Lupe is in 6th grade and about to embark on the time-honored tradition of learning to square dance in 6th grade PE class. If you're in your 40s, you remember being forced to do this, don't you? And "dressing out" for PE? Shudder. It's the stuff of middle school nightmares.
The premise seemed a tad antiquated, but I can't really speak to kids' experiences in PE in schools / states other than my own. Both my kiddos managed to avoid PE altogether in middle school. In high school they took the online health course, pre-COVID, and they got PE credit for participating on school sports teams, so my kiddos were never subjected to this particular form of middle school torture, and thank goodness! I'm just not sure how many still are.
Lupe's not a very likeable character in the beginning, and you kinda have to grit your teeth and cross your fingers that she'll grow out of it. She does and square dancing -- alone, without a partner -- helps her mature.
At first she fights the square-dancing assignment tooth-and-nail. The first song's lyrics are based in symptoms for an STD (sexually transmitted disease). The principal changes the song.
When she protests that the boys get to ask the girls to dance but not vice versa, the principal even changes that -- for next year. This year's pairings, or lack of them, still stand.
And when Lupe finds the second song's lyrics were racist or used by racists, and her best friend is Black, and she's afraid she'll be hurt by the lyrics -- she raises her concerns to the principal and the song changes, yet again.
But the assignment -- that they are going to square dance -- does not.
Lupe Wong do-si-doh's her way through a school-wide performance and proves she's a pretty good dancer, to boot (ha! get the pun?!).