Monday, May 8, 2017

THE EPIC FAIL OF ARTURO ZAMORA by Pablo Cartaya for Diversity Monday and MMGM



The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya (May 16, 2017, Viking Books for Young Readers, 256 pages, for ages 10 and up)

Synopsis (from the publisher): Save the restaurant. Save the town. Get the girl. Make Abuela proud. Can thirteen-year-old Arturo Zamora do it all or is he in for a BIG, EPIC FAIL? 

For Arturo, summertime in Miami means playing basketball until dark, sipping mango smoothies, and keeping cool under banyan trees. And maybe a few shifts as junior lunchtime dishwasher at Abuela’s restaurant. Maybe. But this summer also includes Carmen, a cute poetry enthusiast who moves into Arturo’s apartment complex and turns his stomach into a deep fryer. He almost doesn’t notice the smarmy land developer who rolls into town and threatens to change it. Arturo refuses to let his family and community go down without a fight, and as he schemes with Carmen, Arturo discovers the power of poetry and protest through untold family stories and the work of José Martí.

Why I recommend it: Fans of books about kids who still have both parents will appreciate this. It's a lively, heartwarming, and often humorous family story. You'll get to know Arturo's immediate family and his extended family. It's also quite timely (I had to smile as I read about the nasty real estate developer!).  Sometimes change is wonderful, but sometimes keeping a tradition going is more important. 

Arturo is a flawed and therefore vulnerable and realistic character, who loves his family and their restaurant more than anything. But he's also 13 and developing a huge crush on Carmen, which makes for some funny and awkward moments. Sweet.

Favorite lines:  "I was excited for a bunch of reasons. It was the Sunday before the official start of summer, and summer meant hanging out, swinging on banyan trees, looking for manatees in the canals throughout Canal Grove, eating churros (because let's be real: those deep-fried sugary sticks are all kinds of delicious), listening to music, and jumping around in Bren's bounce house. Yeah, I know I'm thirteen, but there's just something about a bounce house that makes me feel awesome." (pg. 4)

Bonus: You'll learn about José Marti and his poetry and also about the sacrifices many Cuban-Americans have made to reach this country and become citizens. 


Look for other diverse kidlit at Pragmatic Mom and The Logonauts

Look for other Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts at Shannon Messenger's blog



12 comments:

  1. Wow, this book sounds amazing! I'm going to dig it up pronto, and can't wait to start reading. Thanks for the recommend, and happy MMGM!

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    1. Love your enthusiasm, Suzanne! Hope you enjoy.

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  2. Yes, this book does sound timely. And Arturo sounds like a realistic character. Glad you featured this.

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    1. Thanks, Natalie. And thanks for stopping by.

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  3. I just finished this one and will post a review soon. I enjoyed the dynamics, the setting, and all of the characters. No divorce either. Thanks for your thoughts.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it too, Greg. I'll look forward to your review.

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  4. This sounds like it has it all. I am putting it on my TBR list. Thanks for your post.

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  5. Wow, I really like the snippet your shared! This sounds like it has a strong voice and an engaging narrator. And I love the setting. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

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    1. Thanks, Jenni. I don't normally include that long an excerpt but the voice is so compelling I just kept typing!

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  6. This sounds awesome~ I'm adding it to my Goodreads TBR list immediately!

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YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation.