Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Review: Monty and the Monster by Rhonda Smiley

Welcome to the first review in June! I had a bit of a switch-up (life is full of surprises). Today's read is a middle grade fantasy packed full of surprises and...well, a monster. The author has had her hand involved with all sorts of popular kid's tales and has won a few prizes along the way. I'm just a huge fan of fun stories for middle graders, which pack tons of fantasy. So, this one is definitely down my lane.

See what you think!

by Rhonda Smiley
Middle Grade Fantasy
232 pages
ages 8 to 12

Winner of the Wishing Shelf Book Awards (Bronze) 2019

When seventh grader Monty Hyde moves for the fourth time in two years, it’s the same old story. New neighborhood, new school, new bullies, no friends. With his dad working all the time and his older brother too popular to notice, he’s the lonely outcast yet again. That is, until he finds a mysterious replication serum in his basement and decides to make a friend. From scratch.

But when his creation turns out to be a stinky, hairy eight-foot-tall monster that might be eating the neighborhood kids, Monty knows he must undo his experiment. STAT!

Problem is, it’s the best friend he’s ever had.

GOODREADS  /    BOOK DEPOSITORY   /    B&N    /     KOBO    /   AMAZON


Imagination meets monsterly fun twist together in a tale with heart, humor and adventure.

Monty is anything but thrilled to be staring at a 'new' home again. And it's not even a nice looking one. They move constantly thanks to their dad's work, but while his older brother manages to meet friends where ever they go, Monty is alone with his magic kit and skateboard. When he discovers a trapdoor in the attic (his new declared bedroom), he discovers a tunnel and the most amazing things. Suddenly, life takes a very unexpected turn, and he finally ends up creating a best friend...or sort of best friend. The monster is anything but easy to handle.

This is a fun read, which lets imagination and adventure fly, exactly the way a middle grade read should. