Disney Book Group is partnering with me for a fun giveaway here featuring a fantastically eccentric middle grade read!
Read on for my thoughts on Mary Winn Heider’s children’s novel, The Mortification of Fovea Munson, some spooky talk, and all the information you need to enter this perfect-for-Halloween giveaway, open to US residents!
The Mortification of Fovea Munson by Mary Winn Heider, illustrations by Chi Birmingham
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Disney Book Group. Thank you!
In Stores Now! Publication: June 5, 2018 by by Disney-Hyperion, rec. ages 8-12
Fovea Munson is nobody’s Igor.
True, her parents own a cadaver lab where they perform surgeries on dead bodies. And yes, that makes her gross by association, at least according to everyone in seventh grade. And sure, Fovea’s stuck working at the lab now that her summer camp plans have fallen through. But she is by no means Dr. Frankenstein’s snuffling assistant! That is, until three disembodied heads, left to thaw in the wet lab, start talking. To her. Out loud. What seems like a nightmare, or bizarre hallucination, is not. Fovea is somebody’s Igor, all right. Three somebodies, actually. And they need a favor.
With a madcap sense of humor and a lot of heart (not to mention other body parts), this is a story about finding oneself, finding one’s friends, and embracing the moment.
Dead bodies are the worst.
Get ready for some tremendously funny and seriously off the wall adventures with Mary Winn Heider’s debut middle grade novel, The Mortification of Fovea Munson.
Told in the first-person narrative of seventh-grader Fovea Hippocrates Munson, Mary Winn Heider’s novel follows Fovea as she embarks on one the of the oddest, funniest (and possibly yuckiest) summers even known. Fovea’s parents are both doctors, but doctors that prefer to work with and on human cadavers- her parents even have their own lab in Chicago where they study and perform research and experiments. For most of Fovea’s life, the fact of what her parent’s actually do as doctors has been kept a secret between her and her best friend Em. Until one day in seventh grade when Em blabs to a new, cool girl she hopes to be friends with during an assembly- and as a result of her blabbing, Em becomes Fovea’s former-best-friend and basically ruins the school and social life of Fovea (who gets called Igor by doltish classmates) and made fun of for having supposedly weird, gross parents. As Fovea faces the summer after an awful seventh grade of having to work in her parent’s lab- something she does not want to do, having explicitly told her parents she wants nothing to do with bodies, medicine, etc., ever- her fears regarding her parent’s cadaver lab come to life when two defrosting human heads in her parents ‘Hall of Innards’ (yes, innards) start talking to Fovea and begging for her help with a task that needs to be completed. Fovea reacts to detached human heads talking to her as one might imagine: she vomits. But! Fovea is drawn back into their conversation and is essentially compelled to help the two heads (named Lake and Andy) with their task in order to prevent her parent’s lab being shut-down by a deranged, love-sick villain. Add in Fovea’s amazing, cutting and riotous grandma, who surprises at every turn; an understanding classmate named Howe who accompanies Fovea and stands by her side through every insanity; a third talking head; and a few hysterical turns followed by some heartache, and you’ve got a totally strange, hilarious and arguably moving read. There are a handful of black and white illustrations throughout the novel by artist Chi Birmingham, and I find they have been terrifically placed to capture the most of the most bizarre moments in the novel. Birmingham’s artwork style is clean- uncluttered – yet the artist’s kind of understated style manages to perfectly encapsulate the total wackiness of certain situations and bring them to life (e.g. when a main character throws a human head at someone, to name but one situation!).
Overall, what great, laugh-out-loud and bizarre reading! Truly original and refreshing, featuring an awesome, reflective protagonist in Fovea Munson and some very memorable secondary characters, The Mortification of Fovea Munson is terrific. Readers who love the strange, the madcap, the sometimes disgusting, and often thoughtful, this is the read for you. Think a combination of Gordan Korman’s kookiest, mixed in with the humour of Meg Cabot or Louise Rennison, and add in some laboratory and body part ickiness (think Mark Tatulli’s Liō), and you might get something like Mary Winn Heider’s novel!
The Mortification of Fovea Munson would be something I would read any time of year as I love kooky, original and funny reads, but how especially perfect is it for the Halloween season! As mentioned above, you get an inside look into a cadaver lab, pun-loving doctors, a girl who converses with human heads, thawing, dripping, goopy body parts, and other outright oddness! When I was growing up, I would often look at my older brother’s bookshelves and wonder ‘Hmm, just how scary is Stephen King’s It??’ Well, reader, I did read It, was forever scarred- that being said, I’ve always appreciated a good ghost story or spooky reads! When I was younger I loved the cute spooky side of things, never enjoyed scary movies, and much preferred handing out candies rather than actually trick-or-treating (and this still rings mostly true), but as I’ve gotten older and now have young kids, I find myself appreciating the season more. I love taking my oldest trick-or-treating- she is bananas exciting for Halloween, decorating for the season, reading Halloween books, watching Vampirina, dressing up, etc.- and it’s such a cool, fun thing to experience the Halloween season with her. Since I’ve been a children’s librarian as well, I found myself anticipating the Halloween season- this might be a great effect of years of preparing spookily fun puppet shows, getting seasonal storytimes ready, and dressing up and performing at the library! I don’t have my costume for this year as yet, but I have to say, I’ve been inspired by a few fashion moments from The Mortification of Fovea Munson. No spoilers, but there is a character who is forced to wear lab goggles and a necklace made of vegetables…Fovea herself even dresses up as a kidney. There are, as the fashionable cool kids on Instagram might say, some serious lewks in this book.
Nobody’s Igor! Play pretend on Halloween, but every other day be loud and proud YOU!
One (1) winner receives:
- The Mortification of Fovea Munson
- and a “Like A Boss” pencil case.
Please note that the Nobody’s Igor giveaway is open to US addresses only! Giveaway will run from October 8, 2018 to October 18, 2018. The winner will be randomly drawn via Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) OR via Twitter to confirm their US mailing address, or another entry will be drawn. Prizing and samples provided by Disney Book Group.
I received a copy of The Mortification of Fovea Munson courtesy of Disney Book Group in exchange for an honest review and for the purposes of this blog post. All opinions and comments are my own. Giveaway prizing provided by Disney Book Group.