Monday, May 21, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Gustav Gloom and the People Taker, by Adam-Troy Castro

Somehow blogger has deleted the original from my feed so I'm reposting it now and I will try to go back and re-enter in the comments. The contest included in this post has already been closed and is not accepting new entries!

Yay--it's time for another MMGM (my favorite blogging day of the week!). 

And this week I have something EXTRA special for you because the AWESOME Claire Legrand--whose upcoming middle grade THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS is at the top of my WANT TO READ list--is taking over my blog with an awesome feature, an awesome interview, and an even more awesome ARC giveaway. 

And now that I've THOROUGHLY abused the word "awesome", I'll let Claire take it away from here:

Hello, MMGMers! My name is Claire Legrand, and our lovely host Shannon has graciously allowed me to do a MMGM guest post for today. My debut middle grade novel, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, comes out August 28 from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers!

My MMGM book is Gustav Gloom and the People Taker, by Adam-Troy Castro.

This book is the first in a series, and I just LOVED it! I’ve written up my review below, followed by a brief interview with the author and an ARC giveaway! But first, check out the summary from Goodreads:
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.*
- The Mundie Moms are now part of the MMGM fun (eee!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week!    
-  Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!    
- Barbara Watson is wondering at WONDER. Click HERE to see why. 
- Brennan and Meyrick Murphy are championing the GIRLS' GHOST HUNTING GUIDE. Click HERE to learn all the reasons Meyrick loved it.   
- Tricia Conway is raving about A MONSTER CALLS. Click HERE to read her review.  
- Laurisa Reyes has an interview with author Steven Peck--plus a GIVEAWAY! Click HERE for details 
- Natalie Aguirre is interviewing Marissa Burt and GIVING AWAY a copy of STORYBOUND.  Click HERE to check it out.  
- Susan Olson has two more recommendations for you this week: 11 BIRTHDAYS and REAL.  Click HERE to see more.   
- Jennifer Rumberger is in love with MR. AND MRS. BUNNY. Click HERE to see why 
- Michelle Isenhoff is caught up in HOW TO SLAY A DRAGON. Click HERE to learn more about it. 
- Dorine White is more than just okay with OKAY FOR NOW.  Click HERE to see what she loved.

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.


  1. From Carina Olson:

    Ohh, thank you so much for this interview and giveaway :D I love the cover for this book. It is stunning! Would love to win it :D <3 Thank you. Love, Carina

  2. From Laura Pauling:

    Love the cover. Reminds me of Tim Burton a little bit!

  3. From SA Larsen=)

    This sounds wonderful!! I love MG books with a bit of creep in them. ;D

  4. From Natalie Aguirre:

    Awesome interview. Sounds like a great book. I love creepy stories. on Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Gustav Gloom and the People Taker, by Adam-Troy Castro--and an ARC Giveaway!

  5. From Enbrethiliel:

    +JMJ+ I love the idea that shadows (and reflections, perhaps?) have lives of their own! Was it, perhaps, inspired by Peter Pan's famous shadow? =) And does the library of all books that were never written remind anyone else of Neil Gaiman or what? =P Thanks for the giveaway, Shannon!

  6. From Temre Beltz:

    Thanks so much for this review and interview! This book sounds amazing and like something I would love! Also very excited for The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. Thanks for all the wonderful MMGM links!

  7. From Beth DeRenzis:

    Oooh, this looks so good! Excited for it!

  8. From Vivien:

    Another great recommendation! Sounds like a great read.

  9. From Barbara Watson:

    Shadows have their own lives--love that premise! Thank you for highlighting this, Claire. I'm also looking forward to reading your book when it releases!

  10. From Catherinemjohnson:

    That sounds awesome and I love the cover!

  11. From elena:

    Ooh I love MG books and Gustav Gloom seems FANTASTIC. Like Claire, I'm a huge fan of dark creepy stories too. Great interview!

  12. From Derryl Murphy:

    I have a boy who would love this (and yeah, me too).

  13. From Nat:

    Thanks so much for the chance. My son saw the cover of this and told me I HAVE to win it PLEASE!!! Thats the way he said it, haha.

  14. From Malvina Beatrice:

    Sounds like a wonderful read! Love the illustrations.

  15. From Carmen:

    I LOVE creepy MG books. Both of these sound awesome!!

  16. From Angela Russell:

    It really sounds like a fun book - so interesting and different. Something to sink your teeth into! And I love his cats' names. Well done.

  17. From Nicole Zoltac:

    Oh, this sounds awesome!

  18. From Michelle:

    Great recommendation!

  19. From Tore:

    Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to read this book. Please enter me in contest.

  20. From Laurisa White Reyes:

    This book sounds so cute! I liked it just from the cover. laurisawhitereyes at yahoo dot com

  21. From Alexia:

    This sounds super fun! I'm trying my hand at MG too, after writing a couple adult novels. It's been an exciting challenge!

  22. From wyjoe:

    I tried commenting earlier, but I'm not sure it worked. I'm looking forward to the Gloom books.

  23. From Heidi Grange:

    A world just for shadows, what an awesome idea. I know my kids would like this. I'm always getting requests for 'scary' books. :)

  24. From Sophie:

    I would love to read this book! Sounds great, and the cover alone is amazing.

  25. From Marsh and Emiline

    Of course we would love to win!! It looks like a great book and we love creepy things. Thanks for another great book suggestion. Marsh & Emiline

  26. From Vicki Tremper:

    Ooh, I love the cover! Thanks for featuring this book. I'll try to email you the link to my next MMGM post. I've been doing them (and linking back to you) since January, just on my own.

  27. From Christa @ Hooked on Books:

    This book sounds great! And the cover is just adorable. Definitely adding it to my to-read list! I also love Middle Grade Mondays! Will definitely be sending some links to be added in the future.

  28. From Melanie Conklin:

    I'm a big fan of Roald Dahl! In fact, I can't help putting a Dahl book up more often than not on my blog. I'm really looking forward to reading Gustav Gloom after this enchanting interview! I'm pleased to meet you Shannon, and glad I found your blog! Off to add these books to my Goodreads list now :) Best, Melanie

  29. From Jill the Owl:

    I just love the concept for this book! Awesome!!!! Thanks for sharing it!

  30. From Jasmine Rose:

    I'd never ever heard of this one before but it sounds super good :]

  31. From Susanne Drazic:

    The first thing I want to say is I absolutely like that cover! I so want to read this book! It's going on my TBR book list. Enjoyed the interview. I have the Doctor Doolittle 6 volume book set by Hugh Lofting. They were books from my childhood that my mom passed on to me after my son was born.


Yay-I love comments! Thank you so much! (But please remember to keep your comments spoiler-free. Also, I try to keep this a happy, positive place. Friendly debate is fine, but always be kind to each other). <3