamic is the best. The humor was so good too! I absolutely loved Ramon, & Freddie’s great-grandmother Apong Rosing. They definitely have my heart. The ending was PHENOMENAL! Every. Single. Part. Loved the Filipino history & traditions included in here, as well as some WWII history that was heartbreaking, & I learned for the 1st time-which yet again shows they are not teaching every important part of history in school. This is full of family, friendship, adventure, humor, folklore, culture, & heart. There’s even breakdancing & a Las Vegas road-trip! So many things in here adding more depth & layers of awesomeness to the story. Great lessons in here as well, including you can’t let fear run your life. Curse or no curse, life can be hard sometimes. There’s nothing you can do about it, but do the best you can. This comes out May 3rd & I highly recommend it! BEAUTIFUL cover by Alane Grace too!💜

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kalyn Josephson

    I loved everything about Freddie - so much so that I've read it 4 times! There is so much humor and heart in this story and I've only enjoyed it more with every read. It's such a wonderful tale of family, ancestral connections, and mythology come to life, not to mention it has a breakdancing competition and its own trading card game. Tracy's writing is so fun and bingeable, and I can't wait to have a copy of this book in my hands so I can read it again! I loved everything about Freddie - so much so that I've read it 4 times! There is so much humor and heart in this story and I've only enjoyed it more with every read. It's such a wonderful tale of family, ancestral connections, and mythology come to life, not to mention it has a breakdancing competition and its own trading card game. Tracy's writing is so fun and bingeable, and I can't wait to have a copy of this book in my hands so I can read it again!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Eule Luftschloss

    trigger warning (view spoiler)[ memory loss, grief, bullying (hide spoiler)] Freddy finds something shiny in the garage and picks it up, puts it in his pocket and forgets it - until it turns out he accidentally activated it and has thirteen days to break an old curse or he'll die. This one is inspired by Fillipino mythology and you know the drill, I am a white person with no particular knowledge of this flavour of religion and myths. You need to look elsewhere for verification if the contents of t trigger warning (view spoiler)[ memory loss, grief, bullying (hide spoiler)] Freddy finds something shiny in the garage and picks it up, puts it in his pocket and forgets it - until it turns out he accidentally activated it and has thirteen days to break an old curse or he'll die. This one is inspired by Fillipino mythology and you know the drill, I am a white person with no particular knowledge of this flavour of religion and myths. You need to look elsewhere for verification if the contents of this book fit the bill. Freddy is kind of Neville Longbottom with a pinch of Goofy: Everything he touches explodes, melts, or does something else to embarass him, preferrably in front of his peers. It's been always like this, and it seems to run in the family. His grandmother tells him it's a curse, his father tells him they went to America for a reason and they have to ignore old superstitions to fit in. His cousin tells him to please don't drag her into his messes. Freddy doesn't really know what to believe, but he constantly tries to sneak in good luck charms from various cultures, because it's not as if he has anything to loose, but his mom always picks up on it, rolls her eyes and confiscates the items in question. Then, one day, Freddy finds a coin which leads to him meeting the ghost of an ancestor, who tells him they have to work together and oh by the way, there is a deadline, in the truest meaning of the word. Some heavy topics concerning WWII get mentioned, but only in passing. This could be a great starting point for some research. It was a fun adventure, and I am sure that if I were in the target audience I would have adored it, especially if I were not only in the relevant age but also had some ties to Fillipino culture. As it is, I had fun to get a peek into another set of beliefs, and I really, really enjoy middlegrade fantasy based on different cultures. The arc was provided by the publisher.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Pauline

