Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carols Hernandez is a juvenile fiction book best for 5-7 graders.
Sal Vidon is the new kid at school and a budding magician, but it wasn’t magic that landed him in the principles office for the third time in three days, it was for allegedly putting a raw chicken in Yasmany’s locker… a raw chicken that has since mysteriously disappeared.
In steps Gabi Real, student council president and editor of the school paper. With her keen eye, book smarts and unwavering task oriented personality, Gabi soon realizes that Sal Vidon is hiding something big.
After getting off on the wrong foot, Gabi and Sal become fast friends and it’s a good thing too because Sal is going to need all the help he can get if he doesn’t want to irreversibly break the universe for good.
I really enjoyed this middle grade read. It was light hearted and serious at the same time. Sal is a fun kid and everyone knows at least one Gabi in their own life. There’s something charming about the book even though there is a lot going on.
Much of this book includes Spanish culture, vocabulary and phrases. This is really neat but, for someone like me who doesn’t really know any Spanish, was a smidgen frustrating at times. It did make me want to go look up what I didn’t know, which is always a great learning opportunity. And bilingual children will just love reading a book that embraces booth English and Spanish.
A bit unrealistic in my opinion but I loved the adults in this book. Especially the Gabi-dads. At first you are wondering how this works… Was the mother married that often? Is Gabi in foster care? What is going on here? But, by the end you realize that being a “dad” isn’t necessarily something ruled by blood; the definition of what makes a family is a broad thing and we all have “aunts,” “brothers” and “sisters” that aren’t related to us, so why not dads too?
This is going to be a fun one to discuss with my book club. It gets 5 stars from me.
That’s all for now!