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The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  3,144 ratings  ·  603 reviews
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, summetime 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 su
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 16th 2017 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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ƑìɾҽƒӀվ | Be Gay Do Crime Only a few. It would depend on your reading level, but I read it in about 3 or 4.
Isabel Throughout the book, it is constantly said by the members of the Zamora family, like Abuela, Abuelo, and Arturo that 'The most important, love and fai…moreThroughout the book, it is constantly said by the members of the Zamora family, like Abuela, Abuelo, and Arturo that 'The most important, love and faith', or 'lo mas importante, el el amor y la fe'(less)

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Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this YA read. The narrative was a Cuban teenager that lives in Miami, Florida with his large family. Summer became a great time for him to grow up unwillingly. He falls in love for the first time while the family restaurant is in danger in the hands of a redeveloping slimy Capitalist sleezeball that has no idea what a family or community is. Arturo Zamora is desperate to save the memory of his Abuelo y Abuela in this restaurant. I loved his family and cheered for them.

Sweet memorable re
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So here's an unintended consequence of our Tangerine Hitler in Chief -- you can now make the villain in a children's book just as grotesque and childish as you like.

Where previously I might have read the soulless real estate developer bent on destroying Arturo's family's restaurant as cartoonish and unrealistic, now I get that someone just like "Wilfrido Pipo" has surely been taking down honest businesses for decades, and with the same lack of subtlety.

Also, this is a fantastic book.
Brenda Kahn
Reading this debut was like being enfolded into Arturo's Abuela's warm hugs. It was like meeting a family for the first time and feeling as comfortable as if you've known them forever. Arturo's voice is earnest and awkward and at times, hilarious but always genuine.

Reread this with my ears when I heard the author was the narrator. Well done performance. Still love the book.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: by-and-about-poc
A touching middle grade story about family, food, poetry, community, first crushes, and the fight against gentrification. Loved the incorporation of poetry into the story, notably poems by Cuban revolutionary José Martí.
Abby Johnson
Why did I wait so long to pick up this book?! I really enjoyed it. Teresa tried to tell me. This is a funny and heartfelt story about a Cuban American family trying to save their restaurant when developers want to move in and gentrify their neighborhood. Hand to middle schoolers who like character-driven books that are both funny and serious and any kids who are driven to make a difference in their world. The audiobook is read by the author who is also an actor and he reads it really well with s ...more
Jillian Heise
I adored this book & Arturo's journey! I was surrounded by warm feelings about family and community and culture and the power of speaking out and sticking up for who and what you love, and how much more difficult that is as an adolescent. ...more
Brandy Painter
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya is a book I found via the new arrival shelf at the library. (Yay libraries!) I am so happy I found it too. It is an excellent book about family and community centered around the Cuban restaurant Arturo's family owns.

Arturo has high hopes for the summer. He will be working in his family's restaurant earning money. His mom's goddaughter, Carmen, is visiting and suddenly he is feeling all kinds
Melissa Mcavoy
I'm afraid I found this a bit of a snooze fest. I loved the Spanish-American culture. I loved the extended family and the relationship with the abuela. The evil real-estate developer was embarrassingly two dimensional.. the love interest was wooden and I had a hard time believing in any of the verbal exchanges. For me the story never came to life. Even the ending left a weird taste as the family violated the Federal Clean Water Act. ...more
Great book for 5-8 graders!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's a beautiful novel about family and community. You can feel the panic building and building up to Arturo's fail, and the tension increasing even after that. (view spoiler) ...more
Aryana Parmar
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-caudills
This was not a bad book at all. I enjoyed the family and community aspect that was entangled throughout the whole story.
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Interest Level: 5-8; Reading Level: 5.7

If you knew that your family home and your family business was in jeopardy of being destroyed, would you have the guts to stand up and fight for it, or would you sit back and watch it happen? Arturo's vastly large family all lives in one apartment complex community within steps from the family restaurant, La Cocina de la Isla. Arturo has his family, his two best friends, and it is summertime which means basketball, working at the restaurant, and his Abuela'
Rummanah (Books in the Spotlight)
The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora is a warm and at times heartbreaking story filled with family, tradition, and community. Every summer Arturo is looking forward to a Miami summer filled with friends, ice cream, and working at his family’s popular restaurant, La Cocina de la Isla, but his plans get derailed from the start. Carmen, his mother’s goddaughter, comes to visit, and Arturo may have a crush on her. He is confused whether or not he and Carmen are related. His "promotion" at the restaurant i ...more
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I adore coming-of-age stories, so I was delighted when I was invited to join the blog tour for The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora.

Thirteen-year-old Arturo Zamora is ready to take on summer vacation by storm. But a land developer brings new challenges to him and his family, as he tries to pursue a new high rise building, where Arturo's family restaurant stands. It's now up to Arturo, and his eclectic group of friends, to try and fight back, and save La Cocina.