    REPRESENTATION MATTERS. This was such a fun book about a young Filipino boy who struggles not only with the normal middle school issues of popularity and grades, but a family curse on top of it all! As someone who's been so used to not seeing my culture or heritage really represented in stories or movies, I loved the way Tracy just casually included elements that I remember from my Filipino upbringing. (The banana ketchup! "Look with your eyes, not with your mouth." The worry that your leftovers REPRESENTATION MATTERS. This was such a fun book about a young Filipino boy who struggles not only with the normal middle school issues of popularity and grades, but a family curse on top of it all! As someone who's been so used to not seeing my culture or heritage really represented in stories or movies, I loved the way Tracy just casually included elements that I remember from my Filipino upbringing. (The banana ketchup! "Look with your eyes, not with your mouth." The worry that your leftovers lunch will alienate you from the other kids at school.) At the same time, she acknowledged the challenges many of us face in finding the balance between honoring our heritage while trying to "fit in." This is a fantastic book, not just for young Filpino/a/x kids, but for everyone to understand the importance of that balance. Plus, it's just honestly fun and enjoyable to read. DISCLAIMER: I am friends with the author in real life, but I promise that didn't influence this review (other than the fact that I got really excited to be indirectly mentioned in the acknowledgments).

  7. 5 out of 5

    Karah Sutton

    Balancing funny antics, heartbreaking histories, and a fast-paced plot, I was gripped by this story from beginning to end. The premise of this book is perfect, and Badua executes on it with such skill as to seem effortless. We follow poor Freddie, whose family has been cursed with minor inconveniences for generations. For him it manifests as clumsiness and a tendency to get into scrapes that usually result in embarrassment -- what could be worse for a middle-schooler? --but it has also resulted Balancing funny antics, heartbreaking histories, and a fast-paced plot, I was gripped by this story from beginning to end. The premise of this book is perfect, and Badua executes on it with such skill as to seem effortless. We follow poor Freddie, whose family has been cursed with minor inconveniences for generations. For him it manifests as clumsiness and a tendency to get into scrapes that usually result in embarrassment -- what could be worse for a middle-schooler? --but it has also resulted in tanking his self confidence. It's tough to put yourself out there and to try new things when everything always goes wrong. When he finds the amulet which is the source of the family curse, he teams up with his cousin Sharkie, his Apong Rosing, and the spirit of his great-uncle Ramon to track down someone wronged by their family a century ago. Freddie's Filipino family is the heart of this story, with a lot of their quips making me laugh out loud, and curse stories are always compelling to me, especially when breaking the curse is tied to the hero's personal growth. Freddie, and readers, will learn a lot about life's challenges both big and small, laughing along the way.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ari (Books. Libraries. Also, cats.)

    me: *sees "middle grade" and "Filipino-American" in the same sentence* *adds to TBR* me: *sees "middle grade" and "Filipino-American" in the same sentence* *adds to TBR*

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dusty

    RATING: 5 STARS Freddie is the unluckiest kid, and it’s all due to the family curse. From breaking his projects to accidentally frying the computers at school; a particularly nasty fall earned him the nickname “Faceplant Freddie”. He’s desperate to break the streak, so when he finds a “lucky amulet” in the garage it seems like fate. Freddie may have bitten off more than he can chew though because the amulet actually contains the spirit of his great uncle Ramon and he’s started a thirteen-day RATING: 5 STARS Freddie is the unluckiest kid, and it’s all due to the family curse. From breaking his projects to accidentally frying the computers at school; a particularly nasty fall earned him the nickname “Faceplant Freddie”. He’s desperate to break the streak, so when he finds a “lucky amulet” in the garage it seems like fate. Freddie may have bitten off more than he can chew though because the amulet actually contains the spirit of his great uncle Ramon and he’s started a thirteen-day countdown of doom (thirteen is such an unlucky number). If he can’t break the curse in time, he will join his uncle in the amulet forever. A simple task for an unlucky kid, his cousin, and their ghostly ancestor, right? I thought so too (please note the sarcasm in that remark). On the surface, this story is a journey to breaking the family curse, but on the way, Freddie (and Sharkey) are also learning more about the family's history. I loved how the book addressed some cultural topics and maintained the lighthearted tone and feel of the best middle-grade books I’ve read. I thoroughly enjoyed the brief intro and peek into Filipino culture. As a side note, I want to make clear that I am a white person with no personal ties to Filipino history and/or culture so I can’t comment on the authenticity of the representation in this book (Please check out the page of an #OwnVoices reviewer if you’d like that type of information). Freddie is such a relatable character. I empathized with his embarrassment over all the mishaps the curse has caused and his nerves over doing fun kid things in the fear of the curse causing even more mishaps. I also heavily agreed with Sharkey and Ramon’s perspective on reminding Freddie that he shouldn’t let the curse hold him back and that sometimes life just sucks. Narrator Edward Mendoza delivered an A+ performance and really brought the humor in Freddie's perspective to life. I’ll have to check out other books Mr. Mendoza has narrated, cause he was absolutely hilarious. Overall, an entertaining and heartwarming middle-grade fantasy read. I loved Tracy Badua’s debut, so I’m excited to read any other books she may publish in the future! If you like Kwame Mbalia’s Tristan Strong series or Carlos Hernandez’s Sal and Gabi books, then you should definitely check out Freddie vs. the Family Curse. I promise you won’t regret it! TRIGGER WARNINGS: Bullying, Grief, Memory Loss

