November 8, 2012
Gustav Gloom and the People Taker
First sentence: "The neighbors though Gustav Gloom was the unhappiest little boy in the world."
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Gustav Gloom isn't really the unhappiest little boy in the world. He just lives in a house full of ghosts and shadows, and not real people. It's hard to be really happy when you don't have a family or friends. But he's not sad, either. The only real danger he has is staying out of the way of the People Taker and his Beast. It's not a bad life.
Then a family moves in across the street, one that has two little girls -- Pearlie and Fernie -- who court danger. So, of course, Fernie wanders over to the Gloom Mansion (in the middle of the night) following her wandering cat. Little does she know what she's in for... (cue sinister music)
To be honest: this really wasn't all that scary. Maybe it's because I'm an adult (I need to have A read it, just to see if it is scary), but the Terrifying Parts weren't all that Terrifying. That said, it was a pretty good adventure, a nice tale of friendship, with just a smidgen of ghosts and baddies.
But what really won me over with this one (yes, it's the start of a series, but from what I can tell, they're all individual adventures), was that it's really tightly written, and excellently plotted. There was enough going on to keep me turning pages, and I enjoyed the journey.
And sometimes, that's all a book needs.
(Just for the record: because this is a Cybils nominee, I've been asked to make sure y'all know this is my opinion only, and not that of the panel.)