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  • Alisa Williams

Book Review: Sal and Gabi Break the Universe

The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe

Written by Carlos Hernandez

Rick Riordan Presents (Disney-Hyperion), 2019

Buy Now on Amazon: Hardcover | Kindle

The latest book from the Rick Riordan Presents imprint of Disney Hyperion, Sal & Gabi Break the Universe (A Sal & Gabi Novel, Book 1), is totally different from what I was expecting.

I’ve read every book from Rick Riordan’s imprint and almost every book Riordan himself has written (he writes too fast, ok? I’ll catch up eventually), and they all follow a similar, albeit awesome, formula of a demi-god discovering their abilities and going on some epic adventures.

Sal & Gabi breaks out of that mold and with a unique, one-of-a-kind ultimate buddy comedy adventure. Readers who are expecting another demi-god story might be disappointed at first, but they really shouldn’t be. Author Carlos Hernandez has delivered a hilarious and memorable duo in Sal and Gabi.

Sal is a thirteen-year-old who just happens to be able to rip holes in the fabric of the universe — which is super helpful when you’re a budding magician and need quick access to the ultimate weapon (in this case, a raw chicken) to fend off a bully. Sal meets Gabi his first day at Culeco Academy of the Arts in Miami, Florida. She’s student council president, editor of the student newspaper, and the perfect partner in crime, both due to her tenacity and a few other reasons that are revealed over the course of the book.

The other delight of Sal and Gabi are their amazing families, who are rich and fully-formed characters in their own right. Oh, and then there’s the food! A story full of Cuban American characters wouldn’t be complete without lots of references to Cuban food, and lots of opportunities to eat said food. I got hungry about 500x while reading this book, so be sure to have a snack handy.

This is a great book about true friendship, the importance of family, and being there for each other through the ups and downs life throws at you — and life sure seems to throw a lot at Sal and Gabi. A sequel, Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe, has already been announced, and I can’t wait to read what hijinks this pair gets up to next across the multiverse.

This review originally appeared on NetGalley. I received a free Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) in exchange for my honest review of this title.

Alisa Williams is the managing editor of She blogs at, tweets at @AWWritesStories, and bookstagrams at @AllyWritesStories.

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