for Sal & Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
Salvador Vidón recently moved from Connecticut to Miami with his Papi (a calamity physicist), and his white “American Stepmom” (a vice principal). Every student at his new progressive arts school has a passion. Sal’s is magic, but he has a secret talent, too: the ability to extract people and objects from parallel universes. This includes versions of his late mother, whom he calls Mami Muerta, and she’s causing tension at home (most Mami Muertas haven’t been happy about American Stepmom). When Sal opens a portal in the locker of Yasmany, a bully, and extracts a dead chicken, he’s introduced to Gabi Reál in the principal’s office. She’s the smartest kid in school, and determined to discover Sal’s secret. As Sal gets to know Gabi and her family—mother, multiple dads, and infant brother, who’s sick and in the NICU—he’s also considering the loss of his mom, whom, he realizes, he’ll never bring back exactly as he knew her, and making deeper connections with his family now. He’s also making other friends, including, surprisingly, Yasmany. Full of action, kid-centered humor, and warmth, this clever science fiction novel grounded in Cuban culture and Cuban humor is told in Sal’s hilarious deadpan voice. Sal also has Type 1 diabetes; how he lives with this is treated as an everyday fact of his life in this first volume in a new series. (Ages 10-13)
CCBC Choices 2020. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020. Used with permission.
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents a brilliant sci-fi romp with Cuban influence that poses this question: What would you do if you had the power to reach through time and space and retrieve anything you want, including your mother, who is no longer living (in this universe, anyway)? How did a raw chicken get inside Yasmany's locker? When Sal Vidon meets Gabi Real for the first time, it isn't under the best of circumstances. Sal is in the principal's office for the third time in three days, and it's still the first week of school. Gabi, student council president and editor of the school paper, is there to support her friend Yasmany, who just picked a fight with Sal. She is determined to prove that somehow, Sal planted a raw chicken in Yasmany's locker, even though nobody saw him do it and the bloody poultry has since mysteriously disappeared. Sal prides himself on being an excellent magician, but for this sleight of hand, he relied on a talent no one would guess . . . except maybe Gabi, whose sharp eyes never miss a trick. When Gabi learns that he's capable of conjuring things much bigger than a chicken--including his dead mother--and she takes it all in stride, Sal knows that she is someone he can work with. There's only one slight problem: their manipulation of time and space could put the entire universe at risk. A sassy entropy sweeper, a documentary about wedgies, a principal who wears a Venetian bauta mask, and heaping platefuls of Cuban food are just some of the delights that await in his mind-blowing novel gift-wrapped in love and laughter.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.