July 13, 2022

REVIEW Freddie vs the Family Curse by Tracy Badua

Freddie vs the Family Curse by Tracy Badua 
Rating: 5 Stars
Release Date: May 3, 2022
Format: eBook + Audiobook (Personal Library)
Publisher: Clarion Books 

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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

About the Book

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.

Freddie Ruiz is cursed.

While other people may have bad days, Freddie and his family have had bad generations: from bird poop splatting on him during picture day to the many tumbles and trips that earned him the nickname Faceplant Freddie. He's learned to lay low and keep himself out of trouble--which means no fun, no friends, and definitely no risks.

But when he discovers a family heirloom, a century-old amulet from the Philippines that's supposed to bring good fortune, Freddie thinks his luck is finally about to change.

He couldn't be more wrong. Because the spirit of Freddie's cranky great-granduncle Ramon is trapped in the heirloom, and the evil spirits responsible for his death have returned with a vengeance. Now, Freddie and his cousin, Sharkey, have thirteen days to break the curse, or Freddie will join Ramon for an untimely afterlife in the amulet.

About the Author

Tracy Badua is a Filipino American author of books about young people with sunny hearts in a sometimes stormy world. By day, she is an attorney who works in national housing policy and programs, and by night, she squeezes in writing, family and pup time, and bites of her secret candy stash. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, chatty toddler, and photogenic Maltese.

Check out the author's website

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  1. This seems like the type of book I would be able to read along with my son and that would make us both very happy. Great review 😊

    Lauren //www.cko-coolkidsonly.blogspot.com

    1. That's awesome! I hope you get a chance to read the book together. Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog Lauren :)


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