What I love about Pablo Cartaya's novel
Shaye Miller
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
After reading and enjoying Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish two weeks ago, this earlier work of Cartaya’s was recommended reading. So I didn’t skip a beat to get my hands on a copy. Arturo Zamora was born into a close-knit family that runs a well-loved restaurant. During this summer, his mother’s goddaughter, Carmen, visits and introduces him to new poetry. But he’s suddenly feeling all sorts of awkward and confusing feelings about her (someone he’s usually seen like family). At the same time, ...more
Westminster Library
Arturo Zamora is looking forward to another chill summer working at his family restaurant La Cocina but then a few things occur. First he gets “promoted” to assistant prep kitchen dishwasher and then a strange guy called Wilfrido Pipo starts hanging around the neighborhood and letting people know he has big plans for the area- plans that may or may not include La Cocina. If this wasn’t enough, Arturo’s mom’s goddaughter is visiting from Spain and Arturo finds himself acting weird around her for ...more
Arturo Zamora’s family’s restaurant, La Cocina de la Isla, has been a keystone of Canal Grove’s Cuban-American community for the past 19 years. Now, a fancy new developer wants to gentrify the neighborhood by building a towering multi-use residential building featuring every luxury amenity imaginable. This new building will change the face of the neighborhood and, mostly likely, put La Cocina de la Isla out of business. Arturo and his family come together to fight the plans the developer has in ...more
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
Can you imagine what it would be like if your family owned a restaurant? Or if you lived in the same apartment complex as ALL of your relatives, including family friends? Arturo Zamora does both. His family’s restaurant works hard to feed the community, bringing smiles to everyone who walks in the door. It stays that way until one day, when a developer comes to town. He wants to replace the restaurant with a fancy new building, which will have a pool, a gym, and other things.
Overall, I give thi
Vernon Area Public Library KIDS
Arturo's summer is usually relaxing. This summer, his family's restaurant business is threatened and he and his family need to make the community see that new and flashy is not always better. Arturo finds strength as he fights for what is important to him while dealing with his feelings about the first girl he really likes. Arturo's wonderful, close family is at the heart of this book and makes it a joy to read. Recommended for children in grades 4-8.
Reviewed by Carol Kaner, Youth and School Ser
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya, is about a boy named Arturo who has a huge family. There family owns the restaurant La Cocina in Miami. This summer was going to be the best summer ever before Carmen, a beautiful girl who loves poetry, and Pipo, a salesman with a mysterious business, shows up and flips Arturo's feelings and life upside down. Will he be able to do it all or will it be an epic fail. This book is amazing Pablo Cartaya is an amazing writer and I suggest this book for ...more
I loved the cultural aspect of this book -- it makes me want to find out more about Cuba and its people. I loved the families in the book and I loved the way the conflict/s were presented and resolved. The main character -- all the characters -- in the book are wonderful. They are characters that, now that I'm done with the book, I miss them! That's the best indicator of a good book in my view! Great read! ...more
Leonard Kim
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Somewhat comparable to Amina's Voice and I think as good, even though my impression is that Khan's book is getting more buzz. Oddly it's in the cookbook at the end that the voice seems most comfortable in its own skin. In the main text, the several ingredients don't come together as well for me. Maybe there are too many characters? ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Cartaya, Pablo The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora, 236 pages. Viking (Penguin), 2017. $17. Language: G (0 swears 0 'f'); Mature Content: PG (teen kiss); Violence: G.

Shauna Yusko
Perfect for grades 5-8. Should be on every library shelf.
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I expect this book to get nominated for awards, it's amazing!!!!! Love it, plan to read it again. ...more
The warm sense of family and values that emanates from this book is wonderful. Great plot, colorful, perfectly flawed characters. Highly recommend
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A pretty slow start but it gets a lot better.
Alex Johnson
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There's a sweet spot of middle grade: dorky protagonist, awesome supporting characters, a conflict that is big but manageable, writing that toes the line between easy, heartfelt, and cheesy, and an overall story that leaves you saying, "The kids are alright."

Arturo has a large (and I mean large) loving family that all gathers at his mother's restaurant, passed down from his Abuela. Things begin to get dicey when a childhood friend shows up and a new businessman threatens to tear down their resta
Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora is a humble tale of the titular character, Arturo, and his eventful summer. He has relatives coming to visit, he gets to work at his family's restaurant and he learns of a proposal that could remodel his hometown and destroy the family's business. Throughout the story, he does whatever he can to help keep the city from voting out the property, persevering through a lot of difficulties of mixing business and personal life together. Along the way too, does he endure the ...more
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Pablo Cartaya is a professional code switcher and lover of all things Latinx. He talks a lot and writes a lot which are paradoxical conundrums to overcome on a daily basis. He is the author of the acclaimed middle-grade novel, The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora (Viking Children’s Books/Penguin Random House) which earned him a Publisher's Weekly "Flying Start" and starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, ...more

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