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Reviewed by:
Heider, Mary WinnThe Mortification of Fovea Munson; illus. by Chi Birmingham.Disney Hyperion, 2018 [336p]
ISBN 978-1-4847-8054-1 $16.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4–6

Fovea Munson has kept the truth about her parents’ career hidden until seventh grade when Em Taylor, a former friend blabs the dirty details: the Munsons own a cadaver lab and operate on dead people. Fo’s looking forward to getting away from the teasing at sleepaway summer camp, but those plans are derailed when her parents announce she must spend the summer working in their lab as a receptionist. That’s offputting in its own right, but Fovea is in for the shock of her life when she discovers that there are three talking severed heads defrosting in the wet lab and they need her help. The author keeps middle-grade sensibilities firmly in mind amid the wackiness: Fovea, for instance, is sympathetic because she overvalues her peers’ opinions of her, is completely embarrassed by her oddball parents, and hopes to rekindle her friendship with an ex-friend. While the book occasionally overdoes the absurdity, readers will still appreciate this offbeat exploration of life and death. Final art not seen.

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