Soul Enchilada

( 9 )


Girl meets boy at a car wash.
"Dog," she says.
"Dude," he says.
And probably this would have been a sweet teen romance. . . .
If Beals hadn't been sitting next to her in the car.
If Beals hadn't been a supernatural repo man looking to ...

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Soul Enchilada

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Girl meets boy at a car wash.
"Dog," she says.
"Dude," he says.
And probably this would have been a sweet teen romance. . . .
If Beals hadn't been sitting next to her in the car.
If Beals hadn't been a supernatural repo man looking to repossess her car.
And to possess her.

David Macinnis Gill delivers the whole enchilada. With a side of soul.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Deep in El Paso, Tex., Eunice "Bug" Smoot is behind on the rent and in danger of losing her job delivering pizzas, but at least she's got a smooth ride-a 1958 Cadillac Biarritz bequeathed by Papa C., her grandfather. Then the repo man shows up. Turns out Papa C. financed the car with his soul but disappeared upon death. Bug's got till midnight Halloween to produce grandpa's soul or turn over her keys-and her free will. To Bug's aid comes hunky Pesto, a car wash manager who moonlights for ISIS, the International Supernatural Immigration Service. Gill's debut features hilarious dialogue-Bug and Pesto don't talk; they sling witticisms at each other. And Bug is easy to love, a tough-talking teen whose life has been riddled with loss. But some readers may tire of the grosser details of demon warfare-lots of vomiting, maggots, even vomiting of maggots-and the story goes on past several natural stopping points. Still, this updated spin on deal-making with the devil shows that Gill, president of ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents), knows what will make teens laugh. Ages 14-up. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
VOYA - Marla K. Unruh
Not only is Eunice, aka Bug, part Tejano and part Black, but her soul is also an enchilada for the devil-in-disguise who has come to claim it and the 1958 Cadillac that her grandfather, Papa C, left her. Apparently Papa C sold his soul - and hers - to get the car. Help comes from an unexpected source in Pesto, the handsome guy at the car wash, whose other job is with ISIS, the netherworld agency in charge of deporting illegal demons. Together, Bug and Pesto fight against supernatural heavyweights Mr. Beals (Beelzebub) and Scratch (Lucifer), to save first the car and then her soul. With the help of E. Figg, the only lawyer in the world not on Mr. Beals's retainer, a contest is arranged that will decide everything. The athletic Bug will do what she does best - play the basketball game of her life. A feisty heroine who is determined to overcome even the powers of evil is a gratifying theme. The infernal beings raged against her, drawn from several mythologies, are imaginatively and vividly drawn. This world of evil powers, however, is actually more complex than the plot, and its various denizens are more interesting than the heroine. The demonic element of the plot is not quite comedic and not disturbing enough to make it a horror novel. Recommend it to youth looking for a different read. Reviewer: Marla K. Unruh
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

On her own and struggling to make ends meet, 18-year-old Eunice "Bug" Smoot has one cherished possession: the 1958 Cadillac Biarritz left to her by her grandfather. When she discovers that he offered not only his soul as collateral for the car, but also hers and that, somehow, his spirit has managed to evade repossession, she realizes she is in grave danger. With the aid of a cute boy who happens to be an aspiring agent of the International Supernatural Immigration Service; his mother, a spiritual advisor and witch; and an ancient lawyer specializing in conflicts between the earthly and spirit realms, Bug battles an evil djinn for her soul. Set in the Spanish-speaking neighborhoods of El Paso, Soul distinguishes itself from other recent supernatural farces such as Jonathan Bernstein's Hottie (Penguin/Razorbill, 2009) by giving voice to ethnic and economic minority characters. Indeed, Bug's first-person narration is feisty and knowing in the ways of class and prejudice ("Growing up half Tejana and half-African American," Bug claims, "I learned real quick that folks were going to put you down because of the color you were, no matter what color they were"). However, the increasingly dramatic confrontations and competitions pitting Bug and company against the djinn and the recurring discovery that yet another El Paso citizen is, in actuality, a demon or is demon-possessed threaten to derail the willing suspension of disbelief that novels like these demand.-Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston

