Sunday, February 3, 2019

Winter Reading 2019 Sal and Gabi Break the Universe


Sal Vidon is a complicated kid. He loves to work magic and is excited about his new magnet school and the chance to improve his stage skills. He is also nervous about his ability to access alternate dimensions, especially since his calamity physicist father tells him that it could release calamitrons and break the universe. Sal also has some things working against him; he is the new kid, he gets bullied by a much larger and athletic kid (yes, Sal is short), he has diabetes, and ... oh yeah, he keeps pulling versions of his dead mother from parallel universes (see above warning about calamitrons).

So, when Sal winds up in the principal's office for the third time on his third day of school, it doesn't seem like the place he would make a new friend. But, somehow, he and Gabi seem to connect. As they learn more about each other, these two seeming opposites have an incredible adventure. It includes masks, lie detectors, lots of Cuban food, dad jokes, homework, and other random stuff.

Readers who see the Rick Riordan Presents label may be expecting another series that features mythology from a culture they may not be familiar with. Sal's story has large amounts of Cuban culture and talks about magic and whether Sal is a brujo or not, but it has more to do with the culture of friendship, family, and food. No gods or goddesses make an appearance, although there is an entropy detector with an attitude, but those looking for cultural diversity will not be disappointed.  There is also the added layer of the school (staff and students) dealing with Sal's diabetes. As Sal says, the students and faculty of Culeco have a lot to learn about how to make a school safe for diabetics."

Recommended for middle grades and up. I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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