Cover Image: Munmun

Munmun

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Member Reviews

What a unique story! Really fun, a clever concept that I thought could almost have been split into two books. It is a literal interpretation of "income inequality," where people who have more money are literally BIGGER than those who have less money. The hero, Warner, and his sister Prayer, are "littlepoor," so they are the size of rats and live a very difficult life--their mother was paralyzed by an attacking housecat, their father killed when a "middlescale" larger, richer kid accidentally stepped on the milk crate they were using as a house! Warner and Prayer are constantly trying to avoid various life-threatening hazards, in their quest to gain more "munmun" (income) and therefore "scale up" to a larger physical size. When they are fostered by a wealthy halfscale family, it seems their fortunes are looking up--but with barely an education when they were littlepoor, they find it very hard to keep up academically with the bigger kids (they're still smaller than their classmates, even at a larger scale). And will Warner and Prayer be able to keep scaling up and get even richer? Will they  leave their littlepoor origins behind for good? The rich life isn't as easy as they think. If you stop to really think logically about everything that goes on in this book, it will blow your mind; I was constantly referring back to the handy illustration provided of all of the various levels of income and their corresponding sizes. Better to take it all in stride and just go with the flow--it's quite a unique story! The part that I thought could have been a completely different book was the fantasy element of the Dreamworld: when everyone sleeps, they can visit each other in their dreams. Warner wants to parlay his skill at creating dreamscapes (either beautiful or horrific) into a way to make munmun. But will he be able to pull it off? And if he does grow wealthy, how will he treat others? The stuff in Dreamworld is very psychedelic, to say the least! But overall it is a fascinating book that takes a very real-world issue and spins it to fantastical and also logical conclusions. A+ for originality, that's for sure. Recommended for 9th grade and up, for the complexity of the concepts and for some more mature content. It's also tricky to read until you get the hang of Warner's weird slang; he barely has an education (all the schools and teachers are for larger sized kids!) so he uses lots of odd slang and compound words.
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I could not get past the first 30 pages of this book no matter how hard I tried. This book just wasn't for me and sadly I do not think I will try to read it again in the future.
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Odd and funny at times but was a real slog and ultimately a DNF for me. A good option for teens who are looking for something a little offbeat with a good dose of humor.
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The amount that I loved this surprised me. it is dark and weird and awesome and depressing and thought provoking. And also just really, really COOL.

I loved the writing and language. The plot expression is intricate and fascinating. the characters! how much do I love Warner?! ugh, so much.
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MUNMUN by Jesse Andrews is a quirky, imaginative young adult fantasy exploring social issues ranging from wealth to inequality.

Designed for mature teens, the story is set in an alternative reality where a person’s physical size is proportional to their money known as munmun. Warner and his sister Prayer are the size of a squirrel, while the rich may be the size of large buildings. The story follows Warner’s personal growth, literally.

Librarians will find an audience among teens who enjoy dystopian fantasy with a social message. From the unusual vocabulary to the wacky world building, Andrews’ approach isn’t for everyone. However, it’s perfect for those seeking a thought-provoking, humorous, face-paced read.

Published on April 3, 2018 by Harry N. Abrams. ARC courtesy of the publisher.
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Honestly, I can't get past the terrible writing. I think this is a brilliant, satirical plot that could have had so much potential IF the writing hadn't been absolutely terrible. This isn't the first Jesse Andrews I've struggled with and I think maybe it's time to give up the ghost on this writer.
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I love Jesse Andrews for writing this book.  A little odd, a little sad, but a lot of awesome Andrews approach to social class and economical status is absolute genius, one that I think older teens will appreciate as they are challenged with the task of examining a very literal representation of what our own social hierarchy looks like.  A great book for discussion and one that has earned a place on YA shelves, most definitely!
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Munmun by Jesse Andrews is a young adult fantasy set in a world similar to ours but all of the occupants are different sizes based on how much money they have. The main character, Warner, and his sister Prayer are littlepoors, the smallest size. Their family are about the size of an average rat leading them into dangers that the wealthy and middle class could never imagine.

Warner’s father was killed when a middle child was pushed into their house stomping on him. Then Warner’s mother was also injured leaving the family even more destitute. The trio come up with a plan though for Warner and his sister to make munmun and size up sending them on a quest across the city.

The first thing I’d mention with this one would be that there are sexual situations and adult content in here so it probably should be for more mature audiences. But with that being said it’s also a pretty wacky fantasy world including a lot of made up words and some pretty far out there action in the story. Readers definitely need to know the author is about as far away from Me and Earl and the Dying Girl that he is famous for before stepping into this crazy world.

I have to say I’m not a huge fan of made up words in stories, especially with an ARC copy that I stop and wonder if things are meant to be that way or am I reading through typos. I didn’t actually even realize the title is one of those words, munmun = money in the story.  I think that for me was the one thing that kept me from really falling in love since the action was actually quite unique. There was always something going on to progress the story forward and a lot of it was really a creative take on our own upper, middle and lower class. In the end I found it all fast paced, fun and a unique read and would probably rate this one at 3.5 stars.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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Very interesting premise, but overall a very odd book that really wasn't my type of reading.
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Wildly imaginative!  Author Jesse Andrews  creates a world of the absurd that sagely echoes the current inequalities in America, today.  A smart, strange, funny and moving book.
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This is an extraordinary work of fiction, unlike anything I've ever read. Wholly original, deeply weird, funny, and incredibly sad, Andrews's latest novel is a departure from his last two works of realistic fiction. This story, in the vein of A Clockwork Orange and Slaughterhouse-Five, mixes absurdist plot elements with inventive language to describe a universe where your physical stature changes based on your wealth. The language is broken, nonchalant, familiar, silly, and compulsively readable, and it helps to flesh out the character of Warner, the narrator. Andrews is wise to focus so fully on Warner. Similarly wild YA works, like Andrew Smith's Grasshopper Jungle, make the mistake of branching the narrative out in multiple directions. Andrews, on the other hand, ties us tightly to the narrator and doesn't let us go for a moment, to the point where we feel like we know Warner inside and out. This will be a hard sell for some teens, but any that dare jump into the story will likely disappear in it until the end. Excited to see how this is received by teens! 