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mark Buxton

    What worked: As the title indicates, Freddie’s family has been cursed with bad luck for generations. Most of the bad luck is simply annoying, as he runs out of glue while completing a last-minute project, breaks a printer, arrives late to class, and trips and falls flat on his face. Freddie thinks his luck may change when he finds an amulet hidden away in the garage, but the opposite is true. He activates a family curse and now has thirteen days before he dies unless he can figure out a way to st What worked: As the title indicates, Freddie’s family has been cursed with bad luck for generations. Most of the bad luck is simply annoying, as he runs out of glue while completing a last-minute project, breaks a printer, arrives late to class, and trips and falls flat on his face. Freddie thinks his luck may change when he finds an amulet hidden away in the garage, but the opposite is true. He activates a family curse and now has thirteen days before he dies unless he can figure out a way to stop the countdown. The story will keep readers guessing since bad luck can pop up at any time. The amulet contains the spirit of Freddie’s great-granduncle, Ramon, and he behaves like many friendly ghosts found in other stories. He died during WW II in the Philippines and hasn’t interacted with the living for many years. He understands enough of the modern world to misinterpret situations and add humor to the book. He spends much of his time teasing Freddie before switching around to instill him with hope. Freddie’s unfortunate accidents beg the question of is this bad luck, or is it the ups and downs of everybody’s lives? The plot becomes a mystery, as Freddie and his cousin Sharkey try to figure out a way to end the curse. Ramon is able to share some Filipino history and culture, and he finally reveals a secret that will be very helpful in Freddie’s search. Sharkey is a star on a competitive dance team, and it seems to be an unimportant side story. However, a regional tournament is coming up, and it becomes a catalyst for resolving the family jinx. It’s an unexpected twist to a middle-grade ghost mystery. What didn’t work as well: The imminence of Freddie’s death creates tension as the thirteen days go by, but not knowing the cause of his death leaves the foreshadowing vague. The evil spirits aren’t characters in the story, so it’s more difficult to see them as threats. Of course, it’s impossible to guess future bad luck, but having a tangible danger to consider might increase the suspense. The Final Verdict: Life is full of good and bad. The blend of Filipino culture, ghosts, and humor make this a very entertaining book. The countdown of the curse makes the story suspenseful while the climax brings the events to a happy ending. I recommend you give this book a shot.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Superstitions have existed for centuries, and even though they vary from culture to culture, their effects remain constant. Twelve-year-old Freddie Ruiz is the unfortunate sufferer of a curse that has plagued his family for generations. When he discovers a long-lost anting-anting in his garage and accidentally activates it one day, Freddie is introduced to the spirit of his great-granduncle Ramon whose spirit has been trapped in a coin since his untimely death decades before. But now that the an Superstitions have existed for centuries, and even though they vary from culture to culture, their effects remain constant. Twelve-year-old Freddie Ruiz is the unfortunate sufferer of a curse that has plagued his family for generations. When he discovers a long-lost anting-anting in his garage and accidentally activates it one day, Freddie is introduced to the spirit of his great-granduncle Ramon whose spirit has been trapped in a coin since his untimely death decades before. But now that the anting-anting is active, Freddie only has thirteen days to resolve the curse before he joins Ramon in his metal prison—as long as he can outrun the spirits on his tail. This intriguing middle grade novel introduces readers to many of the thoughts and beliefs of Filipino culture through an approachable young boy who is so afraid of his family’s curse that he has chosen to distance himself from any potential danger. Of course, this means that Freddie does not participate in soccer or dancing or anything that he might enjoy, and it means that friendship is rare. As the story unfolds, Freddie finds that, though his concerns are legitimate, there is a difference between luck and life. The timeline the anting-anting provides keeps the stakes high throughout the novel, leading Freddie to make bold decisions that he might not otherwise do, while helping him realize just how much control he truly has over his life. Middle grade readers who have ever felt themselves to be surrounded by misfortune will connect with Freddie’s plight and will consider the possibility that they may be able to affect more change in their lives than they initially thought. This realization is inspiring, encouraging hard work and bravery to attempt the things young people truly desire in their lives. Throughout the story, references to Filipino culture and Tagalog language are included, deepening readers’ connection to Freddie and his familial background. Moments of light horror appear occasionally within the narrative, as well, giving readers a spark of additional flavor to enhance Freddie’s adventure. Like a well-crafted dish, this book includes many engaging elements; it is a rich and intriguing novel to include in libraries for middle grade readers.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rosie Rizk

