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Sal and Gabi Break the Universe

(Sal and Gabi #1)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  4,446 ratings  ·  988 reviews
How 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 fi
ebook, 382 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Rick Riordan Presents
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⭐️Cordelia⭐️ All of us are different, so I don't know. But I'm a teenager, and I loved it! It's clever, entertaining, and funny. And if you want to read it you tot…moreAll of us are different, so I don't know. But I'm a teenager, and I loved it! It's clever, entertaining, and funny. And if you want to read it you totally should! The worst that will happen is you won't like it. (less)

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Average rating 4.20  · 
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Rick Riordan
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Sal and Gabi’s Excellent Universe-Destroying Adventure

You know how I can tell when a book is great?

When I can’t even describe it to you without ruining the marvelous surprises. I mean . . . I could try to explain why Gabi’s father is called Lightning Dad, or why Sal’s teacher Dr. Doctorpants dresses like a gumball machine, or even why Sal’s physicist father and his not-quite-human assistant Bonita are building a remembranation machine in the living room. But you’d never believe me. You’d accuse
Nov 27, 2020 added it
[Book #4 for my grad school YA class: a sci-fi & middle grade book]
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs-read
Sal Vidon is a magician and proud of it!

Unfortunately, he happens to be a magician who just lost his Mami, had to move to a new school and is having a hard time fitting in.

Being the new kid in school can be tough and unfortunately, Sal quickly finds himself on the wrong side of a notorious bully, Yasmany.

During a confrontation, Sal performs his trickiest of tricks yet. He makes a raw chicken appear in Yasmany's locker!

Such antics end up having the opposite effect he was looking for, however, w
I think 9-year-old me would have loved this book. My 4x older self is much too old and cynical and irritable for it.
“The real way to deal with a bully is to stick a raw chicken in their locker.”
Because you really should read about precocious, quirky, overly energetic and enthusiastic kids when you are their age (and I read it only for completist sake in my Hugo-Nebula nominees reading project this year). As an adult, you get an annoying migraine from this hurricane of preteen precociousnes
May 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
This honestly gives me the same vibes back when I was reading Percy Jackson, like it's not the same but the same oomph is just there- y'know? RTC. ...more
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. So funny, clever, and moving with a hugely lovable cast of diverse characters.
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved Sal and Gabi, I just wish they, I dunno... actually broke the universe?

Sal is a 'magician', he can rip a hole in the universe and pluck something out from another universe, like a dead chicken to put in his bully's locker. Gabi is a girl at school who seems to know everything about everyone, and when Sal comes into her life, she becomes intrigued that she has found someone who mystifies her. We explore these characters and their lives with some very, very interesting and surp
Drew's ambitious reading
I read this book around august of 2019 last year and loved it.
And now I re-read the book in august 2020 and loved it better than the first time I read it! My rating from a 4 stars to a 5 stars. I can't wait to read the sequel now!(:
Shelby M. (Read and Find Out)
Trigger warnings: References to child abuse, grief related to loss of parent

Overall rating: 4.5 stars

Style/writing: 4.5 stars
Themes: 5 stars
Characters: 5 stars
Plot: 4.5 stars
Worldbuilding: 4 stars
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've read a few of the other Rick Riordan Presents books but I never finished them. They felt like diet Rick Riordan and like they didn't stand on their own all that well. This book I think dodged that problem effortlessly. It has science instead of magic and for the most part it felt like it was doing its own thing. Sal and Gabi are such a delight to read. I think that they are the most respectful and well mannered thirteen year olds I have ever read.

While I was reading it I kept wishing that I
Olivia (Stories For Coffee)
A cute middle grade read full of quirky characters and moments. At times it dragged on, but the audiobook narrator told this story wonderfully and really brought it to life.
This book is a perfect example of why I will be screaming about the Rick Riordan Presents imprint until the end of time.

I love it when adults remember to behave themselves. They forget all the time, you know. Hard to blame them, though. They haven't been kids in so long.

Hernandez has created a book that is fun, accessible, and exciting like so many other middle grade stories, but the addition of it being ownvoices for the Cuban-American representation, as well as showing (from what I can tel
Books on Stereo
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Sal and Gabi are delightfully charming, but are, unfortunately, trapped in a lackluster plot.
Sam (AMNReader)
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reco for 10+
Hilarious, but with a lot of real issues.
Heavens: ETA, the kids are dealing with both paranormal and real-life type issues. Characters are so lovable.
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
This is, hands down, my favourite book of 2020.
I had the best fun reading this book and everyone needs to read this.

- Follows Sal, a Cuban-American and diabetic boy, who magically places a dead chicken in his classmate's locker. While at the principal office, in comes Gabi, a Cuban-American girl who barges in and announces herself as the bully's lawyer. From there, the two kindle a friendship - and chaos ensues.
- I can't even really describe what this book is about - and I mean that in a good w
not quite as expected

Cory Marie
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’m so ecstatic for the multitudes of kids who will get to experience stories like this. Rick Riordan Presents books are so incredibly important and fun. Sal and Gabi is not about any sort of mythology but it is chalk full of culture, and is surprisingly very deep and heartfelt.
4.5 stars. This was terrific! Full of humour, great observations and characterization, Carlos Hernandez gives us Sal and Gabi, two students. Sal is new at his school, and has to get used to his teachers and classmates. He and his family moved to Miami after he lost his mother to illness, and his father's remarriage. There's no unpleasant drama here, as everyone in the family loves and cares about each other. Sal also has Type 1 diabetes, so has to constantly monitor what he injests.
After Sal is
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018

I just can not even with this book. It's one of my very favorite books I've read all year. Pretty much everyone I know will be getting this as a gift as soon as it comes out, kids and adults.

