Mindy Kim is pretty sure she has it all figured out. Things are going great with PAWs, the dog walking business she runs with her best friends Gabby Jordan and Priya Gupta. And things are always great with Mindy’s mom–it’s always been just the two of them at home and that’s just how Mindy likes it.
Except things are changing for Mindy at home and on the PAWs front. And she’s not sure she likes it. In fact, she’s pretty positive she hates it.
First Mindy’s mom has met someone–a total dork with an admittedly exceptional (and enormous) cat named Chonk. And as their relationship progresses Mindy isn’t sure she wants to make room for someone else in all of the family traditions she has with her mom.
Then Hazel starts at school. Gabby and Priya like the new girl immediately, but Mindy isn’t sure how to feel about sharing her best friends with someone else–especially when Hazel wants to join PAWs too.
With everything changing, Mindy’s resistance to change could lead to some big upheaval at home and with PAWs that could turn into a cat-tastrophe in .
Mindy Makes Some Space is the second book in the PAWs series which begins with Gabby Gets It Together. Although this book builds on what comes before, Mindy provides a helpful recap for any readers who decide to dive in without reading the first volume. Mindy and her mom are Korean, Gabby is biracial (her dad is shown with brown skin while her mom is lighter), Priya is Indian. The story takes place in Canada. Hazel uses a wheelchair.
Mindy has a lot of growing to do in this installment as she tries to deal with new people in her life. While totally realistic, her behavior can be pretty cringe-inducing with overt rudeness to her mom’s new boyfriend and hurtful snubs to keep Hazel out of PAWs.
Hazel is a great addition to the group (even if it takes Mindy some time to admit it) but, afraid of losing what she has with Gabby and Priya, Mindy does everything she can to keep Hazel out of PAWs. This includes questioning how Hazel will be able to walk dogs when she is in a wheelchair and instead trying to leave her to walk Chonk all by herself. While the ableism in Mindy’s behavior is pretty clear, it isn’t addressed by name which felt like a missed moment. Hazel does eventually confront Mindy about her behavior (and Gabby and Priya about their complicity by not speaking up). By the end of this installment, Mindy acknowledges her own bad behavior and that she’s going to have to work hard to fully make it up to Hazel.
Mindy Makes Some Space is another fun installment with a lot of humor while also tackling the prickly growing pains that can come with changing families and changing friend dynamics.
Possible Pairings: Home Sweet Forever Home by Rachele Alpine and Addy Rivera Sonda, Best Babysitters Ever by Caroline Cala, The Great Pet Heist by Emily Ecton and David Mottram, Real Friends by Shannon Hale, LeUyen Pham, and Jane Poole, Clara Humble and the Not-So-Super Powers by Anna Humphrey and Lisa Cinar, All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson, Allergic: A Graphic Novel by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter, Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier, Click by Kayla Miller, Good Dogs with Bad Haircuts Rachel Wenitsky, David Sidorov, Tor Freeman, Original Recipe by Jessica Young