Book Review, Books!, Middle Grade March, Readathon, Signal Boost

Review: Sal & Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

Hey all, Dani here.

It is time for my final review from Middle Grade March. Man, it was a productive month of some pretty good reads. I hope April ends up being just as good (or even better). Anyway, let’s get started.


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.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

I feel like this was a lot different from the other Rick Riordan Presents books. It felt more like “here’s a kid with a cool ability and we’ll toss in some science and some Cuban terms and it’ll be fun.” Which, don’t get me wrong, this was a very fun and entertaining read. But, it didn’t feel very mythology or folklore filled like all the others have been. Or maybe it’s subtle folklore and I’m just not super familiar with it.

What I do know is that Sal is fun, I like his parents, Gabi is a very confident and smart lady, and Gabi’s family is huge and awesome. There are so many great character relation dynamics throughout this story and I really enjoyed it.

This book just felt so loud and full of life and delicious food. I can definitely say that I am still enjoying all of the books being released from this imprint, and I can’t wait to see what will be released next.

Where to Buy

You can pick up this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local independent bookstore.

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