Sal & Gabi Break the Universe

Sal & Gabi Break the Universe

Book - 2019
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Winner of the 2020 Pura Belpré Award

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: Los Angeles :, Disney-Hyperion,, 2019
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781368022828
Branch Call Number: J HER
Characteristics: 382 pages ;,22 cm


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May 04, 2020

Could you rip a hole in space time to bring forth a chicken out of a school locker? Sal can, and he is a talented magician. With his friend Gabi, they create chaos, make other friends and together they have the ability to get out of trouble. A fun adventure combining magic with friends who are there to help when you need them most.

Tigard_LisaE Sep 25, 2019

Oh man, every creative child (so, every child) should get to go to a school like Sal's. Culeco Academy for the Arts is a dream of a middle school, where the drama teacher is a fan of every student and the textiles teacher sports a different costume every day. Sal immediately adores his new school after his family moves to Miami, but he keeps getting in trouble, at first because the school doesn't yet understand the needs of a diabetic kid, but then because he pulled a chicken carcass from an alternate universe into a bully's locker. Yes, somehow Sal has access to other worlds, an ability he discovered after his mother passed away and he kept accidentally/on-purpose pulling other versions of her into his own dimension. (Which is a problem for his father and step father.) When Sal's intrusions into other universes begin to cause complications, he teams-up with brilliant classmate Gabi in order to save the world, and hopefully her sickly infant brother. Most characters are Cuban American, with Spanish sprinkled throughout the dialog. Sal's T1 diabetes is something he is always thinking about and managing. Gabi has a large group of dads of various genders, including one robot. Sal is hilarious, kind, and tender. Once you suspend disbelief and accept a setting that is close enough to our world to be familiar, with a few scientific twists, this book will sweep you off your feet.

Tigard_HollyCP Aug 16, 2019

Calamitron: Tiny remnant left over when people or things move between alternate dimensions

AI8: 8th level of Artificial Intelligence (AI at this level has major intelligence with its own distinct personality, opinions, feelings and even emojis)

Entropy sweeper: Like a metal detector for calamitrons with AI8

Extradimensional poultry: Actually, exactly what you think it might be based on the definitions above

In case you haven’t heard of Rick Riordan Presents, the author of the Percy Jackson books has formed an imprint for authors from marginalized populations who write fantasy/science fiction about characters from their cultures. Carlos Hernandez is Cuban American, and so are Sal and Gabi.

This book is laugh-out-loud funny (I found myself snickering aloud several times throughout) but at times so sad it moved me to tears. Though the plot is completely beyond reality (or realities, as the case may be), the story touches on very real topics such as friendship, family (including chosen family), mix of cultures, bullying, child abuse, grief and death. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. LOVED it. Good for upper elementary and middle school readers.

JCLJoshN Jul 09, 2019

It's refreshing to have a story about a kid with the power to open holes in the fabric of the universe without the story being an epic battle between good and evil for the fate of the world. No, this is a sweet, funny story about smart, witty, awkward middle schoolers trying to navigate friendships, the loss of family members, and expressing individuality--and also making sure the world isn't destroyed by holes in the multiverse. This book is bursting with charm, swagger, and humor, and I adore it.

Apr 08, 2019

This book just did not come together for me. From the title I imagined Sal and Gabi cavorting about the universe getting themselves into trouble and having to make things right. What I did not expect was Sal bringing back his versions of his dead mother and Gabi having numerous dads with a baby brother just one month old and in the NICU. So, although parts were entertaining I will pass on the sequel. Sorry, Rick Riordan!

Chapel_Hill_KarinM Mar 29, 2019

Hilarious middle grade science fiction romp with vibrant Cuban American backdrop. Another awesome installment from Rick Riordan Presents imprint.

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