Sal and Gabi Book #1

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

Publication Date: March 5, 2019

Summary from NetGalley:

sal and gabiHow 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 his mind-blowing novel gift-wrapped in love and laughter.

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Arc provided by Disney Book Group via NetGalley for an honest review. 


I love books that are about the multiverse, and this one was certainly likable in that respect.  It had lots of likable characters and the setting was fabulous.  It did have some issues though.

Let’s start with the things that I really liked. 

  • Both Sal and Gabi were very likable characters and I loved the friendship that developed between them.  Sal especially was funny and smart, and you know I love characters who can talk their way out of situations. 
  • Yasmany was also a solid character, but I wish there had been a bit more of him.  Perhaps in the next book.  
  • The glimpses of the different universes was very amusing.  I also liked how Sal used them to get himself out of trouble.
  • The Cuban culture was awesome.  I love Cuban food and there was a lot of food mentioned in this book. 
  • The school that Sal and Gabi attend.  I would love to work there.
  • Principle Torres was a great principal.  
  • Parents that we saw were all loving and understanding of their kids different abilities. 

The things I didn’t like.

  • It wasn’t until about a fourth of the way into the book that I suddenly realized that maybe this was not our world, or at least it was a more advanced version of our world.  Up until that point things seemed normal. 
  • So with that in mind, while I loved the setting, there needed to be a bit more explanation of it.  
  • It bugged me that there was never an explanation as to why Gabi had so many “Dads”.  This probably won’t bug other people though. 
  • The narrative was bogged down about 3/4ths of the way through when they put on the play at the hospital.  I just didn’t get what it had to do with the bigger storyline. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and will be adding it to my schools collection.  It will also be a pretty easy sell to the students, especially with that cover!  So far this is only a two book series, but I hope to see more than that of Sal, Gabi and their world. 




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