Calling all middle school readers: looking for something to do? Have you considered chewing gum, or perhaps time travel? The author of The Phantasmic Gumball Machine, a new novel involving both of the above, will bring interactive fiction fun and gumball games to Beverly Public Library on Sunday, December 10 at 2 p.m. A mysterious adventure geared towards upper middle grade readers (ages 10-14), The Phantasmic Gumball Machine is a new fantasy novel bubbling with intrigue.
Set in the fictional seaside town of Everton, Massachusetts, the book follows eighth grader Marcus Gross and his brother, sixth grader Oliver, through the accidental discovery of a strange box – engraved with the words “Use at Your Own Risk” – buried in their backyard. The idealistic Oliver and the skeptical Marcus uncover a design and construction puzzle and a series of ancient riddles, leading them on an epic search for answers. As Marcus and Oliver begin to wonder whether their discovery of the Phantasmic Gumball Machine was really an accident after all, they’ll have to dig deeper to unearth the roots of the mystery.
Author Michael Keefe-Feldman, founder of Chalkbridge Content, has worked as a professional writer and content creator for more than 20 years, including at The Washington Post, PBS/NPR station WMHT, and the late Missoula Independent. He lives in Beverly with his wife, their two kids, and Chipwich the dog, who sometimes mistakes books for food. The book’s artwork/design was created by Gloucester-based artist and graphic designer George Courage, founder of George Courage Creative. More information is available at PhantasmicGumballMachine.com.
Participants will have the opportunity to play collaborative storybuilding games, win limited-edition packs of Phantasmic Gumballs, and purchase books via Copper Dog Books, downtown Beverly’s independent bookstore, which will be on hand for the event.
“Ideally, we’ll figure out time travel,” Keefe-Feldman says. “But even if that doesn’t work, we’ll have some fun, and maybe some gum, too.”