Thursday, August 8, 2019
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
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.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).
Rick Riordan is one of my favorite authors. I've read all of his books, some of them multiple times. When I heard that he was coming out with his own publishing company, I was so excited. I thought it would be amazing to read books by other authors that are similar to the genre he writes in, but with their own unique twist as well. The first book that I tried from his publishing company was Sal and Gabi Break the Universe. It ended up not being what I expected at all, but it was still a fun read.
When I first started Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, I had no idea what to expect. I expected a middle grade book about Cuban mythology, which isn't what I got at all. However, that's a good thing. Carlos Hernandez wrote a book unlike anything I could have imagined. It was definitely different from anything I have ever read before. I loved the humor in the book. The entire time I was reading the book, it seemed like I never stopped laughing or smiling at something that Sal did. I also greatly enjoyed learning about Cuban culture, and being a magician, both of which were things I knew next to nothing about before I picked up this book. After reading this book, I definitely want to do more research on both subjects. I especially find the superstitions around "brujas" to be fascinating in Cuban culture, and would love to learn more about that.
Even though I enjoyed reading Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, I did notice a couple of issues while I was reading the book. Maybe it's because I'm not the age range it was intended for, but I found the book to be over the top silly at times. The whole time I was reading the scenes in the hospital, especially the ones with nurse Sotolongo, I kept thinking to myself there's no way any of this would happen in a real hospital. Also, the thing with Gabi's dads was just a little bit over the top crazy, and confusing. When I was reading the book, it was hard to remember which dad was which, and what they did. Not even the nicknames helped. It made it harder to take the serious parts of the book seriously.
After finishing Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, I had mixed emotions. Parts of the book I really loved and was sad to be done with. Other parts, not so much. I know I definitely plan on picking up the sequel in March because I want to know what happens next, especially after the crazy that happened at the end of this book. I'm looking forward to reading more of Sal's quick wit, Gabi's bossy humor, and the rest of the crazy cast. I also plan on definitely reading more of the Rick Riordan Presents books as soon as I can get my hands on them.
I give Sal and Gabi Break the Universe: 3/5.
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I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.