The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora

Pablo Cartaya. Viking, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-101-99723-9
In a vibrant debut novel about family, friendship, and community, Cartaya introduces 13-year-old Arturo Zamora, whose mother runs the family’s busy Miami restaurant, which overflows with cousins and customers. But it’s the family’s charismatic matriarch, Abuela, whose warmth makes every customer feel appreciated. Complications ensue with the arrival of Carmen, a family friend from Spain who stirs romantic feelings in Arturo, and after Arturo learns that the restaurant is being threatened by a developer’s plans to build an upscale multi-use high-rise. In addition to Arturo’s funny and candid narration, Cartaya’s storytelling features Twitter exchanges, script-style dialogue, letters from Arturo’s deceased Abuelo, and poetry by activist José Martí; the dialogue smoothly shifts between English and Spanish, and readers unfamiliar with the latter should have no trouble using context to discern words and phrases they don’t know. A memorable supporting cast bolsters Arturo as he tries to preserve the restaurant and his family’s apartment complex, navigates his first romance, and learns more about his Cuban roots from the precious letters Abuela gives him. Ages 10–up. Agent: Jess Regel, Foundry Literary + Media. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/15/2017
Release date: 05/16/2017
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-5247-7517-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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