Reida, Sarah Schauerte. Monsterville: A Lissa Black Production
September 20th 2016 by Sky Pony Press
Copy provided by Mr. Buxton!
Lissa is NOT happy when her parents move the family from New York City (where her school is going to be producing the play she wrote) to a small community where her great aunt has left them a house. She doesn't think that being able to roam around by herself is an improvement on being in the city, but when she finds a real, live monster in the woods, she at least has something to do. With the help of a neighbor, Adam, she tries to unravel the mystery of how Blue was turned into a monster, and why he is allowed to be above ground. She is concerned for her younger sister, Haylie, who has also met Blue, especially when she realizes that the Monsterville board game that her great aunt created may have a lot of basis in a scary reality. Can Lissa and Adam figure everything out before Halloween comes and the monsters become a real threat?
Strengths: Lissa's family was fantastic-- her parents were supportive, she loves her little sister, and the family deals with the move in a productive fashion. The relationship with Adam is also great-- they are truly equals, and there is a frisson of attraction that may be developed more in the next book. The world building with the monsters was done in a convincing fashion, and didn't take half the book to show up. Very solid middle grade novel.
Weaknesses: I wished that the aunt had been alive-- it would have been fun if the family came to help her out and Lissa could have consulted her. Also, I would rather this had been a stand alone title.
What I really think: I enjoyed this one more than I thought I would. This will be a great book to recommend to readers who want some magical realism.