My MMGM book is Gustav Gloom and the People Taker, by Adam-Troy Castro.
Enter an exciting new world of shadows from Hugo Award nominee Adam-Troy Castro. Meet Gustav Gloom.
Fernie What finds herself lost in the Gloom mansion after her cat appears to have been chased there by its own shadow. Fernie discovers a library full of every book that was never written, a gallery of statues that are just plain awkward, and finds herself at dinner watching her own shadow take part in the feast!
Along the way Fernie is chased by the People Taker who is determined to take her to the Shadow Country. It's up to Fernie and Gustav to stop the People Taker before he takes Fernie's family.
Featuring a unique cover and beautifully dark full-page illustrations by Kristen Margiotta, Gustav Gloom is sure to be a hit with fans who love a little darkness in their lives.
As you might have guessed if you know anything about my book The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, I am a huge fan of dark, creepy stories—especially when they have a bit of humor and heart mixed in! I was therefore tremendously excited to read Gustav Gloom, and it did not disappoint!
The whole concept here—that shadows have lives of their own, and really an entire land of their own, called the Shadow Country—is just plain fun. It also makes for a seriously creepy atmosphere once Fernie, one of the main characters, enters the Gloom house. Everything is dark, twisty-turny, and—of course—full of shadows, all with their own distinct personalities. The Gloom house is unpredictable and seemingly never-ending; it’s one of only a few shadow houses in the world, after all, so lots of shadows have to fit inside: shadow food, shadow furniture, the shadows of books that were never written, even dinosaur shadows!
The world Castro created in Gustav Gloom has infinite possibilities. The hissing, super-creepy People Taker is a bad guy, yes, but he obviously works for something even more big and bad, and I can’t wait until—hopefully?—Gustav and Fernie venture into the Shadow Country to confront the greater evil there. Oh, and speaking of evil, let me just say that I LOVED the Beast, probably the most terrifying thing in the Gloom house—even more so than the People Taker! I won’t say more about the Beast here and ruin the surprise, but be prepared to shiver!
With a wildly imaginative setting, dry humor and language reminiscent of Roald Dahl and Lemony Snicket, and a truly touching friendship between our two heroes Gustav and Fernie, Gustav Gloom and the People Taker is a satisfying start to what is sure to be a creepalicious adventure of a series!
Interview with author Adam-Troy Castro:
CL: You've written science fiction, fantasy, and horror for adults. What made you want to write a middle grade series?
ATC: It was always something I wanted to try, at some point. I conceive the story first and then worry about the genre. In the case of Gustav, I was invited to try a middle-grade book by an editor other than the one who eventually snagged him; various boring reasons led to that falling through before more than a chapter or so was written, but a differently-discerning heads prevailed elsewhere, and I've been running around the Gloom house ever since.
CL: What is your favorite thing about writing middle grade compared to writing for adults?
ATC: Although the Gustav books have more than their share of terror, danger, and strong emotions, the one element that has never been in my repertoire before and that I find I deeply enjoy bringing to these books is innocence. My viewpoint character Fernie What is old enough and smart enough to be fully aware that the Gloom house is not part of the real world she's grown up, but she is able to take much of what she sees in stride, in a way that many adults would not.
CL: What are some of your favorite middle grade books? Did any in particular inspire you while writing GUSTAV GLOOM?
ATC: Well, there's Tom Sawyer, of course...and its sequel Tom Sawyer Abroad. (I don't count the interim book, Huckleberry Finn, as specifically "for kids.") I am a stone Harry Potter fan and indeed wrote a book analyzing the series. I am also a fan of Robert Cormier, though his stuff was young-adult and not middle school. As a kid, I was deeply, deeply in love with Hugh Lofting's Doctor Doolittle volumes. It, and more adult influences than I can name, all went into the stew that resulted in Gustav.
CL: I loved the Gloom House. There are so many awesome rooms and I get the feeling that there is much, much more to see! What is your personal favorite room? (I loved the Too Much Sitting Room -- such a creepy idea!)
ATC: The Too-Much Sitting Room is one of my personal favorites as well. There's lots of interesting rooms coming up, including a place introduced in Book 2 that is anything but creepy, and a set of stairs in Book 3 that doesn't lead anywhere you would expect. Starting in Book 4, the stakes are raised and the settings become stranger. Wait ’til you see.
CL: What does your shadow like to do in his spare time? (Mine likes to raid the refrigerator's shadow.)
ATC: Mine plays the accordion and tap-dances through the house, playing "Lady Of Spain." If you have any clues how I can get him to stop. It's distracting.
Bio (from website)
Adam-Troy Castro's twenty-five books include the Philip K. Dick Award winning Emissaries From the Dead, first of three featuring the brilliant and tormented trouble-shooter, Andrea Cort. His short fiction has been nominated for two Hugos, three Stokers, and eight Nebulas. Adam's next major project is a series of middle-grade novels featuring a very strange young boy named Gustav Gloom. The first of these is Gustav Gloom and the People Taker, set for release from Grossett and Dunlap in August 2012. Adam lives in Miami with his wife Judi and a trio of insane cats who include Uma Furman, Meow Farrow and Harley Quinn.website | goodreads | facebook
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Ooo, this one sounds REALLY cool. Thanks so much for pointing it out, Claire!
And as promised, Claire has been generous enough to give away her ARC to one of you guys (even though I kind of want to rig the contest and win it myself. I won't. But I'm tempted!)
To enter, make sure you leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm pacific time on Saturday, May 26th. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Sunday, May 27th. International entries welcome. (and while following my blog is not a requirement, I do recommend it, since I don't email winners. So make sure you don't miss the post and lose out on your prize!)
And for more awesome middle grade recommendations, check out these other MMGMs floating around the blogosphere.*
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so I see it)
NOTE: I used to not have a cut-off time for adding links to the post, but with how insane my schedule is right now, if you don't email me by Sunday evening (usually around 11pm PST is when I put the links together) I can't guarantee I'll have a chance to add you. BUT, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you!
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen posts ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me ahead of time.