Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya

Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo CartayaMarcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya
Genres: Children's Books, Children's Fiction (Tween), Middle Grade, Young Adult
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five-stars

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. Marcus knows what classmates and teachers see when they look at him: a monster.

But appearances are deceiving. At home, Marcus is a devoted brother. And he finds ways to earn cash to contribute to his family’s rainy day fund. His mom works long hours and his dad walked out ten years ago—someone has to pick up the slack.

After a fight at school leaves him facing suspension, Marcus and his family decide to hit the reset button and regroup for a week in Puerto Rico. Marcus is more interested in finding his father, though, who is somewhere on the island. Through a series of misadventures that take Marcus all over Puerto Rico in search of the elusive Mr. Vega, Marcus meets a colorful cast of characters who show him the many faces of fatherhood. And he even learns a bit of Spanish along the way.

Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish is a novel about discovering home and identity in uncharted landscapes.

This is a story about a boy who does not quite fit in but who was obviously born to stand out. Marcus is an 8th grader who towers over his peers and uses his height and bulk to provide protection for kids who are bullied. Marcus reminds me a lot of my own son who happens to be a bit taller than most kids his age. This is a well written, perfectly plotted book about a boy who loves his family and homeland immensely. Filled with wonderful food, fabulous culture and realistic familial situations, Pablo Cartaya hits a homerun with his sophomore work.

five-stars

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