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Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish
Cover of Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish
Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish
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.
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.
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About the Author-
  • PABLO CARTAYA currently serves as lead faculty at Sierra Nevada College's low residency MFA program for Writing for Children and Young Adults. He writes stories that reflect his family, culture, and love of words. Pablo lives in Miami with his wife and two kids. Learn more about Pablo at pablocartaya.com.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 9, 2018
    In Springfield, Pa., Marcus, a six-foot tall, 180-pound, mustache-sporting 14-year-old, exploits his appearance to run a bullying protection business, secretly contributing his earnings to his single mom’s cash jar. When a conniving school bully calls Marcus’s brother, Charlie, who has Down syndrome, the “R” word, Marcus gets suspended for punching him. In an effort to “spend time together as a team,” Marcus’s mother takes the boys to visit their absent father’s relatives in vibrant pre-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico. Cartaya (The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora) poignantly sketches Marcus’s desire to meet his father (“How do you start an email to a father you haven’t seen in ten years?”), and clues about his dad’s mercurial, irresponsible character build to a devastating realization. The loneliness of the family’s Pennsylvania life contrasts starkly with the community they find in Puerto Rico; the events spark for Marcus a new understanding of his overworked mother and appreciation for his family and heritage, offering hope for deeper connections going forward. Ages 10–up. Agent: Jess Regel, Foundry Literary + Media.

  • AudioFile Magazine Author Pablo Cartaya's warm narration introduces us to 14-year-old Marcus, who is trying to figure out his place in the world. When his mother takes Marcus and his younger brother, Charlie, to Puerto Rico for a vacation, it's a chance to meet his extended family and, as Marcus sees it, an opportunity to reconnect with his absent father. As Marcus travels around the island experiencing the landscape, food, and people, Cartaya seamlessly transitions between English and Spanish and endears all of the characters to listeners. Cartaya uses a slower, more deliberate delivery for Charlie, who has Down syndrome, and this sets his dialogue apart in a way that print readers would not experience. An author's note acknowledges that the beautiful Puerto Rico depicted is before the devastation of Hurricane Maria. J.M.D. � AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish
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Pablo Cartaya
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