A sci-fi romp with Cuban influence. Among many other challenges, Sal and Gabi have to try to make everything right with our world when there is a rogue Gabi from another universe running loose.
Sal Vidon doesn't want to live a Mami-free life. Pulling different versions of his mother from other universes is how he copes with missing his own, who died years ago. But Sal's father, a calamity physicist, is trying to shut down all the wormholes Sal creates, because Papi thinks they are eroding the very fabric of our world. All of Papi's efforts are in vain, however, because a Gabi from another universe has gone rogue and is popping up all over the place, seeking revenge for the fact that her world has been destroyed. While Sal and Gabi work together to keep both Papi and Rogue Gabi under control, they also have to solve the mystery of Yasmany, who has gone missing from school. Could it have something to do with the wormhole in the back of his locker?
My favorite Middle Grade magician, Sal Vidon, returns in this second installment of the Sal and Gabi series.
Together with his best friend, Gabi Real, and their wild and wacky families, Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe continues to bring outrageous good humor and heart.
There is no other way to describe these stories, but: FUN, FUN, FUN!!
Various SF-concepts are explored and allow for a lot of flexibility with reality. Magical and heartwarming, I think so many kids are going to fall in love with these characters.
Even as an Adult Reader, I was fully engaged the entire way through. You just never know where it is going or what will happen next.
There are so many important lessons woven throughout the story as well; just tidbits on how to be a good human and put your most positive self forward unto the world.
Sal and Gabi attend a private school in Miami called, Cuelco. My interpretation is that it is a kind of Performing Arts school, which is an absolute utopia for kids that are different.
I loved reading everything about the school and how it functioned. The kids prepared a performance for their parents based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and it was EVERYTHING!
Although I did enjoy this so, so much, I didn't love it quite as much as I did the first book. It did have all of the humor, seriously, I laugh all the time reading from Sal's perspective, and all of the great characters, but I found the plot to be a little choppy.
It didn't flow as well as the first one did scene-to-scene, in my opinion. Obviously, this is coming from the perspective of an adult, I think for kids reading this, they will likely not feel that same way.
Overall, I am obsessed with this Middle Grade series. I am not sure how many more of these books are in the works, but I do know, I will certainly read any that are released.
Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Book Group and Rick Riordan Presents, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity!
Nothing can beat the comfort of a middle grade book right now, and Sal & Gabi delivers every step of the way. Carlos Hernandez writes with so much love and joy that you can't help but also be swept up in it. The pitch-perfect end to a sensational series.
hmmm I LOVED Sal and Gabi Break the Universe so I was stoked to get an ARC of the sequel on NetGalley. I get books on NetGalley regularly and I know these advance copies aren't yet ready for publication etc so I don't hold it against the final copy, but I have to note that this ARC was WILD in terms of capitalization, or lack thereof? Like almost no character's name was ever capitalized, which was distracting and made me wonder....does Carlos Hernadez just write his drafts entirely in lower case?? Are the characters all devotees of ee cummings and/or bell hooks??? Anyway presumably the final version will not have that but I just wanted to mention it.
ok anyway something that IS probably in the final version is just like a distracting gender issue, which is that their teacher Srx. Cosquillas makes a big deal about how he's using the gender neutral title "Srx" and in the future everyone will use "Srx" (instead of "Sr." or "Sra/Srta"). Fine, great, I'm on board BUT he also calls all of his students "dude" and "dudes" all the time? I would accept this if he made a mention of "I also believe dude is gender neutral" or something like that, an argument I've heard from others and would be fine with, but...he never mentions it and his self-described smart-aleck students never call out the contradiction.
ALSO Gabi has 7 dads, fine, this was lightly mentioned in the last book but in this book we spent more time with the dads and I just want to know why one of the dads is a woman? She has a mom and then 7 dads and one dad is a woman who does not seem to be gender non-conforming or anything along those lines. Is "Dad" a gender neutral term? Why can't she have 2 moms and 6 dads. Again, if "Cari-Dad" (the female dad) would give like a 1-sentence explanation of why she prefers to be a dad I would be fine with it but SHE NEVER DOES AND NO ONE DOES AND I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT'S WRONG WITH BEING A MOM???
anyway these are minor points that occupied a disproportionate amount of my thoughts while reading this. Is this why I liked it less than I liked the first one or is it genuinely also a weaker story? hard to say, hard to say. I still like these characters; I personally think this got a little carried away with an ambitious multiverse plot + literal talking toilet humor + a very large cast of characters? But still I think there's a lot to like here and most tween readers will probably be more into the toilet humor and less distracted by my above issues.
