Dust & Grim

Chuck Wendig

Book - 2021

"Thirteen-year-old Molly doesn't know how she got the short end of the stick -- being raised by her neglectful father -- while Dustin, the older brother she's never met, got their mother and the keys to the family estate. But now the siblings are both orphaned, she's come home for her inheritance, and if Dustin won't welcome her into the family business, then she'll happily take her half in cash. There's just one problem: the family business is a mortuary for monsters, and Molly's not sure she's ready to deal with mysterious doors, talking wolves, a rogue devourer of magic, and a secret cemetery. It's going to take all of Dustin's stuffy supernatural knowledge and Molly's most hero...ic cosplay (plus a little help from non-human friends) for the siblings to figure it out and save the day... if only they can get along for five minutes."--

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Children's stories
Monster fiction
Paranormal fiction
New York : Little, Brown and Company 2021.
Main Author
Chuck Wendig (author)
Other Authors
Jensine Eckwall (illustrator)
First edition
Physical Description
368 pages : illlustrations ; 21 cm
Ages 8-12.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Wendig charges onto the middle-grade scene with a monstrously fun tale of family and funerary arts. When recently orphaned Molly--13, emancipated, and devoted to cosplay--arrives at her brother Dustin's large house/funeral home demanding a share of their mother's inheritance, the 18-year-old is understandably bewildered. Charged by her Uncle Gordo to snoop around, Molly quickly determines that Dustin is hiding something, and her investigations lead her to a walled area in a copse of trees where supernatural forces are clearly in play. Unfortunately, she sets devastation in motion by letting her uncle into that area, exposing unsettling truths about him and finally learning the true nature of the family business: it's a funeral home for monsters. Wendig's easy writing style is a perfect vehicle for the humor and rapidly paced shenanigans that propel the narrative. The introduction of monsters shifts the story slightly toward horror, though Molly quickly learns that friends can be found among these beings, too. Molly is a particular delight, both in her passion for costuming and in the uncertainty she feels about being herself, which is explored throughout her adventures. Her relationship with Dustin also gains importance as the story progresses, offering a grounding through-line of family's (non-monetary) value. A sure pick for those enamored by Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book (2008) and Tahereh Mafi's Whichwood (2017).

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Wendig's (The Book of Accidents) middle grade debut mingles age-appropriate horror with hard-won wisdom gleaned through the eyes of 13-year-old orphan Molly Grim. Molly's always been pretty much on her own, but after her father's death, she teams up with her paternal lawyer uncle to claim half of her mother's Pennsylvania mortuary and home. But her 18-year-old brother, Dustin Ashe, currently runs the business--and has been heretofore unaware of Milly's existence. When Molly moves into the family home, the white siblings prove as different as chalk and cheese, with outspoken, outgoing, devil-may-care cosplayer Molly bringing a breath of fresh chaos to Dustin's staid undertaker lifestyle. Slowly--and much to the frustration of Dustin's business partner, Vivacia Sims, who is Black--the siblings begin to bond, and Molly starts learning the secrets of the practice, an otherworldly resting place for "nonstandard citizens." Packed with pop-culture references and creepy beings, the novel is written from Molly's sarcastic-beyond-her-years viewpoint and subtly threaded with life lessons that together create an engaging narrative. Inky chapter-heading illustrations by Eckwall (Almost a Full Moon) heighten the atmosphere. Ages 8--12. Agent: Stacia Decker, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Oct.)

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Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 5--8--The supernatural realm meets a cosplayer teen in this middle grade novel. Thirteen-year-old Molly Grim, lover of all things cosplay and pop culture, is being reunited with Dustin, the estranged older brother she didn't know about after they both become orphaned. Her deadbeat dad never mentioned him or her mother, but Molly will soon discover the family estate and business is that of mortuary services for monsters, including a cemetery. Though neither sibling knew of the other's existence, the pair will have to band together as well as join other supernatural beings to defeat a powerful magic devourer who is threatening not only their business but their lives. The story is fast paced and combines the reality of a teen with fantasy worlds, but at times it seems that the author tried to accomplish too much in one book. There's more than one weak spot in the plot, but those can be overlooked if the reader is invested in the very interesting and long battle scenes. A blend of horror, spooky, funny, pop culture, cosplay, and sibling rivalry make this a suitable, if ambitious, read. VERDICT Good for collections where supernatural and adventurous fantasy circulate well.--Carol Youssif, Taipei American Sch., Taiwan

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

Chills and thrills ensue when long-separated siblings find themselves custodians of a very special funeral home and cemetery. Returning to the old mansion deep in the Pennsylvania woods from which her fun-loving if ne'er-do-well dad had spirited her years before, newly orphaned 13-year-old Molly Grim is bummed by the cold reception she gets from her likewise parentless, tightly wound 18-year-old brother, Dustin Ashe, but stoked to discover that she's inherited a half interest in Mothstead, a final resting place for monsters--or "nonstandard citizens," to use the less pejorative term. Sparks fly at first, but in battling their uncle Gordo, who turns out to be even more demonic than his everyday persona as a slovenly accident attorney would suggest, the two ultimately discover that they're good for one another. Playing to strengths demonstrated in his many comics and tales for older audiences, not only is Wendig a dab hand at concocting extremely creepy critters, but here he also pulls together a secondary cast of quarrelsome but supportive allies for the beleaguered teens, featuring a (generally) low-key vampire, a mercurial fox spirit ("Cat software loaded onto dog hardware," as one observer puts it), and other slyly tweaked supernatural grown-ups. Most of the cast presents White; one supporting character is Black, and one is cued as Latinx. Nothing like shared brushes with horrible, agonizing death to draw seemingly incompatible characters together, right? (Fantasy. 9-13) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.