Sunday, May 5, 2013

Monster High by Lisi Harrison

Title: Monster High (Monster High #1)
Author: Lisi Harrison
Format: Paperback, 272 pages
Pub. Date: September 5th 2011
Source: Gift from Emily


Three stars.

Melody needs to get away from Beverly Hills and start over. An ex-dork, she's looking forward to being in the fresh air of Salem, Oregon (to help her asthma) and where people don't know her nerdy past. This is Frankie Stein's first year attending school in Salem too, only for way different reasons. She was only just created in a lab by her parents a few weeks ago, and they now deem her ready for the world. All is well until monster sightings start popping up around town, making the paranormal families who live there uncomfortable, and leaving their youth- like Frankie- torn between staying safe and being proud of who they really are.


Ughhhhhhhhhh. First, let me just say that despite my age, I love Monster High dolls. I'm in college, and I have Draculaura in a stand on my desk. As one who identifies as goth, I love that this series tries to incorporate classic horror with the girliness of Bratz or Barbies. But these books? Oy.

-This book is essentially a commercial. Now, if the commercials were only for Mattel products, I would be forgiving. It makes sense that a company would plug its own products. But it got to the point that I actually started taking a tally of how many times product brands or designers were dropped into the story. McDonald's, UGGs, Sephora, Tropicana, Bose, the list is endless.

-Along a similar line, celebrities, tv shows, and movies are constantly mentioned. Now when it comes to horror movies and the like, there's a free pass. I think it's cool that these are brought into the story. My main problem with doing this in a book is the fact that it dates the author and the book both. This book was obviously written when Lady Gaga was crazing the US, since she's mentioned a million times. Justin Beiber, The Black Eyed Peas, and countless others make their appearance too. But what happens when they never make another album? It will make the book seem ancient and passe instead of hip.

-Along with that, who exactly is this book series written for? The drama is way more junior high than high school, and yet every one is making out with everyone, making it seem like high school is one big slutty free for all. Ludacris' album "Word of Mouf" is referenced as though it's topical. Hello, that album released over a decade ago. So not voltage. It's as if Lisi Harrison just shoved as many references from as many decades as possible in the hopes that someone somewhere would understand it. From Fred Astaire and Woody Allen to Alicia Keys and Taylor Swift, the pop culture references came off far more desperate and forced than cool and "in the know."


-The aforementioned flaws make the novel come off as extremely fake, especially when mixed with petty characters. The "normies" aren't even believable- yes, in a book filled with monsters, the humans are the unbelievable part of this story. This one girl takes notes on every damn conversation and makes other girls sign documents. No wonder they have no friends, who does that? Once my friend starts being an obsessive freak like that, I say goodbye. Maybe I just went to a relaxed high school, but the girls' cattiness in this book is so melodramatic and over the top. Plus, half of the book is dedicated to their outfits, so you don't even get to learn about most of their personalities, which might have explained why they reacted that way, had the reader been enlightened with that information.

-Why is everyone rich and bougie in Salem? Melody said she left Beverly Hills, but everyone here drives flashy cars and own designer clothes. It makes sense for the old-money monster families, but what about everyone else? If this is such a charming, small town, then why the hell do these kids get credit cards and iPhones and Lexuses? (Maybe I'm a bitter old lady, but REALLY?)

-+ Neither positive or negative, I felt that this book had way too many characters. It was hard to keep track of them. I'm giving the writer the benefit of the doubt, though, since this is the introduction book. The others seem to narrow down a bit from here.

+I LOVED the parts when the author was describing the different monsters. I liked reading about their meetings, their ancestries, their legends. These characters were my favorites, and no doubt that was on purpose. I think that this is a cool twist to horror. No matter who your favorite classic monster is, from Dracula to Jekyll and Hyde, there's a character (or doll) for your enjoyment. It is for these characters only that I wish to read the rest of this series. And though I know this is a kids' series, I can't help but to hope that they'll eat all the human children that made this book half awful.

If you're older than junior high, I wouldn't give this a chance, unless like myself you are a fan of the dolls. If you're a die hard horror fan, enjoy gore, characters with depth, or reading books without watching/reading commercials, then give this book a pass. However, I think young girls will gobble this up, getting the references (at the time of this review, anyway) and feeling as cool as the dolls they play with.

Thanks to my girlfriend for getting this book for me after listening to me complain about wanting to read it <3


  1. I'm glad I got you this book, even with all the flaws in it. I'll be keeping my eye open for the others :)

  2. Never heard of it, hope u like it!

    Followed you back, btw! :)