Dito (rhymes with "Cheetoh") Abbott once spent three and half years animating a stop motion music video for his band, Too Many Drummers, in his garage. It featured a shot-by-shot remake of the exploding amp scene from Back to the Future (but with robots in a space junkyard, of course).

After completing such an epic project, he thought writing novels would be easy.

He was wrong.

Dito was born in Puerto Rico, grew up in Saudi Arabia, and sailed around the world with his family by the age of twenty-seven. His debut YA Fantasy novel, Debunked, draws on his love for adventure, googly-eyed slime beasts, and sarcastic swords of legend. He currently lives in Phoenix with his wife, kids, and an invisible dragon named Clyde.

Debunked by Dito Abbott

"Dearest Alexandria and Ozymandias,

If you are reading this, I have perished. My demise likely involved some manner of spiked pit or curiously fanged beast, so it's doubtful I suffered long. Do not try to find me - the path is too perilous, and I am lost to the mortal plane."

When Alex and Ozzie read their grandfather's latest "death" letter, they barely blink. Dying six times in two years has to be a record, even for an explorer as incompetent as Sir Quidby Forsythe III.

Faster than you can say "kidnapped by a giant, glowing lizard," the Forsythe twins are dragged into a world of ancient prophecies, sarcastic swords of legend, mutant slime beasts, and a growing awareness their grandfather might be the greatest explorer in history.

With Skhaar the Annihilator hot on their trail, Ozzie and Alex must solve the mystery of Sir Quidby's disappearance before they become the final victims of the Forsythe Curse.



  • "This YA adventure tale is rollicking ride that anyone young at heart can enjoy. The writing - and especially the humor - has that particular British sensibility that make this story timeless. The plot is clever, the characters are a riot and the world… well, you'll just have to visit it yourself. This book is an instant classic. Can't recommend it highly enough."

    – John (Amazon)
  • "Appealing heroes and a colorful cast traverse a wonderfully bizarre, uproarious planet."

    – Kirkus Reviews
  • "I read a lot, and it seems so infrequent these days that I find a book this unique. creative, entertaining, and just LMAO funny. It would be hard to characterize the genre of this book, as it seems to be a mash-up of so many. Adventure, action, rescue, paranormal, aliens, humor, mystery, suspense, steam-punk...just a little bit of everything. It can be enjoyed by the young or just young-at-heart."

    – Alias11 (Amazon)



Dearest Alexandria and Ozymandias,

If you are reading this, I have perished. My demise likely involved some manner of spiked pit or curiously fanged beast, so it's doubtful I suffered long. Do not try to find me—the path is too perilous, and I am lost to the mortal plane.

I bequeath to you my travel journal. Do NOT open it (but when you inevitably ignore my wishes and plumb its depths, remember: mystery and danger are jealous companions—you cannot flirt with one without courting the other).

You were my favorite adventures. I'm sorry I failed you.

With Love,

Your grandfather, Quidby Forsythe III

Ozzie sighed and folded the letter closed. Dying six times in two years had to be a record, even for an explorer as incompetent as Grandfather.

The journal's FRAGILE stamp had done little to protect it from a herd of stampeding buffalo somewhere between Peru and England, and a peppery aroma hinted at a layover in a Marrakesh spice market. Aged leather and the corner of an ornate metal frame peeked through tattered brown wrapping paper. Ozzie lifted the book with a grunt. Family secrets are always heavier than they look. He dropped the journal onto the lampstand by the door, triggering a shock wave that toppled chest-high document stacks cluttering the foyer.

Two months ago, Sir Quidby disappeared on an expedition to Siberia, then resurfaced in the Amazon rainforest. The time before that, an airport mix-up stranded the old explorer in the Moldovan Codru Forest instead of the grasslands of Outer Mongolia. How could one of the world's foremost map experts be so hopeless at using a compass?

Ozzie started up the main staircase, giving a wide berth to a tripwire that released a bone-bruising battering ram. Grandfather's dizzying collection of booby traps had turned St. Jude's, his lighthouse home, into a training ground for temple robbing. Mrs. Willowsby relocated the traps every few days, but Ozzie had cracked her rotation. He vaulted a bear trap at the top of the bannister without breaking stride.

Tattered red carpet lent an elegant backdrop to curiosities congesting the second floor. Ozzie straightened a rack of Masai spears, heard a telltale swish, then dodged a sandbag that dropped from a false ceiling panel. Careful footwork defeated a gauntlet of cunning snares as he advanced to the end of the hallway, where Grandfather's ramshackle residence connected to the lighthouse. Ozzie ducked under the archway and ignored the spiral staircase's complaints as he ascended the gently swaying tower. Groaning scaffolds, whistling drafts, and perpetual dampness are facts of life when you live in a one-hundred-fifty foot lighthouse perched atop a pinnacle in the North Sea.