Recommend to: older teens, sci-fi/dystopian fans, any high schoolers ready for something different!
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*I was given an advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, NetGalley!*
Real youneek, thatsforsure. 

I have not read anything like Munmun before, and the creativity alone I believe should attract readers. It's realistic in its lightly hidden commentary on the economic situation--how money truly does run the world and everyone in it--and eye-opening for anyone who thinks otherwise.

In a world where your bank account determines your literal size, being littlepoor is scary. Every day is a constant attempt to stay alive and relying on tricks to simply get from point A to point B.. none of them pretty. As Warner, Prayer, and Usher begin their journey to acquire a small amount of munmun in order to scaleup, things never go well. They get separated, they get harassed, lied to, beaten, laughed at, and just because of their size. Those larger than them know there is nothing the littlepoor can do about it, so they never see consequences for their actions.

Yeah, it's infuriating.

What made this scary--on top of the actual littlepoors fighting desert spiders in a pen--is that the reality of how people are treated based on income is hidden so much better in our world. This book makes you stop and think about your privilege and what you might be able to do to help others less fortunate (without being a complete boob about it like Grant or Hue Family). Topics that Andrews brings up in Munmun are very relevant today. 

The story is told from Warner's point of view, and the language took some getting used to. With new slang and vocabulary, you are also dealt a smattering of language that's misspelled and jumbled and squished and all kinds of crazy. While I initially thought it was how everyone spoke in the future, I now see that it's probably just how Warner and other littlepoors see/speak. They can't read most of the time, and the written story reflects how Warner visualizes language. It's sounded out and mashed together in strange places, and really rather straight-forward. It takes some getting used to; but, after you understand the flow, it'll go by easily. (I happened to feel the same way about Jane Austen's writing...). 

I will be purchasing a copy of this book for the Young Adult fiction collection at my library. I think it will be a great and unique read for teens hungry for dystopians that are fresh and new. Reluctant readers might also have a great time going through Warner's head and reading a book that goes against convention. It's a dark and gritty adventure, with a few laughs in-between. My only gripe would be the ending felt haphazard, compared to the extensive detail and planning that went into early parts of the story.
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Warner's life has been rough since his father was squished and his mother was mauled by a cat. These are the risks faced by littlepoors, people so broke they are no larger than rats. Billionaires, on the other hand, are as big as skyscrapers. Only in dreams are all people the same size. Desperate to scale up, Warner and his sister make an epic trek to a nearby law school so she can snag an enormous husband. Naturally calamity strikes, and never stops slapping Warner around. Wildly inventive and generally insane, but in the best way. Warner is a fierce and funny narrator, and his patois is really pretty catchy.
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I only managed to get to page 30 before giving up on this book.

I knew it was going to be a little weird and I thought the premise sounded interesting but the first 30 pages were so immensely unenjoyable. I have absolutely no idea who this book is targeted at. It is far too juvenile for the average YA reader but definitely too adult for the MG audience.

It may have just been the ARC formatting but the smashing up of several words into a single word without spaces was infuriating, appeared far too often and was actually pretty distracting. I had to read several of them at least twice in order to pronounce the words properly (i.e. read vs read sounds different depending on the tense used. On top of that, the writing was choppy and very off putting. I had to continuously reread sentences...pause and squint...think...reread the sentence and confirm that I was reading it right. I found the use of baby-sounding words (like "munmun") so uncomfortable based on the supposed age of the characters. The next sentence would include a swear word or phrase which totally messed with me and my ability to imagine these character.

I appreciate the eARC but I did not enjoy or finish the book.
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The concept of this book, that your physical size is directly proportional to your wealth, is my favorite bizarre book premise of the year so far. The language takes some time to get used to, but once you do it's a wild ride with fascinating social commentary.
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This book was deeply weird, but pulled it off so well that I'm honestly shocked.

I went into reading Munmun with trepidation because the premise reminded me a lot of that movie that just came out where Matt Damon shrinks himself, which looks horrible, but actually this book is good. 

It's very odd -- even the syntax, where punctuation is mostly thematic and words like prettymuch and notsogood are stuck together, acronyms are spelled out (PA becomes "pee-ay" and U.S. becomes "Yewess") and a lot of normal words are shortened, chopped up, or cutesy-fied. (For instance, "munmun" which is the Munmun-world term for money.) Usually, I hate that kind of thing, but Warner's personality as the first-person narrator overpowers everything and the oddness just fits. It's like an unexpected rhythm in a song that first throws you WAY off and you doubt whether reading this book is a good idea, but then in under 1.5 pages you've caught on and can hum along easily. 

It was hard for me to imagine how a book about tiny people and giant people could manage to not be stupid-silly or stupid-too-serious. Honestly, though, this perfectly balances the inherent humor of Warner's thoughts and perspective, and the dystopian horror of life at rat-scale. Anytime Markfive was around or Warner and Prayer were talking to each other things got funny, but neither the humor nor the weirdness detracted from the awfulness of the awful moments. 

Munmun is not infrequently hilarious, but also communicates its crystal-clear "when the people have nothing left to eat, they will eat the rich" message in terms you can't miss.
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Jesse Andrews truly does it again with this new novel. I enjoyed the story arc while I personally think that his other works were a bit better than this one as far as content. There is no secret that this story is quite different and I appreciated and took that in as I read this story.
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