    Freddie is cursed. It's a family inheritance. Anytime he tries to do anything, his bad luck screws him up somehow. He's "Faceplant Freddie," infamous since second grade for constantly tripping, knocking things (and people) over, and for being the biggest klutz ever.  When Freddie finds an anting-anting in his garage and accidentally activates it, the Filipino good luck charm turns out to be quite the opposite. The old charm comes together with a ghost of his great uncle Ramon, the very one who'd Freddie is cursed. It's a family inheritance. Anytime he tries to do anything, his bad luck screws him up somehow. He's "Faceplant Freddie," infamous since second grade for constantly tripping, knocking things (and people) over, and for being the biggest klutz ever.  When Freddie finds an anting-anting in his garage and accidentally activates it, the Filipino good luck charm turns out to be quite the opposite. The old charm comes together with a ghost of his great uncle Ramon, the very one who'd brought the family curse upon them. With limited time to spare, and with the curse growing more lethal each day, Freddie, his cousin Sharkie, and Ramon must do all they can to break the curse and save them all. Freddie's lived in fear of his curse all his life, unlike his neighbor/best friend/cousin, Sharkie, who is an awesome dancer and a very popular girl. Freddie has always been too scared to try anything new, but with everything going on, Freddie comes to realize that maybe not all the bad things in life are the curse's fault. After all, his family is able to get by with their jobs and their lives, even with all the bad that comes their way. Maybe he does need to take some small risks in life in order to succeed. Sharkie and Freddie made a great team despite their differences. It was nice to read a boy-girl friendship without any romantic complications. And as bad as Freddie's curse was, the author managed to turn most of them into humorous moments for the reader. The mix of urgency, curses, Filipino-American culture, humor, and teamwork made this a fantastic read for middle grade and older readers.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bekka