He gave a cautious fist bump to a spiky suit of armor standing watch over the third floor landing. "What ho, Spikealot." The knight, focused on defending the stairs from pillaging hordes and ill-tempered wheels of cheese, didn't answer.

Ozzie paused at the threshold of his room. His desk was as he left it, groaning beneath a forest of research papers and textbooks. A shaft of light from the window speared his unmade bed, and a trail of dirty laundry stretched out of his closet like the tail of a slumbering dragon.

All clear.

Whistling under his breath, Ozzie strode across the room and swung an overloaded bookshelf away from the wall, revealing a hidden alcove. He slumped into a blue corduroy bean bag and pulled the shelf closed behind him. With the flick of a switch, Christmas lights painted his lair with unseasonably jolly shadows.

Ozzie opened a three-ring binder, flipped to the end, and slid the newest death letter into a clear protective sleeve. He scribbled "Missing/Dead" on the calendar, and after a moment's reflection, added a question mark. A year ago, Grandfather's disappearances rarely exceeded a week, but they had grown in frequency and duration over the last six months.

He chewed the marker cap and sank lower in his beanbag, scanning newspapers and articles that wallpapered his headquarters. Headlines touting "Eminent Explorer Missing, Presumed Dead" and "Forsythe Curse Claims Another Victim!" degenerated to photos of disgruntled search and rescue teams. From there, the Professor's misadventures migrated to gossip rags, bottoming out with "SCANDAL! Lonely Professor Weds Mail-Order Cartographer Bride." Ozzie smoothed the latest edition of Treasure Hunter's Weekly and trimmed a headline ("Fool Us Once, Sir Quidby") from yet another character assassination piece by Lord "Bully" Bulwerk, Head Stuffypants of the Guild of Borderless Explorers.

Sir Quidby was well-liked, but his unapologetic pursuit of debunking made him a pariah amongst his peers. The old explorer endured his exile with good grace and relished explaining the origins of his life's work to Ozzie. "In the Age of Discovery, every ship returning from the New World carried a wealth of knowledge that constantly forced cartographers to scrap their work. Many mapmakers succumbed to despair and exhaustion, refusing to get out of bed to receive daily dispatches—in the vernacular of their trade, they bunked. Only a tenacious few de-bunked, rising each day to greet a constantly changing world."

Ozzie smiled, remembering when Grandfather had cleared a desk with a sweep of his arm, unrolled a dog-eared map, then pointed to labels on amorphous land masses. "Terra Incognita." Whispered reverence breathed magic into Latin. "Unknown land—the white flag of an explorer who bunked."

Ozzie had struggled to decipher the scribbled name. "Ferdinand Magellan?"

"He went on to fame and fortune but lived a waking death, fenced by boundaries in his mind." Eager palms flattened another map. "Terra Incognita. Thirteenth century." A trembling finger traced ridges of mountains on the edge of the chart. "When Marco Polo reached the foothills of the Himalayas, he bunked."

"I've heard of him." At the swimming pool.

"My Guild colleagues lionize Marco Polo, but trust me, lad—he bunked."

"Mom says Lord Reginald wants to kick you out of the Guild."

Grandfather had snorted, then rolled the chart up. "Reggie Twixton regards any acknowledgment of his limitations as a personal insult. I was perfectly within my rights to name those mountains Reggie's Blisters."

"Then why does he write you so many angry letters?"

The explorer's scowl was seared into Ozzie's memory. "Those are from his lawyers, who equally lack a sense of humor. You're missing the point, Ozymandias." He'd leaned closer, reflections from the fireplace dancing in his eyes. "Great men chase horizons. Exploring shows us who we are, but debunking whispers who we might become."

Those golden conversations belonged to the old days—back when Grandfather's souvenirs were trinkets and trophies, not nightmares. Back before the "Accident" changed everything.

Ozzie's fists curled at the memory of the official police report.

Accidents didn't happen on purpose.

Someone…no, something…took his parents.

A creaky floorboard announced an intruder. Ozzie elbowed the bookshelf open and flopped on his side like a snail evacuating its shell. A sigh from the bed made him cringe.


Ozzie propped himself up on one arm. "I didn't hear the door open."

