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Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish

By Pablo Cartaya
Publisher: Viking Children's Books (Penguin Young Readers Group) Copyright Year: 2018 ISBN/ISSN: 9781101997260

Review

Marcus Vega has been described as the "Mastodon of Montgomery Middle School" for his enormous weight and height. Yet he prides himself on his role as paid bodyguard against bullies and enforcer of school policy on littering and cell phone use, reminiscent of Chris Rylander's The Fourth Stall series. Even though he carries on with these money-making schemes, Marcus is secretly a good guy, school helper, reader and library supporter, and a good brother to Charlie, who has Down syndrome. Marcus often assumes the role of parent and shares some of his most endearing moments with Charlie. Sadly, Marcus' ability to move heavy school stuff and contribute his hard-earned money to the family cookie jar is taken for granted. When Marcus is involved in a fight defending his brother from slurs about physical/mental disabilities, the school principal threatens to expel Marcus. Since Marcus' mom works for an airline, why not lie low and visit his family in Puerto Rico? Locating Marcus' long-since-disappeared dad is not high on his mom's agenda, but she realizes the quest must proceed. Although the long-awaited reunion does not go as planned, Marcus uncovers a bitter truth and finds a new family that rallies behind him. Surprisingly, Marcus' new-found friends (former clients) at school set up a petition to prevent Marcus' expulsion. An ideal read for middle schoolers and reluctant readers.

Reviewer: Laura Dooley-Taylor
Rating: Highly Recommended
Grade (as stated by Reviewer/SLC): 6-8
Review Date: November 1, 2018

Product Description

One boy's search for his father leads him to Puerto Rico in this moving middle grade novel, for fans of Ghost and See You in the Cosmos.

Marcus Vega is six feet tall, 180 pounds, and the owner of a premature mustache. When you look like this and you're only in the eighth grade, you're both a threat and a target.

After a fight at school leaves Marcus facing suspension, Marcus's mom decides it's time for a change of environment. She takes Marcus and his younger brother to Puerto Rico to spend a week with relatives they don't remember or have never met. But Marcus can't focus knowing that his father--who walked out of their lives ten years ago--is somewhere on the island.

So begins Marcus's incredible journey, a series of misadventures that take him all over Puerto Rico in search of his elusive namesake. Marcus doesn't know if he'll ever find his father, but what he ultimately discovers changes his life. And he even learns a bit of Spanish along the way.

Media Type Book, eBook
Binding HC
Price 16.99
Grade (as stated by Reviewer/SLC) 6-8
Genre Fiction
Sub-Genre Realistic Fiction
Content Subject 1 Friends, Peers, Family & Growing Up
Content Subject 2 Personal Development/Personal Problems
Time Period 21st century
Region North America
Story: Thought Provoking
Characters/Characterization: Familiar/Realistic/Lifelike
Language: Engaging
Tone/Mood Hopeful
Pace: Lively/Fast
Setting: Immersive
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Entry ID: 2180094