Tuesday, June 25

Monster High by Lisi Harrison

Moving to Oregon due to her asthma, Melody Carver isn't expecting to be emerged in a town where monsters are not only feared but viewed as matter-of-fact. Or that she might end up interested in the cute-nerdy boy next door, whose mood is as unpredictable as the weather.

Created only fifteen days ago, Frankie Stein is excited to make friends, meet boys, and have fun - but her parents warn her against the "normies" and force her to repress her true voltage self.

When the lives of these two new students collide at Merston High, nothing will be the same.

Monster High was far more compelling than I anticipated. It had the potential to be a nice but dismissible read but Harrison's writing style was catching from the start. It was crisp and energetic and never felt forced.

The novel is narrated in third person from the perspective of both protagonists in alternating chapters. There is a wonderful contrast between them: Beverly Hills Melody who cares nothing for exteriors and Frankie the small town fashionista who wants to rock through life. Melody's family is "perfect" looking, thanks to DNA coupled with plastic surgery, which was a nice parallel to the Steins, a family that is literally moulded and stitched together.

It was interesting to have an insight into both the normies and the RADs (Regular Attribute Dodgers - the politically correct term for monsters) as well as the two different friend groups. It allowed for a wider perspective on characters. For instance, while Melody got the mean girl impression of Cleo, Frankie was privy to her loyal side.

There are a lot of boy crushes floating around in Monster High but there were plenty of complications and characters making bad decisions and nothing is smooth going. I liked that Melody's relationship with Jackson was primarily a friendship, rather than him just being potential boyfriend material. Anything less and she might not have stuck by him, with all that he put her through.

The only thing that threw me about Monster High was that it had no resolution. The novel ends at the climactic point of the story. While this does make me more eager to move straight onto the sequel, I'm far less likely to read any of Harrison's other works, unless they are established stand-alones or have readily available sequels.

One thing that really cemented the novel's attraction for me was that I listened to it on audio, narrated by Rebecca Soler. Soler's Aussie accent for Blue was a little lacking but she carried the narrative to greater heights and amplified my enjoyment of the story. I was disappointed to see that she didn't narrate the remaining books in the series.

I will note that the audio book is a narration of the original edition of the novel. Chapter Thirteen is dubbed the 'Lost Chapter' which seems to have been published separately and then included in a second edition of the novel. This explains why I could not remember its contents when discussing it with my friend, Emma, who read the novel.

I was fascinated to discover that my assumptions were incorrect that the Monster High book series had inspired the doll line and the animated series. Rather, Mattel created the concept to fill the age gap in their marketing, which included the book series. I'm impressed at the execution of a clever concept.

I have bought the sequel, The Ghoul Next Door, in text rather than audio and I look forward to reading it.
In accordance with the FTC, Quill Café would like to disclose that the reviewer purchased this book. The opinions expressed are hers alone and no monetary compensation was offered to her by the author or publisher. Cover art is copyright of Poppy and is used solely as an aide to the review.

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