September 25, 2011

Review of "Monster High"

"Monster High"
Lisi Harrison

Monster High (Monster High Series #1) 

Pub. Date: September 7th, 2010
Pages: 255
Publisher: Poppy

Synopsis: 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. 

The monster community has kept a low profile at the local high school, but when two new girls enroll, 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 prom.

But with a student body totally freaked out by rumors of monsters stalking the halls, Frankie learns that high school can be rough for a chic freak like her. She thinks she finds a friend in fellow new student Melody Carver-but can a "normie" be trusted with her big secret?

I have to admit that this book didn't really appeal to me because I was never interested in reading any of Lisi Harrison's other books.  The only reason I read this book was because it was on audio book and I had heard good things about it.  After being so skeptical I am shocked to report that I LOVED "Monster High"!  The book was funny and the characters were interesting.  Even characters I thought I would hate grew on me once I learned more about them.  They all had more depth than being beautiful, bitchy, or a paranormal.   I think my favorite character had to be Frankie.  I didn't always agree with her actions and knew she was going to cause trouble, I knew she was only doing what she felt best.  I found it very brave that she was willing to put herself out there whether people liked it or not.  I also liked how she was so into pop culture and had her own catchphrase.  She just had a unique style and personality.

I was also presently surprised with the world that Lisi Harrison created.  It was somehow realistic even though there were monsters everywhere.  She creates her own monster history that is entertaining and adds some believability to the story.  I loved how the monsters were able to mix in with humans and found tricks to hiding their true identities.  I also have to say I like how gung-ho the school got into all the monster drama that started to unfold.  The love stories were pretty expected, but they were still entertaining.  My favorite thing about this book was how it was all about identity and being true to yourself.  I usually struggle with books that have multiple perspectives, but I really enjoyed seeing how Frankie's and Melody's worlds collided.

I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy paranormal books, especially those who enjoy humor.  "Monster High" reminded me of something Meg Cabot would write.  It is definitely worth giving a try and if Frankie or Melody don't suck you in at the beginning then at least you gave it a shot.  Especially if you are a person who enjoys monster movies or classic horror books.  I totally got a kick out of seeing all my favorite monsters as teenagers.  I will definitely read more in the Monster High series, but I'm still unsure about reading"The Clique" or "Alphas"... I might come around eventually though.

September 19, 2011

Review of "Bruiser"

Neal Shusterman



Pub. Date: June 29, 2010
Pages: 328
Publisher: HarperTeen

Synopsis:  Tennyson: Don’t get me started on the Bruiser. He was voted “Most Likely to Get the Death Penalty” by the entire school. He’s the kid no one knows, no one talks to, and everyone hears disturbing rumors about. So why is my sister, Brontë, dating him? One of these days she’s going to take in the wrong stray dog, and it’s not going to end well.

Bronte: My brother has no right to talk about Brewster that way — no right to threaten him. There’s a reason why Brewster can’t have friends — why he can’t care about too many people. Because when he cares about you, things start to happen. Impossible things that can’t be explained. I know, because they’re happening to me.
Award-winning author Neal Shusterman has crafted a chilling and unforgettable novel about the power of unconditional friendship, the complex gear workings of a family, and the sacrifices we endure for the people we love.

"Bruiser" is a book I picked up having absolutely no idea what it was about.  The only thing that I knew was it had to do with abuse and bullying.  I cannot express how glad I am that I came across this on a YALSA list because I doubt I would have picked it up on my own.  I have been waiting to write this review because I am worried anything I say will give away Brewster's secret.  I was right thinking that this book was about abuse and dealt with bullying, but the book is really about so much more.

I think "Bruiser" is a book that honestly depicts human nature.  The characters have flaws, but we are able to look past them because Shusterman balances the good with the bad.  Bronte means well when she takes Brewster under her wing, but even she is blind to the truth that is right in front of  her.  This book is also about friendship and family.  Both types of relationships are complicated and can only be successful if people are willing to be honest with themselves and the people they love. 

I highly recommend "Bruiser", but warn that it may be difficult for some people to read.  The book does deal with some generic issues that teens can relate to, but the method in which Shusterman addresses the issues is unique.  I feel like readers who liked "Wintergirls", "Thirteen Reasons Why", and maybe even "Before I Fall" would enjoy this book.  Although they might not because "Bruiser" isn't exactly realistic fiction... I'm not really sure how I would classify it. I know this review is short, but I would rather be brief than ruin the plot for everyone.