a plot to carry out some harmful or illegal act
The words PIPO PLACE were written in
tacky gold cursive.
a diplomat of the highest rank
Vanessa was older than us by six months, and she ran in social circles that included girls and guys who were likely to become senators,
ambassadors, and Nobel Prize winners.
having a strong physiological or chemical effect
Mira Bro was a line of really sparkly men’s jewelry, tight patterned shirts and jeans, and most famously, a really, really
potent men’s deodorant.
a public meeting or assembly for open discussion
The city is still going to hold a public
forceful and extreme and rigorous
If we start trying to do something
drastic and changing what people love about our place, we’ll confuse the community.
wind or move in a spiral course
Mop gave a thumbs-up while Bren
gyrated and did some weird dance move and almost fell over.
move with a sweep
“I’ll be care—” Carmen didn’t even have time to finish her sentence before Tía Abuela Josephina
swooped in, plucked Carmen’s phone from her hands, and set it on the serving counter next to the urns of my family members who were here “in spirit.”
wicked, evil, or dishonorable
“What if he’s plotting a
sinister takeover of Miami and we’re the only ones who can stop him?”
“Or”—she leaned in close, squinted, and whispered—“what if he’s an alien sent down to
probe us before the invading army attacks and eats all of our brains?!”
watch, observe, or inquire secretly
“Okay. Bring your best disguise,” she said, like it was the most normal thing in the world to say.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because we’re going
marked by skill in deception
To make matters worse, I looked over at Abuela, and she was watching me with a
a dip made of mashed avocado
The vibe at La Cocina de la Isla felt like
guacamole that had turned brown and bitter.
He waddled around like a hippo standing on two feet, and the mixture of highly perfumed deodorant and fried grease was making me
an edible tropical marine mollusk or its large spiral shell
“Yeah. We would get to the beach before anyone else. She’d hold my hand as we picked
conch shells out of the shallow water. Then I’d stand on her knees and she’d pretend she was a Jet Ski and twirl me around. I haven’t been to the beach in a while.”
a mixture of decaying vegetation and manure
“I think, um, there might be
compost on your forehead.”
We took two plastic cups and
savored the sweet, pulpy orange-colored drink. Abuela sat in her recliner, and I took a seat on the couch next to her.
paper cut to an appropriate size for writing letters
When I looked at it more closely, I realized it wasn’t just a stack of letters—there were also photographs, an old CD, and blank
being present everywhere at once
@PITBULL4LIF: dude, every time i see ur handle, it weirds me out. what does it mean again???
@THEUBIQUITOUSMOP: It means I am a
showing extreme urgency or intensity because of great need
Desperate, I ran back to my room and grabbed some clothes out of a box full of stuff I was going to give to my little cousins.
occurring at the same time, along with, or as a consequence
With no time to second guess, I threw on my sneakers, slid on the
accompanying mask, and bolted to the door.
being or made softer or less loud or clear
The clack-clack of Carmen’s high heels mixed with my increasingly
muffled breathing as we walked down the street.
person or thing typically present in some place or situation
Nobody really knew where Bicycle Bill lived or even where he’d come from, but he had been a
fixture of Canal Grove for as long as I could remember.
a painting that is applied to a wall surface
The inside was bright white, and through the window you could see a huge
mural with two gold Ps in the middle.
having an agreeably pungent taste
People picked at a buffet table filled with sweet and
savory pastelitos and cups of cafecito.
extend out or project in space
There was another long table across the back wall that had a few fancy glass pitchers with mint leaf stems that
jutted out of the tops.
overly conceited or arrogant
“I simply love that this building will bring a new kind of person to the neighborhood,” Eddy’s mom said in a way that sounded
having the attention diverted especially because of anxiety
I took a closer look but was
distracted by the sound of clinking glass as people gathered around the model.
a voluntary gift made to some worthwhile cause
“So it is with this,” Wilfrido continued, “that I hope to make a
contribution to the neighborhood. Presenting: a new facility to reward your hard work and make your community even stronger.”
a building or place that provides a particular service
“So it is with this,” Wilfrido continued, “that I hope to make a contribution to the neighborhood. Presenting: a new
facility to reward your hard work and make your community even stronger.”
a regular customer
“There will be a rooftop lounge so
patrons can enjoy views of the water. Cafés on five floors so residents and members don’t have to go down to the street to get their morning cafecitos, like I know you all love!”
a government administrator
commissioner, Tomás García, patted Wilfrido’s shoulder.
a capacious bag or basket
“¡Perfecto! Now please, enjoy the food and cafecito! And don’t leave without these leather
tote bags specially made from the finest cows in all of Argentina!”
something serving as a sign of something else
“Wait, little boy,” Wilfrido said. “Take this as a
token of my thanks.”
cause to be immersed
It had a massive tree next to it, with long vines that you could use to
plunge into the water.
a predatory marine fish with large, strong teeth
“It’s usually the smaller animals that are dangerous around here. Like
barracudas. Those things are nasty.”
small, round, and shiny
“I’ve heard of those! They have huge teeth and really slick bodies and nasty,
disapproval expressed by pointing out faults or shortcomings
“They were both young and creative and more interested in focusing on the good things that food can be rather than all the
causing disapproval or protest
The only thing that broke our silence on the walk home was Carmen chewing gum. It wasn’t
obnoxiously loud or anything. It’s just that the neighborhood was really quiet.
threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments
ominous, dude. Did you tell your mom?