Kirkus Reviews
Broke-down pizza-delivery heroine Eunice "Bug" Smoot's snake of a granddad sold his soul to the devil for a 1958 Cadillac Biarritz. When he flies the coop, Satan-aka Scratch-and his crony Beals (short for Beelzebub) chase Bug down for her soul faster than she can say "repo." Before she knows it, Bug is trapped in a satanic smackdown to save herself, her friends and her Cadillac. Convoluted? Completely. Bizarre? Absolutely. Hilarious and accessible? Totally! Gill scores big in this action-packed, power-punch of a debut. His dialogue slam-dunks with sass and clever wit that eases the reader into the strange, interlocking chain of events that befall Bug in the first few chapters. His characters are fully realized, intelligent, believable and lovable. The odd, Paradise Lost-like plot probably carries the least appeal of all the elements, but the dialogue and characterizations gently push-or shove, actually-the reader's suspension of disbelief over the edge. Seances! Hairspray! Basketball! Satan! All readers can do is buckle their seatbelts, close their eyes and take the plunge. (Fantasy. YA)
Melissa Marr
“In this fun spin on the age-old danger of deals with the devil, readers will cheer and worry as sassy Eunice ‘Bug’ Smoot fights both the literal and metaphorical demons that plague her. Wonderful and unexpectedly touching, this is a book meant for re-reading. Good stuff!”
Chris Crutcher
“Soul Enchilada is smart and funny and a bunch of fun to read. For years David Gill has been a powerful voice for Young Adult literature; now he is a powerful voice of Young Adult literature…You’re gonna love Bug.”
Mary Pearson
“I want you all to know you are in for a treat when David Gill’s Soul Enchilada comes out next year. It has, hands down, one of the most unique premises, setting, and voices I have heard in a long time!”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061673023
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/7/2009
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 368
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

David Macinnis Gill is a former high school teacher, and he lives on the North Carolina coast with his wife and children, fourteen fish, two birds, a nocturanl marsupial, and a very fat shelti. Visit his website at
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Read an Excerpt

Soul Enchilada AER

Chapter One

The Rent Man Cometh

Most folks don't know the exact minute that life's going to be over. I wasn't any different. I had no idea the end was coming, so I didn't realize when the landlord woke me up by beating on the front door of my apartment—a two-hundred-square-foot roach motel with a half bath, no phone, no cable, and no air conditioner—I only had sixty-one hours and forty-four minutes before my soul was taken away.

"Wake up if you know what's good for you," the landlord hollered in a thick peckerwood accent, repeatedly ringing the doorbell. "Rent's due!"

"Mr. Payne?" I groaned, and rolled off the couch, which I'd collapsed into at three A.M.

I stumbled across the apartment, shaking my dreads out and wishing to hell I hadn't slept in my work clothes, which were now more wrinkled than my Auntie Pearl's rear end.

I opened the door a crack. Light flooded into my eyes, half-blinding me, and I blinked at Mr. Payne like a groggy Gila monster. "You know what time it is?"

"Yes ma'am, Miss Smoot, I sure do. It's rent time." He stuck a yellowed, liver-spotted hand inside and started groping around. "You're five days late, Eunice, for the third month in a row. Ow!"

"Sorry," I said, because I'd leaned on the door, pinching his wrist in the crack. But I didn't give an inch.

Mr. Payne had pipe-cleaner wrists, a head shaped like a sapote fruit, and a long shank of hair he swirled over his bald spot like a hairy soft-serve ice cream. He was always getting in the tenants' business, especially mine.

Speaking of business, itwas time to go to work. I had just an hour till I was supposed to clock in.

"Rent!" Mr. Payne said, trying to yank his hand free.

"Uh." Did he think bullying me was going to make a stack of Benjamins magically pop into my wallet?

"Uh. Uh. Uh," he said, mocking me. "Cat got your tongue, young'un? Cat got your rent? You sure ain't got it, I can tell that much."

If I had the rent, I would've already paid him and gone back to bed. "Like I done told you—"

"Talk is cheap."

So was he. "Like I done told you," I repeated, "my boss, Vinnie, he don't pay us but every two weeks, so I'll get you the money tomorrow, a'ight?"

"Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. That's what you people always say."

No, he didn't. He did not just go there. "You people? You people? Now listen here, Mr. Payne."

Then he said something about me being so cranky all the time and why couldn't girls like me learn to go along to get along. Girls like what? I wanted to ask him. Poor girls who wear dreads and secondhand Baby Phats from the Goodwill? Mixed-race girls with hazel eyes and good hair, a pinch over five feet, with double-pierced lobes, who want something more out of life than somebody's prejudice or pity? All my life, folks had been looking at me sideways, especially when I was with my mama. The Tejanos didn't accept me because I was black. Black folks didn't accept me because I was a Tejana. There was a nasty name both groups called girls like me—coyote. They could all kiss my ass because I didn't need them to tell me who I was.

