|Monster who wasn't|
Author: Shelley, T. C.
Imp, hatched in the underground monsters lair looking like a human boy, does not know where he fits, but Thunderguts, king of the ogres, has a dangerous destiny in mind for him.
Kirkus Reviews (07/15/20)
School Library Journal (09/01/20)
Booklist (+) (07/01/20)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2020 Gr 4–6—Shelley's debut offers a delightfully strange original story with a classic feel. On hatching day in the monster pit, one hatchling imp is different from all the other monsters. Even he doesn't know who or what he is. With the help of a charmingly grumpy pack of gargoyles, he sets out to discover his true identity. When he ends up at a human wake where he is mistaken for a relative, he gives himself the name Sam, and realizes what he is doesn't matter as much as choosing who he will be, and finding out where he belongs. Shelley's phrases like "a scuffle of bogies" and "a flight of bogarts" flow in a gentle river of beautiful and humorous word choices. The world she creates is marvelously odd. Sam is endearingly innocent. Clever readers will delight in figuring out what will happen just ahead of the characters. The ending, while satisfying, leaves many questions unanswered, making the story feel like the first of the trilogy that it is. However, the backdrop of London with landmarks familiar to any Harry Potter fan make this human-monster world seem all the more real. VERDICT A good choice for readers who enjoy the strange, dark world of Neil Gaiman's Coraline as well as the classic world-building and poetic voice of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. Recommended as a family read-aloud.—Hillary Perelyubskiy, LAPL - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.