Sal and Gabi is one of the best middle grade series that I have ever read. Carlos Hernandez has so much love for his characters, story and theater kids. This series choices kindness, empathy and forgiveness every single time, in a way that fills me with so much hope. So many feelings!
I think this book may have been...better than the first one? Okay, this series really might be my new favorite middle grade series. Sorry to Percy Jackson, but the Sal and Gabi series is just so good. Some of my favorite parts of this book (we're going list style): *Possible spoilers* - That Dad: The Final Frontier has a car seat on her head to carry Gabi around in - The talking toilet (whose name I forget) - The fact that said talking toilet bleeps out all bad words - The fact that Sal got to spend time in a space station (even if it was with FixGabi) - Yasmany performing a 'magic trick' to get Sal out of the locker - The Reáls making a house for Yasmany to live in - Everyone working together to create an amazing Alice in Wonderland show - The fact that Gabis from a bunch of universes came together to try to fix the universes - Gabi and Sal's friendship (it is so amazing)
Sal and Gabi may have broken the universe, but can they fix it? And, more importantly, does it even need fixing?
Sal Vidon is many things: Cuban-American, magician, diabetic, Level 4 friend to Gabi Real, and breaker of universes. Not that he means to do it. It's not his fault, really. Most of the time, anyway... His Papi, a calamity physicist, believes he has found the answer to fixing the universe using his remembranation machine, which can repair the holes that Sal has ripped in the multiverse. The machine seems to be a success... until Sal encounters another Gabi, who says that--in her universe--the machine has caused more problems then they were supposed to fix. And she is not happy about it...
Rogue Gabis, talking toilets that don't like cussing, friend problems, the most epic Parent-Teacher Night to ever exist, a new Gabi-Dad, and more await in this second Sal and Gabi novel, "Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe".
Hernandez's hilarious and heartfelt writing combines with science to create an adventure of a lifetime (or, technically, several lifetimes. Depends on how you want to look at it). You're never sure what you'll be more surprised by: what comes from the multiverse, or what the kids at the Culeco Academy of the Arts come up with (Seriously, this school is nuts in the best possible way. So many theater and arts kids. So much Extraneous Extraness.) While so many aspects of this novel can clearly be labeled as science-fiction, fantasy, humor, and more, Hernandez also hits hard on real issues and real life problems such as child neglect, living with a chronic condition, addiction, grief, and making mistakes that hurt the people you care about. And then there's familia. Found families, blended families, so many families. I laughed with delighted surprise then about cried at chapter 37 1/2. It's perfection, my friends... At the heart of it, this book is about friendship, families and teamwork, all wrapped up in this perfectly delightful blend of smarty-pants sciency-stuff and fart jokes that you don't have to be a middle-schooler to laugh at.
This was a wonderful followup to the first hysterical book which also snagged a Pura Belpre author award (Sal and Gabi break the universe). Sal gets a demand from Fixit Gabi (who is of course NOT the Gabi that is friends with Sal) to open all the universes, and that his Papi is a terrible person who is trying to close up all the holes. Sal tries to be open minded but some things simply don’t make sense! HIS Papi is a wonderful person! Isn’t he? What about the various AIs that populate this story such as the talking broom sweeper; the school toilet (who doesn’t tolerate any bad language, even it’s own bad language); and Brana who is a remembration machine that might be part of the problem? What about baby Iggy who was a big part of the last book and has an essential hole to another universe? Have I thoroughly confused you yet? I didn’t even talk about the insane parent teacher conference night Sal helps direct after being too blunt about it for his own good and many other incredible scenes! Hernandez makes this story pull together in every way. Which seems impossible. I enjoyed this more than the first book. I’m not sure if that was because I got used to the zany way the author writes or if this is a more coherent book than the first. I suppose I need to reread the first book to determine that! Do not read this without reading the first book. There is simply too much that relies on the first book. Both books are highly recommended! There is the slightest hint there might be another title. I hope so!!!!
