FUM by Adam Rapp


Age Range: 14 & up
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A teen has prophetic visions.

Sixteen-year-old Corinthia sees in her mind—correctly—that three tornadoes will hit Lugo, Illinois, ripping the roof off her high school’s field house and leaving a cow behind. Frantic to warn everyone, she breaks a classroom door only to be violently tackled by the staff. She’s suspended largely because of everyone’s discomfort with her: she’s 7 feet 4 inches tall, with a “Paul Bunyanesque skull” and teeth “as long, wide, and dimpled as dominoes.” While the text frames others as unsavory too, Corinthia’s explicitly “grotesque,” belying a feeble claim that she is a “beauty”; indeed she has hands like “fish-belly white slabs” and nosebleeds that look like her face is menstruating—a “very large, crazy monster person.” Her 287 pounds supposedly breaks not one but two toilets and necessitates a new one built from custom materials, which is simply and gratuitously inaccurate. Several nihilistic plot threads wind bleakly around Corinthia, involving a white boy with a “disturbing” Native American fixation who is initially presented as a potential school-shooter threat but then pivots unexpectedly and tragically; variously disfigured children; and an actual traveling freak show. A brother disappears, unexplained; Corinthia, who’s white, develops a relationship with a “grown-ass,” dying black criminal who calls himself a “nigga,” speaks in dialect, and emits “a faint animal fragrance.”

A meandering, dehumanizing tale characterized by a tenacious abhorrence of the body. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 20th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-7636-6756-6
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2018


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