His sister waved a calloused hand. "I free soloed a new route." The bedroom window swung open with an accusing moan as a breeze rocked the lighthouse.

People laughed when they learned the Forsythes were twins. Ozzie didn't blame them—aside from dark, wavy hair and piercing blue eyes, the siblings couldn't be more different. Alex limited her wardrobe to black leggings, black shirts, black beanies, and her ever-present Chuck Taylor sneakers—also black. Ozzie favored cargo pants and long-sleeve shirts that gave his arms sun protection on the rare occasions he went outside.

He was a constant source of disappointment to rugby and football coaches who hoped Alex's athleticism ran in her family. Once they saw Ozzie run—an act he approached with the grace of a newborn calf learning to walk—they left him alone.

As children, the Forsythe twins were inseparable. When you're undersized, book-loving, and named after an Egyptian pharaoh, it helps to have a sister whose punch rules the playground. But Alex lived for the moment, and a crowbar couldn't pry Ozzie's fingers from the past, so over time they drifted apart. Age fifteen found Ozzie spending his days scouring books for clues to their parents' kidnapping, while Alex notched first ascents on the sheer cliffs of Keeper's Rock.

He winced. "Don't let Mrs. Willowsby catch you climbing the lighthouse again." The housekeeper's disapproval had the half-life of plutonium.

Alex snorted. "I'm not the one making collages in a broom closet and hunting imaginary monsters."

Ozzie stiffened. "I'm just doing what's necessary."

"You're acting like a crazy person."

Arguing was safer than actual conversation, so he dove in. "I'm acting like the only person willing to admit something strange is going on!"

"The only thing strange in this house is your refusal to move on with your life!" she snapped.

That definitely wasn't true. The twins glared at each other across seven years of scorched earth. Silence was painful, but when your own sister doesn't believe you saw your parents kidnapped, what else is there to say?

Alex broke the stalemate. "This isn't healthy, Oz."

The truth hung over him like a storm cloud. She was probably right.

But she was definitely wrong.

Sir Spikealot rattled a warning from the landing. Ozzie lunged for the bookshelf, but Alex's cheetah-like reflexes beat him to the punch, slapping the secret door closed.

"Five minutes until dinner, children," snapped Mrs. Willowsby, in the tone of a SWAT team announcing a raid. She tapped a wooden spoon on the apron shielding her severe gray skirt and spotless white blouse. Her black hobnailed boot drummed the floor as she surveyed the room, cataloguing grievances. Ozzie kicked laundry into a basket, then straightened papers on his desk—anything to distract her from the red and green glow beneath his bookshelf. The housekeeper kept dim views on "poking into Sir Quidby's private affairs," and Ozzie was running out of secret hideouts.

"Thank you, Mrs. Willowsby," he said, trying for a winning smile and failing to place.

"Thank you, Mrs. Willowsby," Alex chimed in.

Ozzie concealed a gossip rag proclaiming "Crackpot Missing, World Shrugs" behind his back. "What's for dinner?" he asked.

The housekeeper squinted suspiciously over her spectacles. "Pea soup."


"Indeed." She lingered three excruciating seconds longer than necessary, then spun on her heel and marched down the stairs. Sir Spikealot rattled a metallic raspberry.

Ozzie plonked down on the mattress next to his sister.

"Ozzie—" Alex started.

"Just drop it. Thanks for closing the bookshelf." He offered an olive branch. "Another death letter from Grandfather came today."

"Exploding jellyfish or a hyper-territorial merman?"

"Spiked pit. Possibly a curiously fanged beast."

Mrs. Willowsby's voice cracked like a whip. "Dinner!"

The bed exhaled in relief as the siblings bounced to their feet.

Alex grinned. "When and where?"

Ozzie chewed his lip, running some quick math. "Seventeen days. Greenland."

"Four days. Tasmania," she countered.

"An optimist. I'll bet a week of dish duty we're talking Northern hemisphere."

"You already owe me ten days."

"For when Grandfather showed up in Indonesia? The equator doesn't count, it's hemisphere-neutral. Besides, he was wearing Arctic snow gear."

Dodging booby traps and needling each other, the siblings raced down the spiral staircase. Ozzie snickered when Alex jumped the handrail to take a shortcut through the study—she always forgot the quicksand pit. He slid down the bannister and pounded past the foyer without giving the book on the lampstand a second glance.

By Wednesday, the journal was buried and forgotten beneath a mountain of obscure manuscripts and crates of poison-arrow tree frog venom.

Twelve weeks later, the Forsythe children held a funeral and started a war.