This rating hurts. The first book was one of my favorite books of 2020 so I expected it to just be as fun and heart-warming as the first one. But I cannot explain if my reading tastes have changed or if this book is just simply different from the first one.
The language was just trying way too hard to be progressive and it came off as disingenuous. And while I do know that I’m not the target audience, I just felt that the humor was off in this one and felt way too juvenile for middle grade. Feel free to disagree with me on this one, but it’s more of a personal preference.
This was also present in the first book but it was also pretty character driven and the plot was kinda lost. However, I felt that this one was trying to do more all at once and this one just felt so slow. And usually I like the narrator addresses the reader device, but in this one it just felt really jarring.
I feel like I have to retract that Sal and Gabi is one of my favorites because it doesn’t feel right. I’m not sure if this was always there or if there has been a change in the series, but it’s safe to say that I’m really disappointed…
I would give anything to spend another book with Sal and Gabi because reading about them brings so much joy to my life. Reading this duology was genuinely one of the best reading experiences I've had in a while and I can't recommend it enough.
The writing style in this one does a really great job with establishing the voice of the MC, which had me invested in the story within the first few pages because I absolutely adored the main character. Again, Sal goes through so much growth in this book and I loved seeing all of his friendships develop. I especially loved the development of his friendship with Yasmany because I really appreciated the way it was paced and just the way it was handled as a whole. Of course, Sal's friendship with Gabi is also really fun to read about in this book and I loved how the fact that it had already been established in the previous book really allowed the author to explore it in this one.
I also think it would be amiss of me to not mention the family dynamics in this book because not only are family dynamics one of my absolute favorite things to read about in middle grade, but also the ones in this series are just so well-established and so fun to read about and I just... adore them with my entire heart. Sal's and Gabi's relationships with their families were such a joy to read about and I appreciated every second we got to spend reading about them. We also got to know Gabi's dads a lot better in this one, which I really appreciated because I wished we had seen more of them in book one.
Speaking of characters I absolutely loved reading about, I also can't help but want to mention all of the AI in this book because?? they actually had really well-developed personalities?? and also they were hilarious?? I laughed out-loud multiple times while reading their dialogue and I honestly love them?? They just brought so much to the story when I definitely wasn't expecting it from them, so it was a welcome surprise.
I also once again feel the need to mention just how much I adored Sal's school. And I already talked about this in my review of the first book, but oh my god!! It just feels like such a safe and welcoming environment and I absolutely adored reading about?? The principal and all the teachers are so supportive and just do the best they can for their students and I wish more schools irl were like this.
Moving on and talking about the plot of this story, I think what this book does really well is that it really feels like a sequel. So much of the things that happen in this book are directly connected to things that happened in book one and those things are constantly referenced and that really made this book feel like a part of a series, which I feel like doesn't tend to happen often with the sequels I read. But I also think this book did a good job of establishing its own plot and still having those plot essentials while remaining connected to the first book. I also adored the ending of this one!
I really loved how much more exploration of the world we got in this installment as well. I think it really developed on the whole concept of the multiverse really well and introduced a lot of cool new concepts that would be a lot of fun to explore! That said, though, there were so many things that this book introduced that didn't really get to be explored properly, which I feel like is a missed opportunity, so in conclusion, I am respectfully asking for a third book in the Sal and Gabi series because I'm not ready to let these characters go yet.
Overall, though, this series reminded me just how much fun middle grade can really be and why I love it so much. It's filled to the brim with themes of friendship and familial love and you can really tell just how much care went into crafting this story. Absolutely cannot recommend this one enough.
This book was everything I needed! As with the first book in the series, there is so much humor and so much excellent modeling of nontoxic masculinity, how to handle mistakes and apologize, and how to support and help others. It's everything sweet and wonderful and powerful, plus it's got great SFF and a lot of cool multidimensional travel!
