SAL & GABI FIX THE UNIVERSE

From the Sal and Gabi series , Vol. 2

A hilarious, heartwarming, and absolutely unmissable sequel.

The continued multiverse adventures of Sal Vidón and Gabi Reál.

It’s been three weeks since Sal and Gabi saved the life of Gabi’s newborn brother, Iggy, and everything seems to be back to normal—or at least as normal as possible with a potentially broken universe. Then Sal’s calamity-physicist father and Gabi’s Dad: The Final Frontier finish work on their remembranation machine, which they hope will fix the holes in the universe created in the Pura Belpré–winning Sal and Gabi Break the Universe (2019)—but has become sentient artificial intelligence in the process. As if that were not enough, Sal’s unlikely new friend, Yasmany, seems to have gone missing, and a Gabi from another universe shows up to warn Sal that Papi’s research has destroyed her world and killed her own Sal and that they must stop his version of Papi from doing the same. This excellent sequel features nonstop multiverse hijinks, great comedy, and heartening moments that are skillfully interwoven with a subplot that features a delightfully surreal student production of Alice in Wonderland—er, “Alicia” in “el pais de las maravillas.” The supporting cast includes a plethora of nurturing adults as well as amusingly melodramatic AI’s. Most characters are Cuban American, and Hernandez continues to effortlessly incorporate intersectionalities, including Gabi’s loving polyamorous family and Sal’s Type 1 diabetes and his aromantic identity.

A hilarious, heartwarming, and absolutely unmissable sequel. (Science fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02283-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL

From the School for Good and Evil series , Vol. 1

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic.

Chainani works an elaborate sea change akin to Gregory Maguire’s Wicked (1995), though he leaves the waters muddied.

Every four years, two children, one regarded as particularly nice and the other particularly nasty, are snatched from the village of Gavaldon by the shadowy School Master to attend the divided titular school. Those who survive to graduate become major or minor characters in fairy tales. When it happens to sweet, Disney princess–like Sophie and  her friend Agatha, plain of features, sour of disposition and low of self-esteem, they are both horrified to discover that they’ve been dropped not where they expect but at Evil and at Good respectively. Gradually—too gradually, as the author strings out hundreds of pages of Hogwarts-style pranks, classroom mishaps and competitions both academic and romantic—it becomes clear that the placement wasn’t a mistake at all. Growing into their true natures amid revelations and marked physical changes, the two spark escalating rivalry between the wings of the school. This leads up to a vicious climactic fight that sees Good and Evil repeatedly switching sides. At this point, readers are likely to feel suddenly left behind, as, thanks to summary deus ex machina resolutions, everything turns out swell(ish).

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-210489-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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