"Mr. Payne," I said, "you best move your bony hand before you have to 'go along' without it."

He yanked his arm out of the crack, and I took the chance to slam the door with all my weight—one hundred and two pounds sopping wet.

"Rent, Eunice. By five p.m. today. Or I'm starting eviction."

Eviction? That sent a shiver down my spine. I couldn't lose this apartment. It was the only thing between me and a cardboard box beneath an overpass on the Trans-Mountain Highway.

"What. Ever," I said through the door, which was as thin as Mr. P's comb-over.

"Tell that to the sheriff's deputy," he yelled, "after he chucks your belongings out on the street." His slippers made a shuffling sound on the stoop, and I let out a nervous breath, thankful he was gone.

I lived in mortal fear of landlords. Before Papa C died, me and him moved to a different place every six months, each worse than the one before. This apartment was the crappiest place I had ever lived, but I had promised myself when I moved in, there wouldn't be no eviction notices nailed to my door. Which gave me less than six hours to get the man his money.

I pinched my bottom lip. Other than selling my body, which ain't ever going to happen, there was no way I'd ever come up with that much cash so fast.

Bam! Bam!

I jumped back from the door, a hand over my thumping heart. He wasn't serving me notice already, was he? Bug, girl, I told myself, you been way too jumpy lately. Best calm down. All he wants is the rent money, and you're getting paid, right? "What you want now?" I said through the door.

"Get that junker of yours cleaned up pronto before I call a tow truck to haul it off as a public nuisance."

My car? My classic 1958 Cadillac Biarritz? Wasn't no tow truck ever touching it. Over my dead body. "What happened to my ride? And don't you be calling it no junker."

I swung the door open, slipped past Mr. Payne, and jogged around the corner of the building. My studio apartment was the last unit on a long row house. The building was yellow-brown brick with a flat roof and sagging awnings over the concrete stoops. There were little patches of dirt yards in front, and a crumbling sidewalk. My unit had a long driveway with a carport awning, which is where I had parked my ride last night at three A.M., right next to the No Parking sign.

I stopped mid-step, and my mouth dropped open. Somebody, some asshole, had egged my car.

Soul Enchilada AER. Copyright © by David Gill. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 13, 2009

    The most deliciously satisfying read you'll find!

    Bug is too smart for her own good, in both senses of the word. Her smack-talking comebacks tend to get her in trouble with people like her boss and her landlord, but Bug always comes out on top because she outwits anyone who gets in her way.<BR/><BR/>Except this one guy, Beals, who is totally freaking her out. Maybe it has to do with his forked tongue...or the fact that he pops out of nowhere. Or that he claims to be a repossession agent from Hell, here to take Bug's prize (and pretty much only) possession...her Papa C's car. HER car.<BR/>Ain't no way that's happening...not as long as Bug's around. <BR/><BR/>Beals is the most deliciously dry and sarcastic nemesis I've read, and the repelling chemistry between these two characters is enough to make the pages vibrate. <BR/><BR/>The action and constant element of surprise in this book keep readers zipping through those quivering pages to see how things play out. The LOL humor here is the kind that most authors only wish they could stir, engaging readers from page one. <BR/><BR/>Bug's boy, Pesto, brings just enough romance to keep things stirred up, but it isn't enough to gag unsuspecting readers, as in some books which shall remain nameless. And the rest of the characters? You REALLY need to meet them for yourself. Unbelievable! <BR/><BR/>THIS is an author worth watching!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2012


    These arent reviews...

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2011

    Nice story - well written

    I'm most of the way through the book so far, and find it easy to read, with an interesting plot. It could be a more well rounded if we found out more about some of the other characters, rather than being n the first person, but the author has done well with what he has to work with.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2012

    My absolute favorite book ever!!!!!!!!!

    He did a fanominal job writing this book. I was so entriged that i NEVER PUT THIS BOOK DOWN until i was finished. . So about three hours. . He he ;) And omg! Pesto sounds incredible HOT.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2012

    Hi im jaz and i was woundering if um.. Hi im jaz. And i was woundering who r u guys?

    I would like to join are you frm that book warrirs

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    Waspkit to Emberstar

    I would like to join your clan! Plz tell me iff you except. I am a moss green tom with bright green eyes and sharp hooked claws. =]

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 9 Customer Reviews

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