This was an advanced reader copy for the June 2018 publication. There are minor spoilers ahead.
Title: The Mortification of Fovea Munson
Author: Mary Winn Heider
If you enjoy anatomical puns, this books for you. It’s a lot of word play more so than anything actually related to the meaning of the medical terms, so you won’t miss much if you don’t have a strong biology background. Consider it more an introduction in terminology without a heavy grounding in definition or purpose.
Otherwise, The Mortification of Fovea Munson deals with the collapse of friendship, bullying, and parental expectations. Heider handles the mix (and her more fantastical elements (i.e. the talking disembodied heads) with ease. Though the disembodied crew serve as a catalyst for greater overall change, Heider avoids the philosophical. Some consideration toward death and loved ones dying gets touched on, but overall, the pain of the living and dead overshadow the how.
Fovea grows throughout the novel. With an early reference to Hamlet, one might simply state the lesson is an answer to the titular character’s famous monologue: Just be. The unknown can’t be avoided. No matter where you go, there it’ll be, so embrace life and just live it.
Nike would be so proud.
To sum, a decent book but not one I’d read again. Best suited to a middle or elementary school audience despite the medical vocabulary. The puns are straightforward enough not to need explanation.