Monster Friends by Kaeti Vandorn, 272 pp, RL 3


Monster Friends 
Review Copy from RHGraphic

VanDorn's debut, Crabapple Trouble, encompassed her two-fold talent for creating a visually engaging world while telling a story centered on social-emotional challenges and joys. In Monster Friends, two seeming opposites, the boisterous Emily and the retreating Reggie, find that they both struggle with the same difficulty - being heard by others. Housesitting at the seaside, Reggie is brooding over his latest adventure gone wrong. He is avoiding the pile of letters from the League of Locksmiths asking him to renew his membership or risk losing it while working up the courage - and the right words - to tell his exploring partner that he's not cut out for adventure. Emily's arrival - and her summer to-do list - draws Reggie out of the house and embarking on another adventure. As the unlikely pair fulfill Emily's goals of searching for sea monsters and planning beach parties, Reggie gains a new perspective on his struggles and discovers his voice. In turn, Emily's friendship with Reggie helps Emily to heard and appreciated among her many, sometimes dismissive, siblings. Together, they find their voices and happiness.

All this plays out over the rolling green hills and sandy shores of a cozy and charming geography created by Vandorn. Evocative of the rich world building and marvelous monsters of Hayao Miyazaki, Monster Friends is a book that readers will dive into and read over and over!

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