From the Grave

ftg-coverJust released! Middle grade monster mayhem!

Title: From the Grave
Written by: Cynthia Reeg
Release date October 18, 2016
Suitable for ages: 9-12
Juvenile fiction, fantasy, humor
Themes/topics: belonging, tolerance, monsters

Opening:
Shocktober 13, Year of the Scrull
Moanday morning, with all its determined drear, crept upon me with silent, somber feet. It settled heavy on my broad shoulders, while I waited for the Odd Monsters Out bus to arrive. Bony skeleton trees clattered in the Uggarland wind. The swirling gust stirred up a powerful aroma of decay and dread. A scent I should have relished.
I shuffled my bucket-sized feet in my freshly polished boots. Even Uggarland’s gray gloom couldn’t quite calm me. I sensed trouble.

Brief synopsis
Monster is as monster does, but Frankenstein Frightface Gordon is totally the wrong shade of ghastly green—pale, baby blue, in fact—and he’s more concerned with keeping his pants neat and tidy than scaring the pants off his victims. But when a new law is passed to rid Uggarland of misfits such as Frank, he must decide if he will become the monster his parents can be proud of or be the monster he can be proud of. Trusting the monsterliest monster he knows, Frank looks to the grave and his dead grandmother to make his choice, entering into an adventure that will either seal his doom or prove he is truly monster enough.

Why I like this book:
First, a disclaimer. I know Cindy as a critique partner and admire her writing skills. However, I hadn’t seen this story until I received the advance copy for review.

Cindy had me at the first chapter. Immediately, the text became a movie in my head. The incredibly humorous and endearing characters came alive with all their misfit idiosyncrasies.

Pale blue neatnik Frank does his best to pretend to be “normal,” but he just can’t deny the good feeling that comes with slicked back hair, neatly trimmed nails, a buttoned down collar, and tucked in shirt tail. His misfit buddies include a mummy who trails his loose wrappings, a gargoyle with two heads that nag each other, a dragon who spews water, a witch who fears flying, and a one-eyed diva ogre. Any child who has ever felt like a misfit (let’s face it, that would be all of us) will connect with these maligned monsters, each one so full of heart.

One of the great joys of writing is word play, and, clearly, Cindy had a blast with this story. Slobopatamus and beezle bugs. Moanday and Frightday. Barfeteria and unsocial studies in a school guided by the principles “No Monster Left Behind” and “Mayhem When Appropriate.” Exclamations of snotfargle and dingle rotThe totally fun language is irresistible and, no doubt, will inspire young writers’ creativity.

What has always amazed me about Cindy’s writing is her ability to imbue each character with such heart, allowing the reader to connect on a deep level. While I love the action filled plot, humorous take on the world, and word play, I am drawn to the themes of acceptance that really hit home. FROM THE GRAVE is a monster hit in every way.

Due to a transition period for Jolly Fish Press, production of FROM THE GRAVE was temporarily suspended, but it is still available for order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or any Independent bookstore and should be back in print shortly. The monsters appreciate your patience–keep calm and scary on!

Stay tuned for November’s “Mining for Heart” when Cindy shares her thoughts on finding and communicating the heart of a story.

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