The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya

Thank you Penguin Random House
 for the copy of the book.
At first Arturo Zamora is your average teenager. He hangs out with his friends, plays basketball, discovering girls, is a dishwasher at his family restaurant, reads Cuban poetry, and loves his family. However, it doesn’t take long transform into an above average teenager. Arturo’s grandparents started the restaurant, and now his mom runs it.

 A new developer has come to town and wants to build a larger swanky apartment building in the space of the restaurant. Arturo bands together with his family and community to stop the development. Along the way Arturo discovers the power of family.

 I just wrote a short summary because I don’t want to give too much away. Anyway, I am always trying to find books that make a great third grade read aloud. I hate to say this but this isn’t one of them. However, if I could just do a read aloud in fifth or sixth grade I would jump at the chance just to be able to read this book to a group of students. In my opinion third graders would have a hard time connecting with the characters and truly understanding what Arturo is up against, and how he grows as a young man.

Pablo Cartaya has created characters that are interesting and fun. I laughed many times as I read how Arturo reacted every time Carmen appears. He is not good at hiding his emotions as Abulea and his mom like to point out. Even though Mr. Cartaya includes many characters I never felt like I needed more information about them or that they weren’t important.

Wow, what to say about this special lady. The love she shows to everyone is something many people should try to emulate. The special bond that she has with Arturo is one that will make him an excellent father. (When an author creates a character that I imagine what he or she will be like as adults is a testament to how great the characters are.)

I enjoyed the intermingling of Spanish and English. As someone that grew up in the southwest it is very common hear this. It makes the story more realistic.

Overall, I loved this book and am giving it to my nephew this afternoon. My ending thought is that Arturo needs to tell Mop to NOT WEAR a man bun.

Comments

Danielle H. said…
I think this will be fun to read. I love stories about family, laugh-out-loud stories, and stories with foreign cultures.