O P E N I N G   H O O K:

The Mortification of Fovea Munson
Dead bodies are the worst.

I've been trying to explain that to my parents for years. Mostly, I don't come right out and say it, but sometimes I can't help myself.

The main problem is that they just don't seem to get it.

I'll say: "Dead bodies are the worst."

They'll say: "Fovea! They're so helpful! There's nothing better than a good, helpful dead body!"

"Especially," my dad might say.

"When you need a hand!" my mom will finish.

Then the two of them probably high-five over the dinner table, giggling.

(Page 1-2, US ARC edition)

“I put my hand on the doorknob, and as I pushed the door open, I heard a new voice singing. It has to be the radio, said part of my brain.
Stab them both in the legs, said another part.
And then the door was all the way open and the bright shining white of the lab floors and the walls and the metal tabletops blinded me for a second.
I blinked hard.
And I saw that there was going to be no stabbing in legs.
Because the voices were coming from heads.
Two heads.
Heads that did not have legs. Or, in fact, anything below the neck area.
I definitely didn't picture myself throwing up all over the floor.
But I did it very well anyway.” 

Happy Halloween bookworms!!! If you're anything like me, you gorge on horror and suspense and halloweenish reads all year round, but this time of year the options are particularly in season. Of course there are those who like to enjoy the halloween season but aren't particularly fond of gore or intense scares. Today I'm reviewing a great middle grade option for when you want something equal parts creep/quirk. THE MORTIFICATION OF FOVEA MUNSON by Mary Winn Heider is a delightful romp with everything from a Hippocrates inspired rap to all the Frankenstein references you can handle!!

Fovea Munson is not fond of many things. The first being that her parents named her Fovea, which she explains is medical terminology for eyeballs. She's also not overtly fond of the fact that her parents work in a cadaver lab and are blissfully unaware as to how that might make it difficult for their daughter to navigate a middle school life. When her parents goad her into being their secretary for the summer she thinks things can't possibly get any worse...until the talking heads ask her for a favor. What do you do when you've been trying to shake off weird and quirky your whole life and you suddenly find yourself neck deep? PUN INTENDED.

I fell in love with the writing in this middle grade novel. As you can see my quote is absurdly long, and this is because I found it hard to cherry pick one or two sentences to isolate. Everything Heider writes lends itself to the next statement, and the next, to the overarching plot and the character development Fovea goes through. One isolated paragraph doesn't pack the same punch without the former and the following ones in line ...the jokes build up. AND OH WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THE CHAPTER TITLES. I mean....winner of quirkiest most belly laugh inducing chapter title has to go to "Hippocrates did not have conversations with bodilessheads. He just didn't." Don't get me wrong Fovea is dealing with body parts and the fact that she finds this goosebump raising, horrific, and creepy is definitely felt. But there's this undertone of absurdity to it all, of irony and Fovea's spot on 12 year old narration just adds an amusement to every chapter that feels good. I don't want to spoil the unique quirkiness of the plot but Fovea's adventures are sure to draw you in and make  you want to lend an ear....an eye....you get it!

Check out THE MORTIFICATION OF FOVEA by Mary Winn Heider, it's staying power will linger long after the halloween gouls and ghosts and headless barbershop quartets have been laid to rest.


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG  ( No romance )
Language: PG  ( No cursing )
Violence: PG  ( Even though we're dealing with disembodied heads there's not much in the way of violence.)
Other:  --

C O V E R   D E S I G N:

There is something about the blue mingled with a sickly green/yellow spotlight that gives the cover the most delightfully quirky/noir feel. You've got lab materials, you've got the heads, you've got poor Fovea looking completely overwhelmed. I especially love the subtle breakdown of the title lettering.

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Mary Winn Heider
Release Date: June 5th 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Received: For Review

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.