Friday, July 31, 2009

Mock Printz 2010: Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill

Title: Soul Enchilada
Author: David Macinnis Gill
Publisher: Greenwillow/Harper Collins
Starred Review:K

Eunice “Bug” Smoot is having a bad day. Someone has egged her car, she’s lost her job, she is about to be evicted, and if that weren’t bad enough, a demon has come to repossess her car. It turns out her grandfather, Papa C, signed a contract putting their souls up as collateral for his purchase of a 1958 Cadillac. When, after his death, Papa C disappears the djinn Beals comes looking for him. Bug must either produce Papa C or forfeit her own soul. Beals is now permanently attached to the car until the completion of the contract and develops and unwanted fascination with Bug that paves the way for many confrontations throughout the book. Papa C was her last remaining family but lucky for her she isn’t as alone as she thinks. It turns out Pesto, former classmate and current crush, is a member of ISIS the International Supernatural Immigration Service. He uses his connections in ISIS and with Attorney E. Figg to try to figure out a way to cut Beals loose from the car and get out of the contract with Scratch (the devil) so that Bugs can keep her soul and free will.

Author David Macinnis Gill is off to a good start with this debut novel. The story takes place in El Paso, Texas and this isn’t mentioned just for show in the book. Gill infuses the story with plenty of local flavor with his mention of holidays and landmarks found in El Paso. Bug is half Tejana and half African-American while Pesto is Mexican-American and there is a smattering of Spanish phrases in the book, particularly when Pesto's mom, Mariposa (Butterfly) is added to the mix. Bug is a tough young woman who has had a rough start in life. Her dad left and her other family died when she was young until she was left with Papa C who despite his faults was someone she loved dearly and who she knows loved her. This is why she is shocked, hurt and just plain mad that he would sell her soul for a car! Despite the nature of the story this is not an "angsty" book. It is filled with action, legal mumbo jumbo, comedic moments and a touch of romance. The dialogue between Bug and Pesto is snappy and flirtatious. Bug is a diamond in the rough. She is at times awkward and rough spoken, but almost always endearing. Recommend to those who like to read about feisty heroines, supportive maybe maybe-not boyfriends, and/or good-vs.-evil battles with a touch wackiness.

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