Monster High

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Author: Lisi Harrison
ISBN: 978-190-741-0635
RRP: $16.99

Lisi Harrison blends all the creatures of the horror genre perfectly with average modern day teenagers in this first installment of the Monster High series.  A series which promises to be an engaging, easy read aimed at the young adult market which will appeal to readers of all ages.

Set in Salem – Oregon, not Massachusetts like the Salem witch trials – a community where all the horror genre monsters have congregated to build a safe community for themselves and their families; where they can integrate with ‘normies’ and live in harmony. A secret harmony because they can’t let their true natures be known, but in relative safety all the same. Harrison treats us to the backstory of how these beings came to Salem and why they continue to hide their natures, in quite an interesting and believable manner.

monster high

As the title suggests the focal characters of this series are all teenagers, of quite varied heritages. So, as if high school and adolescence are not trying enough for every teen in their quest to fit in and make friends and discover acceptance our lead characters in this series need to do this while carrying out an involved charade hiding their true natures.

Similar to all young adult fiction this is a story of growing awareness of self, of young love and heartbreak. All of the elements you expect to find in this genre, with the added awkwardness felt by all our lead ‘monsters’. The inbred need to be proud of who you are while spending every waking moment trying to hide those same qualities.

Teenagers the world over feel a need to express themselves and rebel, to let the world know who they are, and the teenagers in Salem are no different in that respect. It’s just that the families in Salem have a lot more to lose when their teens let the world know who they are. Even in their haven of safety their true natures are feared because the residents are aware that there have been alleged sighting throughout the generations and legends abound about the ‘monster’ migration to the area.

The true resonance of Monster High for me is the underlying message that no matter how different we look our similarities far outweigh any differences. This is a message prevalent in all young adult fiction and it is glaring here where the differences between the teens at Merston High are far greater than in other places throughout the world, but their need for acceptance is just as great. Our main character is a ‘normie’, perfected by her plastic surgeon father, who can really empathise because she remembers the time in her life prior to Salem where she too was ostracised for looking different.

A series I will look forward to following through to its close; a light and engaging read that I found difficult to put down.

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