A 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book
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 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.
About the Author
Pablo Cartaya has always been a hopeless romantic. In middle school he secretly loved reading Shakespeare’s sonnets (don’t tell anyone), and he once spent his allowance on roses for a girl he liked. He also wrote her eight poems. Bad ones. He’s been writing ever since. Pablo has worked in Cuban restaurants and the entertainment industry, and he graduated with an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. All of these experiences have helped him write stories that reflect his family, culture, and love of words. Pablo lives in Miami with his wife and two kids, surrounded by tías, tíos, cousins, and people who he calls cousins (but aren’t really his cousins). Learn more about Pablo at pablocartaya.com.
A 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book
An E.B. White Read-Aloud Middle Reader Award finalist
A 2018 Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year
Amazon Best Children's Books of 2017
Publishers Weekly Flying Start
Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction of 2017
Chicago Public Library Best Book on 2017
NYPL Best Books for Kids 2017
2017 Nerdy Book Award Winner
2018 Texas Lone Star Reading List Selection
2018-2019 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award Nominee
2018-2019 Sunshine State Young Readers Award Nominee
Charlotte Observer Best Books of 2017 for Young Readers
News & Observer Best Books for Young Readers
Praise for The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya:
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"At turns funny, beautiful, and heartbreaking... engrossing."
—Booklist, starred review
"A vibrant debut novel about family, friendship, and community."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Pablo Cartaya's sensational debut is a love letter to boyhood, poetry, and family. Quite simply, this is the book I've been waiting for."
—Matt de la Peña, New York Times bestselling and Newbery Medal–winning author of The Last Stop on Market Street
"This story of hope will make you laugh, cry, sigh, and cheer for brave Arturo and his whole cool familia. Along the way, you'll end up hungry for Cuban food, ravenous for poetry, and determined to stand up to bullies who try to destroy communities. ¡Bravo!"
—Margarita Engle, Newbery Honor–winning author of The Surrender Tree
“In this story of family and community and the first blush of love, Pablo Cartaya weaves together a tenderness of poetry, food, and home. Our young hero Arturo reminds us of what counts in this life, and his story is a heart-song.”
—Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor winner, National Book Award finalist, and New York Times bestselling author
“Arturo Zamora proves that words have the power to win some of the biggest fights. The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora is an epic success!”
—Christina Diaz Gonzalez, award-winning author of The Red Umbrella