    Freddie vs. the Family Curse is a delightful Middle Grade read about family, history, and how they impact our identities. Freddie is the fourth generation in his family cursed, but his parents don't believe the curse exists. Living with his parents and his great-grandmother, Freddie navigates life knowing that somehow, someway something will go wrong. This cautious and also chaotic state of being unfortunately makes Freddie fairly friendless, minus his next-door-neighbor and cousin, and the subj Freddie vs. the Family Curse is a delightful Middle Grade read about family, history, and how they impact our identities. Freddie is the fourth generation in his family cursed, but his parents don't believe the curse exists. Living with his parents and his great-grandmother, Freddie navigates life knowing that somehow, someway something will go wrong. This cautious and also chaotic state of being unfortunately makes Freddie fairly friendless, minus his next-door-neighbor and cousin, and the subject of some terrible bullying at school. When Freddie awakens an amulet that his great-uncle is trapped within, it sets off a series of events that will leave Freddie in peril if he does not break the family curse! This was such a heartfelt and hysterical story. As a Middle Grade book, I found it to perfectly convey important lessons for Freddie, interesting and sad facts about the Philippines in World War II, representation of a Filipino-American family, and awesome Fantasy/Filipino Mythology aspects. It was a joy to read and I loved joining Freddie for his adventure. Many thanks to the publisher for the gifted copy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Deke Moulton

    I'll definitely preface this by saying I started reading this in the ER, but I felt like the beginning was a bit slow but once it got going, it really got going! Freddie accidentally unleashes a death curse upon himself in a desperate search for some good luck and it's quite a realistically middle-grade attempt to solve the problem. (There's a LOT of contemporary fantasies where kids end up doing stuff that most parents would put a stop to like, immediately) so it was really nice to see kid's be I'll definitely preface this by saying I started reading this in the ER, but I felt like the beginning was a bit slow but once it got going, it really got going! Freddie accidentally unleashes a death curse upon himself in a desperate search for some good luck and it's quite a realistically middle-grade attempt to solve the problem. (There's a LOT of contemporary fantasies where kids end up doing stuff that most parents would put a stop to like, immediately) so it was really nice to see kid's best-laid plans completely going to shit because of a well-meaning but firm parent. I loved the Filipino representation that was so nicely done in the book - from food, to generational trauma. The effects of war was nicely represented as well, horrific but totally in an appropriate way for kids to understand (Batan Death March). Ultimately, I'm probably going to reread the beginning few chapters again, because I'm sure they are amazing, because the book is thoroughly hilarious, perfectly paced, perfectly middle grade and ends in a satsifying conclusion.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Owens

    I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. Freddie vs. the Family Curse is Tracy Badua’s debut novel. Targeted towards middle grade readers, it features main character Freddie Ruiz, a Filipino American who lives in San Diego with and/or near several members of his extended family. Freddie is convinced that someone has cursed the entire Ruiz family with bad luck, with Freddie having the worst luck of all. As the story progr I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. Freddie vs. the Family Curse is Tracy Badua’s debut novel. Targeted towards middle grade readers, it features main character Freddie Ruiz, a Filipino American who lives in San Diego with and/or near several members of his extended family. Freddie is convinced that someone has cursed the entire Ruiz family with bad luck, with Freddie having the worst luck of all. As the story progresses, Freddie discovers the source of the curse on his family and how he can reverse it, but he must act quickly or else he will become it’s latest casualty. This is ultimately a story about personal growth by stepping outside of your comfort zone, and it’s nice to watch Freddie as he works this out for himself. It’s also a story about forgiveness and family loyalty. I gave Freddie vs. the Family Curse five stars on Goodreads. I recommend it for all young readers, and for older readers who enjoy children’s books. I’ll be keeping an eye open for the author’s next book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Usai