Carlos Hernandez once again delivers a hilarious and heartfelt story with Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe, sequel in his SFF Middle Grade Sal & Gabi series. These books provide a much needed sensitive boy protagonist in Sal Vidón. One of the reasons I’ve loved this series so much is because of how vulnerable this kid is allowed to be. He makes mistakes, learns to verbalize his grief, and also learns what it means to take personal responsibility for his actions. I wish all adults could be just as supportive as the ones written by Hernandez. They are always understanding, yet firm, helpful, but never overbearing. Gabi remains the most relatable to this reformed know-it-all child (slightly reformed?). I love how determined and ambitious she is. She is always in someone’s business with the very best intentions (mostly). I loved that Hernandez shows the value of found family and how these bonds can be just as powerful as the ones you are born into. Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe was just as much fun as its predessor while also expanding the Sal & Gabi multiverse. Please tell me there is a chance for more novels because I am not ready to say goodbye to these characters.
Actual rating 2.5 stars: After reading Sal and Gabi Break the Universe with my kids a few months ago, we were excited to jump into the sequel as soon as it came out. We really enjoyed the first book, even though the science fiction element of the story wasn't as strong as we'd hoped.
Sadly, it didn't improve in this book either. In fact, there was even less of a sci fi plot. This really was more of a contemporary book than anything else. It felt like the sci fi elements were thrown in at the last minute. If you like reading slice of life stories that center around family drama, this is perfect for you. But if you are expecting a lot more world building and multiverse action, you'll be pretty disappointed.
Even the character interactions felt a bit too cheesy and forced. By the end of the book, my 14 year olds (who are closer to these characters' age that I am by far!), were rolling their eyes and asking me when the story was going to be over.
I don't think we'll read any more in this series, but I hope for fans of this series that the third book is a bit more magical and exciting than this one was.
4 stars. This book is bonkers but it somehow works really well. I read book one about a month ago and was charmed by its wacky mix of heart, science, and jokes. I think I like book two slightly (marginally) less, but there’s still a lot to like. This is not a plot heavy book, though it seems like it would be. Nothing much “happens”, but the journey is so fun you don’t really notice. I kind of want to live in this world (and go to Culeco or at least live in the Real village) it’s so full of colors, hilarity and positivity. I absolutely love Sal, but I think my favorite characters were the handful of spunky and friendly Class Nine (and Eight) AIs. It’s a little hard to categorize because it’s obviously science fiction, but I feel like it would appeal more to young readers who like funny books more than science fiction. I hope Hernandez writes more because this world and the characters are just so fun! Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this free E ARC.
I just love these characters and Hernandez's writing style. The plot is not the strongest element (I got a little lost in the middle) but it all pulled together in the end to make a very satisfying follow-up to the first Sal & Gabi book. The series has so much heart and warm vibes. It was a great pandemic read because it has an overall funny, reassuring tone. At the same time, it's zany and delivers the kind of tech I want to see in sci-fi (helpful AI, unbelievable gadgets, a supersmart toilet, etc.). I feel emotionally prepared for the multiverse after reading this book!
Personally, a little bit disappointed, and the bringing-in of the other Gabi's was a little too quick for me. I couldn't tell which Gabi was who from the name being it was in my opinion sooooo fast. Not as good as the first book, but good overall. Love the fact that Sal is aromantic, and that randomness this book possesses. Honestly, a class eight toilet marrying another class eight sweeper while ALSO being class nine AI? I'm living for it.
"My dudes, people make art because they want you to learn what life feels like to them." Hernandez is an artist, even when one character calls another, "a jar of farts." Later in the book, Sal's explanation of the purpose of life is as good as any I know.
In this sequel, Sal and Gabi must work to save the world from total calamity. Sal has been creating wormholes that have been eroding the fabric of the universe, at least according to his calamity physicist father. They have been working together to try and repair them when they discover that there is a rogue Gabi from one of the alternate universes wreaking havoc on their world in response to the destruction of her own. There is the same wacky humor, well-developed Latinx characters, and excellent world-building as in the first novel. However, this sequel seems a little overfilled with too many threads happening, which can make it feel a little overwhelming and the science is hard to follow. Not as stellar as the first one, but will still purchase because the first one is incredibly popular in my library.
What a fever dream of a read. On the whole it was an enjoyable, comical, if a bit exaggeratingly out of this world read. For all the things that I did enjoy (a level 9 AI toilet for example), one thing really got on my nerves this book.
Gabi. And boy was there a lot of her. It just frustrated me how Gabi is always right? She has become a much more annoying character in this book, and any growth she went through in trusting Sal in the first book seems to be missing. Her rudeness continually goes unpunished, or at least it seems that way since we are only reading from Sal's perspective.
