Myrtle Takes Tea by Alexander Stacey
It is unlikely that lonely and depressed 9-year-old Myrtle Madison will pass the fourth grade, and even less likely that she will care. Stressed out by mean Catholic school teachers and classmates and her parents’ constant money problems, Myrtle has checked out of her American suburban life altogether. All that matters to Myrtle is her bizarre obsession with drinking tea, along with her prized toy rabbit Earl Grey and an after-school apprenticeship at Tigerhill and Castleton's, a local tea shop. When Myrtle is misdiagnosed at school with LSDD, Learning and Social Deficit Disorder, and learns she will have to take a mind-numbing medication, she desperately runs away from school to the tea shop and hides in the basement where she discovers the Twin Kingdoms of Tcha and Arabica, the kingdoms of tea and coffee who are at war. In Tcha, Myrtle meets the Duke of Earl Grey: aristocratic hare, celebrity master sword-fighter, lover of luxury and the good life, and hater of the paparazzi who document his every move. He immediately becomes Myrtle's new best friend and replaces the toy rabbit. The Duke teaches her fencing and the art of swordplay. Myrtle quickly becomes a champion fencer and finds that in the battle for peace with Kingdom Arabica, as well in the battle against depression, the sword is perhaps more her cup of tea than tea itself!