    CW/TW: mentions of death, mentions of war, micro-aggressions Rep: Filipino/AAPI You know how I wax lyrical but LISTEN WHEN I SAY: it is PRICELESS (I repeat, PRICELESS) to feel seen, to be seen, in a work of contemporary fiction (I've given up with 'being seen' in 'classics'). In addition to several laugh-out-loud moments, thanks to Badua's amazing wit (more of that later), Freddie vs. The Family Curse is a delightful adventure focusing on middle-schooler Freddie Ruiz, who has been *cursed* by a fa CW/TW: mentions of death, mentions of war, micro-aggressions Rep: Filipino/AAPI You know how I wax lyrical but LISTEN WHEN I SAY: it is PRICELESS (I repeat, PRICELESS) to feel seen, to be seen, in a work of contemporary fiction (I've given up with 'being seen' in 'classics'). In addition to several laugh-out-loud moments, thanks to Badua's amazing wit (more of that later), Freddie vs. The Family Curse is a delightful adventure focusing on middle-schooler Freddie Ruiz, who has been *cursed* by a family talisman. Tl;dr, he'll die in just under two weeks if he doesn't return the talisman to its rightful owner - all in a day's work of being a tween! Along for the ride is a cast of well-rounded complementary characters - my favorite of which is Apong Rosie, whose combination of tough love and unapologetic superstition achingly reminded me of my grandmother, mother, and aunts. Badua's storytelling is engaging, and she has a flair for capturing the awkwardness and insecurities that come with being in middle school. From age-relevant interests (Robo-warrior, anyone?), heart-warming Filipino food, and a deceased ancestor in ghost form following him around, Freddie is the reluctant hero you will root for all the way to the end. In between the uplifting repartee, Badua also weaves in historical facts - the Philippine-American War - and subtly addresses micro-agressions faced by Filipino-Americans, who until today, have one foot in either culture. Highly recommended read, regardless of your age, and especially if you are Pinoy! Thank you to Tracy Badua, Clarion Books and BooksForwardPR for a #gifted proof in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rochelle Hassan

    I absolutely loved this lighthearted, hilarious MG adventure! It's about a Filipino-American kid who's spent his whole life dealing with a family curse that causes bad luck. He's suffered countless embarrassing situations and awkward moments thanks to the curse, and his social life is in shambles because of it, too. But when he finds the amulet at the root of the curse, he finally gets his chance to break it - unless the curse manages to kill him first. Freddie is such a great narrator. Engaging I absolutely loved this lighthearted, hilarious MG adventure! It's about a Filipino-American kid who's spent his whole life dealing with a family curse that causes bad luck. He's suffered countless embarrassing situations and awkward moments thanks to the curse, and his social life is in shambles because of it, too. But when he finds the amulet at the root of the curse, he finally gets his chance to break it - unless the curse manages to kill him first. Freddie is such a great narrator. Engaging, clever, upbeat. And his cousin Sharkey is tough and smart, exactly the kind of girl I loved reading about as a kid (and still do). They make a great duo and were my favorite part of the book! At its core, it's a really touching story of family, forgiveness, and owning who you are. I can't say enough good things about it - I'm so excited for kids to get their hands on this.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sonja Thomas

    What a fun, fast-paced middle grade adventure! Twelve-year-old Freddie has battled a family curse causing him bad luck his entire life, including a non-existent social life. After finding an amulet that should bring him good luck, now Freddie has only thirteen days to break the curse or the curse will break (aka kill) him! Filled with folklore, humor, and heart, you can’t help but cheer Freddie on as he finally takes risks—and even has some fun—with his cousin Sharkey by his side, to beat the evi What a fun, fast-paced middle grade adventure! Twelve-year-old Freddie has battled a family curse causing him bad luck his entire life, including a non-existent social life. After finding an amulet that should bring him good luck, now Freddie has only thirteen days to break the curse or the curse will break (aka kill) him! Filled with folklore, humor, and heart, you can’t help but cheer Freddie on as he finally takes risks—and even has some fun—with his cousin Sharkey by his side, to beat the evil spirits and live a life of his own design. Thank you to author, Tracy Badua, and the publisher for an advanced copy of this awesome book!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Larissa

