Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: School of Fear

Middle Grade Author Shannon Whitney Messenger began Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays a while back. If you love middle grade literature, check out her blog on Mondays for a list of other sites featuring MG books.

Today I’ll talk about School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari.

From Goodreads: Everyone is afraid of something…

Madeleine Masterson is deathly afraid of bugs, especially spiders.

Theodore Bartholomew is petrified of dying.

Lulu Punchalower is scared of confined spaces.

Garrison Feldman is terrified of deep water.

With very few options left, the parents of these four twelve year-olds send them to the highly elusive and exclusive School of Fear to help them overcome their phobias. But when their peculiar teacher, Mrs. Wellington, and her unconventional teaching methods turn out to be more frightening than even their fears, the foursome realize that this just may be the scariest summer of their lives.

From Vicki: I had wanted to read this one since it was published in 2009, but was so focused on young adult that I didn’t take the time. It was worth the wait.

It’s a different style than I’m used to, but I enjoyed that aspect. Instead of just one main character, we essentially get four. A distant third-person narrator tells each child’s story in alternating chapters. Each kid (each character, too, in fact) is extremely quirky in a different way and has a different voice. I think my favorite would have to be Teddy, who is full of facts about different ways to die. But I enjoyed all the characters and their interactions and how they learned to work together as a team to solve their biggest problem.

I figured out the twist, and some kids might as well, but it didn’t detract from the story. I was still hooked and had to read on to see if I was right, and to see how the kids would handle it in the end.

Definitely one of the more original books I’ve read this year. Does this remind you of another book? What’s the most original concept you’ve read this year?



Filed under Reading

8 responses to “Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: School of Fear

  1. Catherine Johnson

    Interesting! I think I’d get scared reading it lol.

  2. This sounds really neat!

  3. A distant third person narrator??? Yeah, I’ve been reading too much YA with 1st person close POV lately – this sounds like a refreshing change! Most original concept I’ve read yet this year… hmmm. Right Behind You, by Gail Giles.

  4. Leslie Rose

    A little girl in my class told me this was the BEST book ever written. Between your review and hers, I’d better get reading.

  5. I does sound original. I love it when you find a new twist on a plot. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Sounds like an interesting premise! So many books, so little time…

  7. Ooh! That is SUCH a cool concept! Just reading about it got my mind spinning in a dozen different directions, thinking about what all the author could do with it.

  8. It certainly sounds like a very different and quirky book. (I like quirky characters.) When a little girl says it’s the BEST book ever written, I’m especially interested!

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