Monday, November 25, 2013

MG Book Review: Doom & Gloom, by Monica Shaughnessy

General Information
Publisher: Jumping Jackalope
Year of publication: 2013
# of chapters: 22
# of pages: (e-book)
Genre: sci-fi/action/adventure
Book trailer on YouTube

Plot summary (from Amazon):
Dane Winter has never, ever been afraid of the dark.

As the richest kid in Winterville, he lives in a mansion, owns tons of gadgets, and gets $1,200 a week in allowance. In fact, he has everything a twelve-year-old could want, except his freedom. Born with a rare sun allergy, Dane is forced to spend his days in the gloom of Winter Mansion, hiding from deadly UV rays. But everything changes the day his parents give him a solar protection suit.

Using this spectacular new gift, Dane explores the town his ancestors built and finds all is not well with Winterville. The evil Mad Dogs are on the move, and they're planning their biggest caper yet. Intent on stopping them, Dane dons his suit, teams up with his klutzy gal pal, Jinx Bellamy, and resurrects their childhood superhero team of Doom & Gloom. Though he soon finds saving the day is a whole lot harder than it looks in comic books. Full of sci-fi fun and dazzling swordplay, Doom & Gloom delivers for action/adventure lovers, ages 9+.

Positive Points
The setting is original: a ridiculously rich kid with a rare disease, living in a mansion and playing with cool gadgets made just for him. The gadgets (ranging from dog robots to a special invisibility suit) are made up, of course, but the disease is real, though very rare. It's called Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP), which is an allergy to the sun. I've learned a lot about this condition by reading this novel. I like novels that teach real facts in an entertaining way and that raise people's awareness to a little-known illness or situation. This is one of them.

The story is well written and engaging, with unexpected twists and a lot of suspense. I got sucked into the story from the beginning of chapter 1, and it kept my attention until the very last page.

The characters are unique and well developed. I love the main character, of course, but I think my favorite character is Alexandrov, the Russian fencing coach. I'm not the only one who likes him, apparently. The caregiver, Maeve, seems to enjoy his company a lot. His way of speaking was very well done. It added a touch of humor to the story. It made me laugh more than once. Dane's unlucky best friend, Jinx, is also very likable.

Negative Points
The only thing I can think of that would be negative is that the main character lies openly. It made him a little less of a role model, to my opinion. But I forgive him, because he saved the town from the Mad Dogs trying to take it over, and he became a hero in the process.

What makes this book unique
I'm sure children with XP will find comfort in reading this book. The hero is just like them! And for the rest of us, this book is a good way to learn that some kids don't get to play in the sun, something we take for granted and don't even think about. How would it be like to never go out in the sunlight? Dane shows it very well in this book.

Overall Impression
This was a great read, and I'm thinking it would appeal to both boys and girls, but especially to boys. I'm hearing there will be a book 2, but it hasn't been published yet. This novel read like a traditionally published book. I'm impressed!

My Rating:

Thinking of purchasing this book? I'll make it easy for you:


Monica Shaughnessy said...

Thanks for the awesome review! I'll be posting this everywhere!

Alexandrov was a fun character to write. His frustration with the English language gave me a lot of room for comedy. :-)

As for Book 2, it's outlined, but not written. I should be able to work on it in the spring. Dane and Jinx are just getting started...

Annie said...

My pleasure, Monica! Can't wait to read book 2 when it's ready! No pressure...

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Geez, that's some kind of allowance! lol

This sounds really good for an MGer. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Unknown said...

This sounds wonderful and like it would be so much fun if it were a movie! I also love it when real things (like XP) are explored in kids' books. It's great for kids to learn about others and their lives and challenges. Thanks for the awesome review, Annie! :-)

Unknown said...

DOOM & GLOOM was such a fun summer read.
I hope to read book 2 summer 2014.

Greg Pattridge said...

Thanks for your insights into this unique and fun sounding book. Can't wait to read it for myself.

Anonymous said...

that's quite the allowance :) looks like a fun read - thanks for the heads up.

Liane said...

Ooh, adding to my ever-lengthening list of books to read. Thanks. :)

DMS said...

I love the title! This is one I haven't read- but it does sound unique and so interesting! I will definitely be reading this one. I love books that teach me things and entertain me at the same time. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. If the book impressed you that much then I definitely should give it a try. :)


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