    Freddie has always had bad luck. No matter what he does to try and counter it bad luck follows him every where. And why wouldn't it his family is cursed! There is nothing he can do to stop it but always having to say no to doing things and never trying something new is getting exhausting. One day he finds a family heirloom that just might change everything. Could Freddie finally turn the luck around or will the spirits who cause his bad luck make it impossible? This is just a fun title. I love ho Freddie has always had bad luck. No matter what he does to try and counter it bad luck follows him every where. And why wouldn't it his family is cursed! There is nothing he can do to stop it but always having to say no to doing things and never trying something new is getting exhausting. One day he finds a family heirloom that just might change everything. Could Freddie finally turn the luck around or will the spirits who cause his bad luck make it impossible? This is just a fun title. I love how Sharky supports Freddie and doesn't question when he explains about the sprits who are causing a lot of the bad luck. I also love how she drives Freddie to try new thing and not let his fear of the bad luck stand in his way. She embraces who he is and supports him. Which is just lovely to see from family. Thank you so very much Clarion Books and Netgalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Grachielle

    As a Filipino-American born and raised in the Philippines (and even wrote a college paper about Filipinos’ superstitious beliefs), I was genuinely curious if Tracy Badua would be able to accurately capture the Filipino culture and superstitions in her writing. She did not disappoint! Everything in the book is so accurate from the “no sweeping the floor at night” to the “no talking back/contradicting your elders” rule. I love her light-hearted writing and the way she vividly describes everything t As a Filipino-American born and raised in the Philippines (and even wrote a college paper about Filipinos’ superstitious beliefs), I was genuinely curious if Tracy Badua would be able to accurately capture the Filipino culture and superstitions in her writing. She did not disappoint! Everything in the book is so accurate from the “no sweeping the floor at night” to the “no talking back/contradicting your elders” rule. I love her light-hearted writing and the way she vividly describes everything that I could even smell Freddie’s garlic fried rice while reading her book. I feel like Tracy transported me back to my childhood in the Philippines. 🙂

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Vitalis

    We all know from the title that this book is about a kid who lives under the shadow of a family curse--what the title doesn't tell us is how hilarious this book is. Poor Freddie has a lifetime of tripping, accidents, and bad luck all because of a curse tied to an amulet he finds hidden in the garage. When he finds his grandmother's long-dead brother trapped in the amulet, he realizes the only hope of putting the ghost to rest––and freeing the family from generations of back luck––is to break the We all know from the title that this book is about a kid who lives under the shadow of a family curse--what the title doesn't tell us is how hilarious this book is. Poor Freddie has a lifetime of tripping, accidents, and bad luck all because of a curse tied to an amulet he finds hidden in the garage. When he finds his grandmother's long-dead brother trapped in the amulet, he realizes the only hope of putting the ghost to rest––and freeing the family from generations of back luck––is to break the curse. But doing that will require Freddie to do the one thing he's avoided all his life--put himself at the center of attention. This book is fantastic from start to finish!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Caris

    Hilariously funny and endearingly Filipino, FREDDIE VS THE FAMILY CURSE feels like a warm, familiar hug in words. So much respect for Tracy for thoughtfully weaving in stories about a crucial event in our history. What a tribute! I feel bad for laughing at Freddie's bad luck (how can one person have too much of them), but I loved that he'd get back up every single time. Sharkey is charming, and my heart breaks (also partly annoyed) for Ramon. I think many of us have an Apong Rosing in our lives, Hilariously funny and endearingly Filipino, FREDDIE VS THE FAMILY CURSE feels like a warm, familiar hug in words. So much respect for Tracy for thoughtfully weaving in stories about a crucial event in our history. What a tribute! I feel bad for laughing at Freddie's bad luck (how can one person have too much of them), but I loved that he'd get back up every single time. Sharkey is charming, and my heart breaks (also partly annoyed) for Ramon. I think many of us have an Apong Rosing in our lives, so please hug them while they're still here. I read this all in one go, and I'm excited for Tracy's next books. Also: please, universe, make this a movie.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Librarylady