Still, a fun book and the way science-fiction is introduced to a middle grade audience is entertaining and hilarious.
Synopsis: Sal and Gabi have to try to make everything right with our world when there is a rogue Gabi from another universe running loose. Sal Vidon creates wormholes. But Sal's father, a calamity physicist, is trying to shut down all the wormholes Sal creates, because Papi thinks they are eroding the very fabric of our world. All of Papi's efforts are in vain, however, because a Gabi from another universe has gone rogue and is popping up all over the place, seeking revenge for the fact that her world has been destroyed. While Sal and Gabi work together to keep both Papi and Rogue Gabi under control, they also have to solve the mystery of Yasmany, who has gone missing from school. Could it have something to do with the wormhole in the back of his locker?
Review: Overall, I thought the book was good. The characters were funny and engaging, also well developed. The pacing was suited for the book and the story really flowed well. I really liked the fantasy elements yet again.
However, there were some issues I had with the book. The teacher in this book wants to be referred by Srx which is a gender-neutral term, but referred to the kids in the class in her/him pronouns without really asking. One of Gabi’s 7 dads is also a bit of a mystery. She doesn’t use gender neutral terms but she still wants to be referred to as a dad. I’m all for being whatever you want to be called. Dad, mom, doesn’t matter it’s a parent title, but I would appreciate some more clarification on this. The story is also a bit harder to comprehend. There’s a lot of multiverse stuff that goes on and it gets a little complicated.
There's nothing like a humorous middle-grade book to cheer up kids at home from school during a pandemic and the second installment of the adventures of Sal and Gabi is likely to provoke plenty of laughter. Remember how Sal came up with a clever plan to help Gabi's baby brother Iggy? Well, plans like that in the multiverse come with plenty of complications. And nothing is as complicated as more Sals and more Gabis showing up and creating confusion. Why just Fix Gabi (an ectoplasmic Gabi) and Extra Gabi alone are a handful. But Stupid Sal? Whoa.
While I am sure that middle graders are going to have fun with this one, I felt that the novel's plotting was overly complicated and I have to say that there were things in the novel that just bothered me. The dash of Spanglish for ethnic color would be better if the Spanish was actually correct. Witness "cacaseca" which is two words in Castillian Spanish or just about any other brand of Spanish. We see more of this, like "rompenoche" instead of rompe noche, and basically, I feel like the Spanish is being reduced to hashtags, which is troubling. I had listened to the audiobook of the first book in the series (Break the Universe) so I went back and looked at the print edition and this is indeed the spelling that is being presented in the finished novel. I was also distressed to have Type 1 Diabetes mislabeled an autoimmune deficiency, which is really not correct. It can be a feature of some immunodysregulation syndromes but it is, strictly speaking, an autoimmune disease in which antibodies destroy islets of Langerhans cells in the pancreas. That is not an "autoimmune deficiency."
The audiobook is narrated by Anthony Rey Perez, who did a smashing job on the first book in the series.
P.S. Did love the shout out to Roshani Chokshi's Aru Shah series, though.
I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I was provided a NetGalley E-Arc after participating in a Middle Grades Webinar.
"And I'll warn you now, the grief doesn't go away. It has a dark side. Grief can rot your ability to love, and see beauty, and do good work in the world... The trick is to hold the ones you've lost close to your heart, while still loving all the beautiful things, and other people"
This book ♥️♥️♥️♥️. I was in love with this book in the first chapter. Sal's narrating voice is honestly my favorite of ANY book. He is very upbeat and funny even though he constantly deals with his diabetes and grief. He genuinely cares about people and is constantly trying to do good while also creating hilariously ridiculous situations. Carlos Hernandez does a fantastic job of weaving humor and pop culture references through out the book without seeming forced. Honestly some of the references had me screaming with joy. I live on internet memes & the whole thing made me very happy. Its a good light hearted read needed in these unsure times. Surprisingly, this book also has some lovely touching moments that really made me tear up. And there is an over arching themes of counting on others, keeping hope, and moving pass grief.
In conclusion: I loved this book. I have been waiting a year for it and man it was worth it. Everyone should be HYPED for it. And hey, Carlos Hernandez if you write more adventures with Sal & Gabi I will read each and every one of them.