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The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora
Cover of The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora
The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora
A 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor BookSave 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...
A 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor BookSave 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...
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  • A 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book
    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 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.
    Funny and poignant, The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora is the vibrant story of a family, a striking portrait of a town, and one boy's quest to save both, perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia.
 

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Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 15, 2017
    In a vibrant debut novel about family, friendship, and community, Cartaya introduces 13-year-old Arturo Zamora, whose mother runs the family’s busy Miami restaurant, which overflows with cousins and customers. But it’s the family’s charismatic matriarch, Abuela, whose warmth makes every customer feel appreciated. Complications ensue with the arrival of Carmen, a family friend from Spain who stirs romantic feelings in Arturo, and after Arturo learns that the restaurant is being threatened by a developer’s plans to build an upscale multi-use high-rise. In addition to Arturo’s funny and candid narration, Cartaya’s storytelling features Twitter exchanges, script-style dialogue, letters from Arturo’s deceased Abuelo, and poetry by activist José Martí; the dialogue smoothly shifts between English and Spanish, and readers unfamiliar with the latter should have no trouble using context to discern words and phrases they don’t know. A memorable supporting cast bolsters Arturo as he tries to preserve the restaurant and his family’s apartment complex, navigates his first romance, and learns more about his Cuban roots from the precious letters Abuela gives him. Ages 10–up. Agent: Jess Regel, Foundry Literary + Media.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from March 15, 2017
    -When you decide you're going to tell a girl you like her, you need galactic-level courage.-Summer's bringing its share of changes for 13-year-old Arturo Zamora. Hanging out with friends, working part-time at his family's restaurant, La Cocina de la Isla, and joining in Sunday family dinners guarantees some fun times at the start of the hot season. But when a sleazy land developer named Wilfrido Pipo arrives in town to build an upscale high-rise right where La Cocina stands, derailing the Zamoras' plans to expand the family business, Arturo sees that his Miami neighborhood's in trouble. The money-grubbing intruder woos neighbors and old friends with gifts and a flashy festival. Now, Arturo's family and friends must fight back to stop Pipo, and these friends include Carmen, a spirited visiting Spaniard who stirs confusing, wonderful feelings within Arturo. -Lo mas importante, mi Arturito, es el amor y la fe,- says Abuela. Concerned about his ailing grandmother, Arturo struggles to help save the restaurant she built, finding inspiration in two unlikely sources: a box full of letters from his long-departed grandfather and the revolutionary poetry of Jose Marti. Will Arturo discover the love and faith resting inside him? In this inspiring middle-grade debut, Cartaya presents a delightful portrayal of boyhood, skillfully navigating Arturo through the awkwardness, funniness, and messiness that often accompany young love. And in the author's depiction of the Zamoras--a mostly Cuban-American family full of distinct, lovable characters--the book also testifies to the importance of community. Irresistibly exquisite. (author's note, recipes) (Fiction. 10-14)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2017

    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 Jose Marti, 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.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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