Doom & Gloom
by Monica Shaughnessy
Genre: Children, Science Fiction, Action
Dane Winters suffers from a rare disease that makes him “allergic” to sunlight. If UV rays or even strong lamps hit his skin, they cause lesions that could kill him. Lucky for Dane, his family is wildly wealthy. The Winters’ own a technology company that pretty much owns the town where Dane lives. But that doesn’t mean he’s the town celebrity. His need to hide from the sun makes him a recluse and a stranger to most people. His caregiver Maeve and his fencing instructor Alexandrov live with him and comprise his makeshift family, while his best friends Jinx and Charles comprise his social group.
Despite his lonely existence, Dane loves his hometown of Winterville. When thugs take over and terrorize the town, he and Jinx devise a plan to save the town by reviving their old imaginary heroic duo, Doom and Gloom. This time, though, they will use Dane’s family’s amazing inventions to turn their make-believe real and beat the bad guys.
Dane is a great character for a kid to follow. He feels all the self-conscious and frustrated feelings of a kid of 12 along with the challenges of his disability. His bravery not only overcomes the natural obstacles of his life, but the unusual ones as well.
The story felt a little hard to follow at first due to the author’s interesting technique of interrupting her own paragraphs with new information. Perhaps I got used to it later on, because it seemed to either go away or become a part of the young boy character.
I loved all the setbacks that Dane had to address and the creative way he followed them. Though as a parent, my hair stood on end at the rebellious streak or the attraction to danger, I appreciated the kid point of view and the dawning awareness that his parents were humans with faults.