FICTION

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora

256p. ebook available. Viking. May 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781101997239.
COPY ISBN
Gr 5–8—Arturo Zamora is determined to save his family's Cuban American restaurant, the decades-old hub of their Miami neighborhood, from an unscrupulous developer who seems to have bought city council approval for his land grab. Cartaya treats this subject with a mixture of humor and heartfelt nostalgia. The warmth and solidarity of Arturo's family and their deep relationships within their community are palpable. Arturo's confusion as he experiences his first pains of love for their summer houseguest leavens the sense of impending doom. Eventually, the neighborhood pulls itself together to preserve La Cocina de la Isla. Sprinkling his writing with Spanish, Cartaya incorporates mouthwatering descriptions of Cuban cuisine, the poetry of José Martí, and the general wackiness of young teens' friendships effortlessly into his narrative.
VERDICT Touching and funny, this is an excellent middle grade novel about Cuban American life. For most collections.

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