cover image Sal & Gabi Break the Universe

Sal & Gabi Break the Universe

Carlos Hernandez. Disney-Hyperion/Riordan, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-368-02282-8

In this charming middle grade romp, 13-year-old Sal Vidón, a type 1 diabetic and amateur magician with the inexplicable ability to open holes in the space-time continuum, adjusts to his new life at Miami’s Culeco Academy of the Arts. It’s not easy: the teachers are eccentric, his fellow students think he’s a brujo (a bad witch), and every so often Sal brings versions of his deceased mother—“Mami Muerta”—over from other dimensions, much to his father and stepmother’s consternation. Making friends with ambitious journalist Gabi Real and her unconventional family helps ease the transition. When Gabi’s hospitalized baby brother takes a turn for the worse, Sal’s power might just be the solution they need—unless it destroys the universe. This vibrant tale from Cuban-American Hernandez (The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria for adults) is peppered with Spanish dialogue and slang, filled with mouthwatering plates of Cuban cuisine, and highly inclusive, featuring a sprawling, memorable cast, including Gabi’s collection of gender-spanning dads. A nonstop sense of wonder accompanies a genuinely heartwarming and humorous tone, and Sal and Gabi are clearly a fictional team destined for greatness. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: DongWon Song, Morhaim Literary. (Mar.) [/em]