Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Review: Monster High

Monster High
By: Lisi Harrison
Published By: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 2010
Buy it Amazon 
Suitable for Ages 10 and up
Source: Library

Think Gossip Girl and Twilight meshed together with a bit of Bring It On thrown in on the side - that's pretty much Monster High .....

I suppose I went into this book not having high expectations. I mean everyone seems to be jumping on the monster revival train these days. Why wouldn't someone want to wake board over the waves created by Twilight and various other best selling monster tomes? I will admit that I am sure that part of my frustration with this book came from the fact that I am an adult and this book is obviously marketed for tweens. However, I would like to think that even as a tween I would have had some of the same issues with the book. Furthermore, I felt like the writing style was not all that engaging.


First, I found the characters to be fascinating - particularly those of the monster variety. As someone who has not seen the web cartoon and had no idea where all of the dolls came from I was intrigued by the idea of a high school where monsters hide under the guise of humanity. There was so much potential lurking in this concept, but sadly I just don't think Lisi Harrison was able to deliver the goods. I rated this book with 3 birdies instead of something lower because I did like the concept, characters, and I think reluctant readers will flock to the book. It is not without merits, but I just don't think it will have the appeal to older teens and fans of YA literature.

This first installment in the Monster High series focuses on the stories of Frankie Stein and Melody Carver. Frankie is - you guessed it - a relation of THE "Frankenstein". While the name is cute - it is a bit cheesy. Frankie begins her life in a lab and after having her brain loaded with the latest teenage fads, language, and academia she enters life as a fifteen year old. Frankie's character was refreshing and serves as a strong symbol for the teen girl experience; she is trying to be true to herself while battling what the world thinks is best for her. She experiences many troubles that many kids do - lying to her parents, sneaking out of the house, having a crush on the wrong boy, having her head roll across the floor at the dance when her neck seams rip... Wait? That didn't happen to you as a kid? Also, if Frankie had said, "Voltage!", one more time I think I might have beat my head against the wall.

Melody is more of the same. At times I actually interchanged Melody and Frankie in my head. Melody is a normi aka human with no monster tendencies, but she feels like a monster at times due to the fact that she used to be ugly with a huge nose. In swoops her plastic surgeon dad to fix the problem. I had a few problems with this. One, isn't it a bit odd to name a plastic surgeon Dr. Carver? It just gave me the creeps. Two, what is this teaching readers? I don't think I want to promote something where it's seen as the thing to do to go under the knife to fix things. To Harrison's credit, Melody does not feel that way about it and didn't truly want the surgery. However, that just makes me more upset at the parents because they forced their child into a surgery by making her feel bad about herself. Who does that?

I think another frustrating piece was that there are a ton of monster teens, but you don't get to know some of them as well as I would have liked. However, I am assuming that since this is a series that will be remedied in the future.

I am also curious. Which came first - monsterized Bratz dolls, the web cartoon, or the book series? As someone who doesn't have kids I am so out of the loop on this one. 



One Last Gripe: The ending - I know that many series leave you hanging so you buy the next book, but this one was ridiculous. There was absolutely no resolution. I ended this one feeling totally unsatisfied - like a cupcake made with salt instead of sugar.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The setting - Salem, Oregon

Favorite Character: Frankie Stein

Least Favorite Characters: Cleo, Becca



From Lisi Harrison, the New York Times bestselling author of The Clique and Alphas, comes a new series with a fresh twist on high school, romance, and the horrors of trying to fit in.
They prefer to call themselves RAD (Regular Attribute Dodgers), but some call them monsters. So far, the "monster" community has kept a low profile in Salem, but this year two new girls enroll at Master High School, and the town will never be the same.

Created just fifteen days ago, Frankie Stein is psyched to trade her father's formaldehyde-smelling basement lab for parties and cheerleading. But with a student body totally freaked out by rumors of monsters who might be stalking the halls, Frankie finds that life in the "normi" world can be rough for a chic freak like her.

She thinks she finds a friend in fellow new student Melody Carver--but can a normi be trusted with her big secret?



8 comments:

  1. I've seen this book before, but I'm kinda hesitant to read it. It seems okay. When I start a book, I usually read the whole series. I read the Clique by Lisi Harrison and I didn't like it much so I don't want the same thing to happen with this. Is it worth a read?

    By the way, you wrote a really good review.

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  2. @P.E. - Well, I guess it really depends. I would probably say if you weren't a fan of Harrison's writing in the other series to skip this one. I think you could probably get the positive aspects of the plot from the web cartoon and skip the books. It was an okay read, but there are so many awesome reads out there that I don't know that I would read this one if I knew then what I know now.

    Thank you so much for your compliment on the review. It means a lot! :)

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  3. Love your honest review Andrea. I have seen this book so many times & wanted to get it for my 11 yr old daughter. I agree with you that the concept sounds great. Hmmm...will def have to think about this one. Thanks again for the great review!

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  4. @Mindy - I think it would be perfect for an 11 year old. It's clean and cute. I just don't think it will appeal to older teens and adult readers as much. I would though as always - recommend you read it first to be safe.

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  5. @Stephany - Thanks for the award! You're blog is quite stylish, too! It's really beautiful. I'm now following. :D

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  6. Thanks for the heads up on that ending. Gah, I hate when books just dump you like that! I haven't read this series, but I did read the first book in the authors Clique series. I thought that one was cute, but nothing that stood out. I'm pretty sure the dolls came before the books, but I'm not positive.

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  7. I liked your review. I was not a fan of Harrison's other work, but I did like this book for its novel concept. I too picked it up because I wondered where the dolls came from. Read more of my review at http://bourg.info/2012/08/12/monster-high-lisi-harrison/

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