Chapters 5–9

When a land developer unveils plans to raze a local eatery, thirteen-year-old Arturo must prove how important his family's restaurant is to his community.
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Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. conspiracy
    a plot to carry out some harmful or illegal act
    Conspiracy Theories
  2. tacky
    tastelessly showy
    The words PIPO PLACE were written in tacky gold cursive.
  3. ambassador
    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.
  4. potent
    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.
  5. forum
    a public meeting or assembly for open discussion
    The city is still going to hold a public forum.
  6. drastic
    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.
  7. gyrate
    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.
  8. swoop
    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.”
  9. sinister
    wicked, evil, or dishonorable
    “What if he’s plotting a sinister takeover of Miami and we’re the only ones who can stop him?”
  10. probe
    examine physically
    “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?!”
  11. sleuth
    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 sleuthing!”
  12. sly
    marked by skill in deception
    To make matters worse, I looked over at Abuela, and she was watching me with a sly smile.
  13. guacamole
    a dip made of mashed avocado
    The vibe at La Cocina de la Isla felt like guacamole that had turned brown and bitter.
  14. queasy
    feeling nausea
    He waddled around like a hippo standing on two feet, and the mixture of highly perfumed deodorant and fried grease was making me queasy.
  15. conch
    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.”
  16. compost
    a mixture of decaying vegetation and manure
    “I think, um, there might be compost on your forehead.”
  17. savor
    taste appreciatively
    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.
  18. stationery
    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 stationery.
  19. ubiquitous
    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 ubiquitous mop.
  20. desperate
    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.
  21. accompanying
    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.
  22. muffled
    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.
  23. fixture
    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.
  24. mural
    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.
  25. savory
    having an agreeably pungent taste
    People picked at a buffet table filled with sweet and savory pastelitos and cups of cafecito.
  26. jut
    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.
  27. snooty
    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 snooty.
  28. distracted
    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.
  29. contribution
    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.”
  30. facility
    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.”
  31. patron
    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!”
  32. commissioner
    a government administrator
    Our city commissioner, Tomás García, patted Wilfrido’s shoulder.
  33. tote
    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!”
  34. token
    something serving as a sign of something else
    “Wait, little boy,” Wilfrido said. “Take this as a token of my thanks.”
  35. plunge
    cause to be immersed
    It had a massive tree next to it, with long vines that you could use to plunge into the water.
  36. barracuda
    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.”
  37. beady
    small, round, and shiny
    “I’ve heard of those! They have huge teeth and really slick bodies and nasty, beady eyes.”
  38. criticism
    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 criticisms.”
  39. obnoxious
    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.
  40. ominous
    threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments
    That sounds ominous, dude. Did you tell your mom?
Created on July 16, 2018 (updated July 23, 2018)

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