Thursday, August 23, 2018

Blog Tour- Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish

August 13 – The Alexander Times – Review
August 14 – Candid Ceillie – Author Guest Post
August 15 – RhythmicBooktrovert – Review
August 16 – Serial Bibliophile – Listicle

August 20 – LA Bookworm – Review
August 21 – Confessions of a YA Reader-Guest Post: August 22 – Mundo de Pepita– Review + Quote

Here we are at the end of the blog tour for this great book! Sorry I didn't post the beginning of the tour earlier, but definitely check out the great posts to learn more about this intriguing middle grade titles.

Cartaya, Pablo. Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish
August 21st 2018 by Viking
ARC provided by Follett

Marcus is a big kid, and uses this to his advantage in his suburban Philadelphia neighborhood by earning a little money offering "protection" from kids like Stephen Hobert. He has a group who walk back and forth to school with him for the bargain price of $10 a week. He also provides the service of keeping kids out of lunch detention by picking up trash they leave behind-- of course, this also has a price. His "office" is in the library, which gives him a place to hang out while he waits to pick up his younger brother Charlie from school. Charlie, who has Down's Syndrome, has recently been mainstreamed into Charlie's school. Their mother works at the airport and has a very demanding job, although the family struggles financially since the father decided to return to Puerto Rico. After an altercation with Stephen, precipitated by Stephen making fun of Charlie, Marcus gets in big trouble for bullying and for his businesses! The principal suggests that everyone cool down over break, and that both boys might be better off in a special school. Marcus' mother decides to finally visit Puerto Rico and stay for a bit with the father's Uncle Ermenio, who was always fond of the family. Marcus has always wondered about his father, but his mother is disinclined to discuss him. She does offer Marcus his e mail address, and Marcus sends a message, hoping to connect with him. The family spends time with the uncle and also travels around a bit, eventually hunting down the father, who is running a rather swanky hotel. Marcus learns a lot about family, his cultural heritage, and his father on the trip, and it helps him make a little more sense of his life back home.
Strengths: Marcus is a well meaning but misguided kid, and he clearly cares about his mother and brother. His interest in finding his father is also very realistic. The travels around Puerto Rico and all of the details about food, life, and landscape are fantastic! This will speak to a lot of students who have parents who might speak another language and have cultural connections that the students don't fully understand. The relationship with Charlie is nicely depicted-- his challenges affect Marcus a little, but do not preclude him from having other interests. Great cover as well.
Weaknesses: Unless Pennsylvania laws are very different from Ohio ones, I find it hard to believe that the school wouldn't have let Charlie in. It was also a bit strange that the school librarian was at school until 5:00.(Although we won't talk about how early I am at work!) Again, things may be different, but the school situations seemed a bit off compared to my own situation. Also, there was too little about one of Marcus' "clients", Danny, and I wanted to know a lot more about their friendship.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing, and giving the ARC to an 8th grade student who loved Hautmann's Slider. I think he will really enjoy this one as well.
Ms. Yingling

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