It was so incredibly delightful. I kept trying to savor it, to enjoy it and have it simmering in the back of my mind all day, but last night I hit the 3/4 mark and just stayed up late finishing it. I woke up my partner, laughing so hard that the bed shook. I also cried. I can NOT BELIEVE how ma
ELEVEN HUNDRED STARS. I truly, truly loved this book. I want to read it again right now. There was honestly not a single thing I did not adore. It was funny and smart and had SO MUCH HEART.

I super enjoyed THE ASSIMILATED CUBAN'S GUIDE TO QUANTUM SANTERIA a few years ago -- and rec'd it on a Geek Girl Con RA panel! -- but I'd never have guessed that Carlos Hernandez could make the leap to middle grade so beautifully.

I just. I don't even know where to start with a review because I'm all just fla
Jun 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

This Rick Riordan presents book by Carlos Hernandez was an exceeding cute, fun, and heart-warming story of found families and friendship. In a Miami school for unique gifted kids the lives of several students entwine when they realize that just maybe by breaking the universe they can save what matters most to them.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
1.5 stars Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC! This book was odd. Every time I felt like I had a handle on it, some new twist or new quirk got thrown in. I did like Sal & Gabi. They were clever and silly. However, I just didn’t really understand the purpose of the book or the story. I guess it taught a lesson. I guess it was humorous. I guess it was a fantasy and had creative elements. It just had too much of the fantasy elements where I thought-ok why is that in there? Like why have the portable ma ...more
Ilsen Leon
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5 stars!!

This is such a heartwarming middle grade. I would say it’s more of a contemporary with a sci-fi twist. The characters are so fleshed out. And the Latinx Cuban rep!!! *chef’s kiss* I expected more adventure but I still love this school style setting that just had sci-fi antics and plenty of character development. I’m excited to read the next one!!
Rashika (is tired)
Rick Riordan Presents is probably the only imprint I can say I want to read EVERY SINGLE BOOK FROM. I saw the synopsis mentioned a raw chicken inside a locker and was immediately sold. I WANTED IT and I READ IT and YEAH. I am not really sure if Sal and Gabi Break the Universe has mythology vibes??? But what I can say is that it is truly a work of art.

There is a good chance I’ve said that about another book or two before but I don’t know how else to describe how truly well written this book is. C
May 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
The best way I can describe this book is Cuban Wrinkle in Time, except not nearly as religious. It's pretty cute but very weird and honestly hard to follow. I'm trying to imagine what a middle schooler would think reading this. They would probably be a little entertained, but also bored.

Here's the thing about this book: the universe-breaking part of the plot is never explained. Sal is narrating and he never talks about when he first discovered he could do this, and his scientist papi doesn't see
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I will fight anyone who doesn't think this book is worthy of being praised from the rooftops, passed between friends like a rare secret, spoken of with great love in front of parents starved for new reading material to gift their children.

Because this book is good.

Because this book is subtle and sincere and smart but more than anything else, it does that thing that good media does: it cracks open the universe for its readers. Let me give you examples. This is a book about a kid who can tear open
Meag McKeron
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
I liked Sal and his voice in this story (learning a little bit about diabetes through him was interesting, and I found the sections where he is unpacking the grief of losing his mother to be the strongest in the book). But otherwise, this fell flat for me. For one, it really dragged. Things happen, but they’re not all that exciting. Most of the book is Sal saying smart aleck things or Gabi being a less tolerable version of Hermione from HP. But the thing that drove me the most crazy was that all ...more
5 stars

Books like Sal and Gabi are the reason why I constantly keep coming back to middle-grade stories. This novel really reminded me that this age group has so much to offer. I absolutely adored everything in this book from the characters and their relationships, to the world, to the plot, and the writing style. And truly, I just had so much fun with this book. It was an absolute joy.

I adored Sal right from page one. Carlos Hernandez does a really good job of nailing down Sal's voice right in
Dec 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75* This is another Rick Riordan Presents series, with a definite Cuban flair. Sal is a 13 year-old new kid at Culeco Academy of Arts. In his first week there, he's already found himself being sent to the principal's office several times. This last time, he was just defending himself against the school bully, Yasmany. If you had the ability to reach into an alternate universe and place a raw chicken in the bully's locker, wouldn't you? This ability to navigate the multiverses is also a big hel ...more
Jenn (Jenn’s Bookshelf)
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5/5 ⭐️
Heartwarming, absolutely hilarious, and just perfect.
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SFF writer, English prof. and game designer/enthusiast.


Other books in the series

Sal and Gabi (2 books)
  • Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe (Sal and Gabi, #2)

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“Qué se yo!” he answered. “Puede ser que un diablo glotón vino y se lo voló. Este mundo está lleno de demonios que se pasan el día entero haciendo trampas y trucos.” 2 likes
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