Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Today's read... Might As Well Be Dead by Mark Goldblatt

I want to scream 'Happy Book Birthday' to today's read, too...we've been hitting sheer book birthdays so far this month. But I have to wait a day or two because this one comes out in two days. So, happy early book birthday!

Today's read should be an interesting mix with paranormal elements, tough themes, a ghost to remind of John Lennon, and all of that for the middle grade audience. Shall we take a peek and see how it goes?

by Mark Goldblatt
Phoenix Press Ltd
Middle Grade Paranormal
214 pages
ages 8 to 12

MAY 5th!!!

Thirteen-year-old David Salmon is getting over his mom's sudden decision to pick up and leave. He seems to be adjusting fairly well, but then a strange thing happens. He meets a middle-aged Englishman named Winston outside his house. David suspects that Winston may not be real, but he seems harmless enough, as hallucinations go, and the two of them become friends. If nothing else, Winston is a welcome distraction from the mess at home; David's dad cannot seem to cope with his wife's decision move out. Winston also proves a valuable advisor in navigating the trials of middle school-best friend problems and a budding romance. Eventually, however, Winston confesses the real reason he showed he needs David to deliver a message. It's a journey David desperately doesn't want to make...because it takes him somewhere he desperately doesn't want to go. Might As Well Be Dead is a story about a boy in crisis. Be ready to laugh. Be ready to cry. Be all you need is love.

GOODREADS   /   B&N   /   AMAZON     


With a touch of paranormal humor, this book dives into several tough, family issues while packing wit and tons of heart.

David's mom left, leaving him and his dad alone. He can deal with it, although he's not thrilled, but his dad is another story. When David notices a strange man walking down his street, he's not sure the guy exists or if he's a hallucination, especially when the man hovers outside of his window one night. Convinced he's going crazy, (because who wouldn't?) David does his best to deal with his dad's worsening situation, his bad grades, his friendships, and his first girlfriend. It's all quite a bit to take in, but the strange man...or ghost he's beginning to believe...seems to offer him the best advice. Until he doesn't and reveals something David never wanted to know.

This read starts right in with the action as David sees Winston, the strange man, and that, a few times. The beginning has a rapid-fire atmosphere as David's first interactions with Winston are delivered in very short scenes, one right after the other. There are just enough thoughts and comments from David to get a feel for his personality...right along with the weirdness the entire situation involves. Only then, does the author seep into David's life and the various issues he's up against. It's a wonderful way to ease the reader into the tough themes and sympathize with David.

While this is sold for middle graders, I'm nudging my recommendation up a little bit toward the upper middle grade and lower young adult audiences. The writing and wit is better suited for the older age group and, I'm afraid, will be lost on younger readers.  Plus, some of the issues might be a bit much for younger readers (alcoholism, death, breaking up with first girl/boyfriends, and more). 

There is tons of heart in this read, and it mixes smoothly with the paranormal aspect and humor...not a silly humor but weaves more around clever wording and thought. There is so much to smirk, smile, and nod at. While there are moments where the reader spends time in David's head, this is very well-balanced with the quick rows of dialogue—I say 'rows' because it rattles along, one person after the other without even a breath in between. It wasn't quite my thing but does come across with intended potency. There's definitely not much room for boredom, while it gives food for thought and rakes at the heartstrings in the most meaningful ways.

And here he is...

Mark Goldblatt is a Sunshine State finalist and nominated for the Georgia Book Award and
the Vermont Dorothy Ca
nfield Fischer Book Award as well as writing for outlets like
The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Post, USA Today, and
Time. Professional psychotherapist Michael Leiman describes Might As Well Be Dead
as “a touching, funny, highly readable story of a young man trying to cope.”
Bestselling author Chris Grabenstein calls it, “a crackling good read filled with humor,
heart, and hope.”

1 comment:

Victoria Marie Lees said...

This is my first time at your blog, Mark. It's beautiful. I love the cover and premise of your new release. Starting right into the action and troubles is the way to go for MG. Short chapters build tension. You have lots of themes/topics in this novel. All the luck with it. You can reach my blog at