Author: Pablo Cartaya
Age group: 10 - 13 years
Page count: 256 pages
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication date: May 16th, 2017
Summary from Barnes & Noble:
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, summertime 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 summer also includes Carmen, a cute poetry enthusiast who moves into Arturo’s apartment complex and turns his stomach into a deep fryer. He almost doesn’t notice the smarmy land developer who rolls into town and threatens to change it. Arturo refuses to let his family and community go down without a fight, and as he schemes with Carmen, Arturo discovers the power of poetry and protest through untold family stories and the work of José Martí.
Funny and poignant, The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora is the vibrant story of a family, a striking portrait of a town, and one boy's quest to save both, perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia.
Arturo is a strong character. He is frustrated with the "epic fails" in his life and struggles to overcome them. He doesn't know how to act around Carmen, and feels like the odd man out in his family because he isn't fluent in Spanish. He is slammed with so many conflicts and doesn't know how to deal with them. When he's open to getting out of his comfort zone, his doubts and worries get the best of him until he gives up altogether. As the only one in his family who believes the restaurant can be saved, Arturo recognizes that he has to stand up for what he believes in. To change his community for the better, he also has to change.
I appreciated how The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora portrayed how to gain public support for a cause. They held protests, rallies and made pamphlets to spread the word about the family restaurant.
I loved how Arturo referred to how he felt around Carmen. A deep fryer? Hilarious. Arturo is freaked out because Carmen is practically his cousin. Arturo's insightful and funny narration made me view his relationship with Carmen in a different light. Carmen inspires him to look into poetry, and helps him develop his appreciation for it.
I loved the diverse cast of characters. Arturo's tightly-knit Cuban-American family supported each other through thick and thin. The family's heritage was an important part of their identity, and their culture strengthened their community. Their faith and determination motivated them to save what they had worked so hard to build. As Arturo grows and learns throughout the story, his family does as well. The book taught me about Arturo's culture. I learned about Spanish foods, traditions and poets, along with a little of the language.
The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora gives the reader a unique perspective into having a business, a crush, and a huge conflict. Jam-packed full of lessons on making a difference and overcoming yourself, it is a memorable read perfect for summer!
Pablo has been a guest lecturer at Florida International University’s Exile Studies Program, visited schools throughout the northeast and South Florida, and hosted many literary events throughout the region. Pablo has led the development of various literary programs through The Betsy-South Beach's Philanthropy, Arts, Culture, and Education programs and has served on many panels and presentations. He holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a BA from Loyola Marymount University and currently serves as lead faculty for at Sierra Nevada College's low residency MFA in the Writing for Children and Young Adults track. He calls Miami home.
Taken from his website. Click here to check it out!