Soul Enchilada

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Soul Enchilada Book Poster Image
Entertaining battle with the Devil; some swearing.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages
Violence

Some rough play in basketball, a girl is bitten by a dog and cut by a demon, a coyote rips out the throat of a demon, horrible visions of war.

Sex

References to prostitution, "hooking up," getting pregnant, some kissing.

Language

Frequent use of "ass" and "asshole," plus "peckerwood," "s--t" and the Spanish word for "s--t," "f'ed up" spelled just that way, "bastard," "bitch," "goddamn."

Consumerism

Clothing, shoe, candy, cereal, car, fast food, beer, sneaker brands mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

References to marijuana and morphine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a novel for young teens. There are mild sexual references, a good bit of swearing, commercial references, and some mild violence.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 13 years old Written byKeilimepi August 16, 2011
Teen, 15 years old Written byKGT24 January 7, 2010
Love It So much.

What's the story?

Bug Smoot, on her own at 18 after all her family members died off one by one, broke, about to lose her cruddy apartment and her job delivering pizza, finds that fate has dealt her one more blow. Apparently her grandfather had sold his soul to the Devil for a Cadillac, but when he died he somehow escaped collection. So now the Devil's minion, Beales, wants the car and Bug's grandfather's soul, and if she can't deliver, he'll take hers instead. But Beales may have more on his mind than a simple repo job.

Is it any good?

Though it goes on a bit longer than it should have, and the resolution is not entirely clear, this is mostly a joyride. Most of the pleasure comes from the often delightfully-named characters: crabby and cantankerous Bug (who tells the story in her own peculiar mashup of Hispanic and African-American idiom and attitude), kind, enthusiastic, and lovelorn Pesto, Pesto's earthy witch mother, the ancient lawyer E. Figg, not to mention the wickedly charming Beales and Scratch. Though many of the characters are rather one-note, those notes often make a pleasing harmony.

The setting, in the Hispanic neighborhoods of El Paso around the Day of the Dead, adds flavor as picante as any salsa -- in fact, after several of the scenes you may find yourself craving some Mexican take-out. The story is in need of some tightening, but this is one of those books about which it's best not to think too hard. Just enjoy the ride, and hope for Bug and Pesto to reappear in another devil-fighting adventure.

From the Book:
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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about stories about bets with the Devil, and selling one's soul to him. Why are there so many stories like this? What is the human fascination with the Devil? Why is he so often portrayed as rather charming and likable?

Book details

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