Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill

Cindy: March Madness is behind us and I’m at a loss. College basketball is my favorite fan sport, and even the excitement of the Masters golf tournament doesn’t completely satisfy the hole I feel in my sports world each April. Fortunately, there’s a tonic for us round ball fanatics in David Gill’s debut novel, Soul Enchilada (HarperCollins, 2009). it has everything I love in a book: A kick-ass heroine with an edge and a biting sense of humor, a bit of the supernatural, a phenomenal car, a great cultural setting, romance, interesting evil characters, a few scenes that make me tear up, and, yes, basketball!

Eunice “Bug” Smoot’s grandpa sold his soul to the devil in order to buy a 1958 Cadillac Biarritz and then died and skipped out on the contract without turning over the car or his soul. The devil’s repo man, Mr. Beals, shows up to get the car back from Bug, who says, “No one takes my wheels.” Even though she is living hand to mouth unable to pay the rent on time, she threatens to hire a lawyer, to which Mr. Beals replies something along the order of, “No, you won’t. You don’t have enough money to hire one, and anyway, my boss has them all on retainer.” The El Paso setting and Hispanic culture, (including a Day of the Dead festival) adds to the flavor of the novel and is just fantastic. Even the chapter titles are funny, most riff on clichés and song titles and other things that fit the chapters, but David has given them a humorous twist. A two-on-two basketball competition with unlikely players settles the bet for good.

Photo courtesy of www.carofdreams.com

Photo courtesy of www.carofdreams.com

I want a sequel. I want more of Bug and her world (did I tell you about her trip into the Abyss to get help from the NAD patrol? She gets there to find a couple of middle aged men working in the command center full of computers, and sees they are both playing HALO.) I also need to follow the budding romance of Bug and Pesto. Need more convincing? Check out the fun book trailers on Soul Enchilada‘s webpage.

Lynn: I am fond of Faustian tales and pairing one with basketball makes for a terrific combination. Bug is one tough heroine with just enough vulnerability to steal the reader’s heart if not their souls. Sharp funny dialog, memorable characters and a plot as twisty as an El Paso mountain road makes this first novel a true delight. Even if sports bore you silly, give this smart unusual book a try. Just be careful if you start to get a whiff of sulphur!

David Gill is flying to Michigan today to do presentations to our book club and other area teens. We are really excited to hear him speak and just wish that we could have afforded to meet him at the airport in a Cadillac Biarritz!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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