Posts By: Rashika

Friday, March 22, 2019

An Emotional Rollercoaster: Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

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An Emotional Rollercoaster: Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe
Carlos Hernandez
Genre: Adventure, Middle Grade, Sci-Fi
Publication date: March 5th, 2019
by Rick Riordan Presents

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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 this mind-blowing novel gift-wrapped in love and laughter.
-A copy was provided by Rick Riordan Presents for review-

Rick Riordan Presents is probably the only imprint I can say I want to read EVERY SINGLE BOOK FROM. I saw the synopsis mentioned a raw chicken inside a locker and was immediately sold. I WANTED IT and I READ IT and YEAH. I am not really sure if Sal and Gabi Break the Universe has mythology vibes??? But what I can say is that it is truly a work of art.

There is a good chance I’ve said that about another book or two before but I don’t know how else to describe how truly well written this book is. Carlos Hernandez knows how to pace a book, he knows how to pull at your emotions and he knows just how to crack and build tension. There were so many times when I’d be teary eyed and a well placed joke would have me laughing my butt off. I don’t think I’ve read a book in a long time that actually made me laugh out loud but this book? THIS TRULY WONDERFUL BOOK DID.

Sal Vidòn is an aspiring magician. He loves the thrill of pulling off complex tricks and entertaining people. He and his family recently moved to Miami and it’s his first week at the Culeco Academy of the Arts. Unsurprisingly, it isn’t off to a great start. One thing leads to another and somehow…a raw chicken finds its way into the locker of Yasmany- the kid who has been bugging Sal.   

Gabi Reál is… a lot of things. She is head of student council, editor of the school paper and occasionally plays lawyer whenever her friend Yasmany gets in trouble. She knows that whatever Sal might say, that raw chicken wasn’t just a magic trick. Something fishy is going on and she is here to unearth the truth.

Of course, the truth is the furthest thing from what Gabi could have imagined and soon, Sal and Gabi find themselves investigating parallel universes and figuring out how they can minimize long-term consequences.

So, here is the thing, I personally found that Sal and Gabi Break the Universe wasn’t super plot-driven which is sort of what I went in expecting?? There are things happening but I noticed that the characters themselves were at the front and center of the story rather than adventures and such.

I AM A PLOT PERSON But I wasn’t even really disappointed that there wasn’t as much of a plot because the characters themselves are so so well-written and well rounded. Sal has diabetes and lost a parent 5 years ago. He is still grieving his mother and yet he also has a positive relationship with his stepmother and his father. Gabi’s brother is in the NICU and might not survive. She is terrified for her brother but she is surrounded by her mother, many fathers and friends who lend her support when she needs it. Yasmany is not really a main character but he deals with abuse and is still able to form meaningful relationships and also find support.

These characters are all so wonderful I absolutely cannot wait to see where their adventure will take them next. I DO HOPE that now that we have an incredibly strong grasp on these characters, we get more adventures into parallel universes and explore this near-futuristic world a bit more.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

Matriarchal Society Gone Corrupt: Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

Matriarchal Society Gone Corrupt: Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

Posted by on 03/20/2019 • 1 Comment

I honestly didn’t know that Lilliam Rivera had a new book coming out until earlier this year which just shows you where publishing’s priorities are in terms of marketing. In my eagerness to read anything Rivera writes, I actually forgot to read the summary and it wasn’t until a while later that I realized Dealing in Dreams was a proper dystopian novel. If you read my review for We Set the Dark on Fire, you will know I don’t do dystopia anymore but given that I’ve technically now read two dystopian novels for the first time in literal years, I THINK IT’S SAFE TO SAY I am doing dystopia again. BUT, to be clear, I am only doing dystopia written by POC.

Dealing in Dreams starts off super slow….

Three Pride & Prejudice Retellings You Cannot Miss in 2019

Three Pride & Prejudice Retellings You Cannot Miss in 2019

Posted by on 03/18/2019 • 6 Comments

1. Unmarriageable by Sonia Kamal

Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Pakistan.

2. Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev

Gender-flipped P&P retelling that follows an Indian-American family descended from royalty. Set in San Francisco. 

3. Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

P&P set in Toronto! Follows the adventures of a large, boisterous Muslim family.

Bonus Emma Retelling: Polite Society by Mahesh Rao

Emma, with a touch of Crazy Rich Asians, set in Delhi. 

Content Warnings: the What and the Why

Content Warnings: the What and the Why

Posted by on 03/13/2019 • 1 Comment

After getting into an argument on Twitter, I came to the realization that the purpose and definition of content warnings isn’t as widely known as I previously thought. I’ve always felt that content warnings are necessary and to have them be perceived as shameful was incredibly frustrating. I decided to channel my frustration into a (hopefully) helpful post that breaks down what they are, what they do and why they are so incredibly important. 

What Are Content Warnings

As the term implies, they are warnings that precede content. To be more specific, content that might be sensitive. These kind of warnings can be found on all sorts of media – tv shows, movies, games, books, etc. Keep in mind that a content warning isn’t necessarily the same as a…

Entertaining but not Memorable: Field Notes in Love by Jennifer E. Smith

Entertaining but not Memorable: Field Notes in Love by Jennifer E. Smith

Posted by on 03/12/2019 • 1 Comment

Field Notes on Love is exactly what you would expect. It’s cute. It’s fluffy. It’s a quick read. I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is the kind of book you seek out on a cold, winter day when you need some good vibes and miss the summer sun.

Hugo just broke up with his long-time girlfriend and is stuck with a non-transferable trip to the US of A. He needs to find someone with the exact same name as his ex so he can go on a trip of a lifetime and get away from his big, bustling family for the first time. So he does what anyone would do, he puts an ad on the internet. YAY.

Mae is an aspiring filmmaker. Unfortunately she didn’t get into the…

Breathes Life Into a Genre I Thought I Was Done With: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Breathes Life Into a Genre I Thought I Was Done With: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Posted by on 02/28/2019 • 0 Comments

Currently, I am staring at a blank document trying to figure out how words work because I am not entirely sure how to even begin to describe We Set the Dark on Fire? When I first started hearing about the book, I thought it was a fantasy but then my friend, Shannon said it was more dystopia so I really didn’t know what genre I was diving into. I did go in expecting some badass girls and I GOT SOME BADASS GIRLS.

Upon finishing, I think I can say that while this book isn’t like a futuristic sci-fic novel, labelling it dystopia is not wholly inaccurate. WHICH, if you like me stopped reading dystopia half a decade ago because it was all bland, I promise We Set the Dark…

Another Worthy Addition to the Series: Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong

Another Worthy Addition to the Series: Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong

Posted by on 02/26/2019 • 0 Comments

I have been reading Kelley Armstrong’s books for over half a decade now so it’s safe to say I am a fan. From her YA to her adult, she never fails to deliver a series of characters I find myself immediately invested in and plots I am eager to watch unfold. Watcher in the Woods is the fourth book in a series and usually, by the fourth book of a series, my interest starts to wane but a fourth book in the hands of Kelley Armstrong??? Watcher in the Woods proves that it can be a very powerful thing.

If you haven’t read this series and are a fan of well-written mystery novels that don’t involve annoying dude detectives, you should probably get on it. If you’re already a…

Just Finished Watching: Manifest

Just Finished Watching: Manifest

Posted by on 02/21/2019 • 0 Comments

I haven’t done this in AGES but I just finished season 1 of Manifest which I reallly felt the need to talk about so here we areeeee. I am sure you were as fascinated by the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 as I was so when I found out this show was about a plane disappearing and the people returning 5 years later not having aged a day, I WAS CURIOUS. CURIOUS indeed. Also curious about how I could make that run on sentence not a run on sentence but thats for another day.

My friend Nick watched the pilot but was unimpressed so I decided to not dive in right away. I was bored one day late in October though and suddenly found myself in the midst…