    Freddie and his family have been cursed for years. When he finds an amulet in the garage, he has to break the curse within thirteen days or he he will die. You would think that this would lead to a fast paced adventure, but it seemed to drag on for thirteen weeks. The concept was great, but the execution just didn't do it for me. The pacing was way to slow. Ramón Was not believable as a 17 year old From the 40s. And finally, after a whole book on breaking an ancient curse, the message is that yo Freddie and his family have been cursed for years. When he finds an amulet in the garage, he has to break the curse within thirteen days or he he will die. You would think that this would lead to a fast paced adventure, but it seemed to drag on for thirteen weeks. The concept was great, but the execution just didn't do it for me. The pacing was way to slow. Ramón Was not believable as a 17 year old From the 40s. And finally, after a whole book on breaking an ancient curse, the message is that you make your own luck. I was not a fan.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Loved Freddie and his family and the breadth of culture spoken of and hinted at within the book (butter cookie tins as contents for sewing kit, ginger salve for sprained leg: these are taken direct from my Chinese upbringing!) And maybe it’s because I grew to like Freddie that I was pained by the Many Ways in which he is ridiculed by the curse, from falls to underwear being by exposed, to loud farts (could be worse, a smelly one no?) The pains on Freddie aside, there is a simple message of just t Loved Freddie and his family and the breadth of culture spoken of and hinted at within the book (butter cookie tins as contents for sewing kit, ginger salve for sprained leg: these are taken direct from my Chinese upbringing!) And maybe it’s because I grew to like Freddie that I was pained by the Many Ways in which he is ridiculed by the curse, from falls to underwear being by exposed, to loud farts (could be worse, a smelly one no?) The pains on Freddie aside, there is a simple message of just trying and just being yourself that is valid. A worthwhile addition to your library/TBR pile.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Dassori

    What a spirited family romp, in more ways than one. Freddie and his family-alive and dead- come together to put the Ruiz family curse to bed once and for all and try to save Freddie’s life. Full of charming embarrassments and relatable middle grade moments, I loved Freddie’s adventure and excellent company. Middle grade readers will fly through this story with glee and root for Freddie as he learns to make his own luck.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Derrick

    This book was perfection. It balances so many elements with incredible dexterity: Filipino folklore, a high-stakes adventure, relatable middle-school angst, and humour...so much humour! Seriously, this book is so funny! Freddie is a witty and endearing protagonist whom I was quickly rooting for. And as an Asian, I so wish this was a book I could've read as an eleven-year old! Cannot recommend enough! This book was perfection. It balances so many elements with incredible dexterity: Filipino folklore, a high-stakes adventure, relatable middle-school angst, and humour...so much humour! Seriously, this book is so funny! Freddie is a witty and endearing protagonist whom I was quickly rooting for. And as an Asian, I so wish this was a book I could've read as an eleven-year old! Cannot recommend enough!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This was such a delight and I was so happy to read an ARC! FREDDIE VS THE FAMILY CURSE is fun, exciting, and full of heart. It explores family and luck in such a poignant and charming way, and nails that very specific middle school feeling of trying to figure out where exactly you fit in. Tracy’s writing draws the narrative together in an engaging and compulsively readable way, and Freddie’s voice jumps off the page. I can’t wait for FREDDIE to be out in the world!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shauna Morrison

    Tracy Badua did a great job with this middle-grade novel. I love that she included Filipino culture and history while Freddie was trying to remove the family curse. I definitely learned some history while reading this book, which is awesome. I loved the family dynamics between Apong Rosing and Ramon, Freddie and Sharkey, and Freddie and his parents. Looking forward to reading more books from Tracy in the future.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jonah

    This was a wonderful combination of humor and excitement (suspense, even) that touches poignantly on familial bonds, middle school social angst, cultural awareness, veteran sacrifices, and Philippine history. I recommend it for adults and middle-grade kids alike, from all walks of life. Brava, Ms. Badua!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Morrell

    I really loved this sweet middle grade fantasy that moved with a fast pace. Freddie is a 12 year old that finds an amulet that must be returned to the owner in 13 days or he will be claimed by the family curse. Excellent themes and great funny moments.

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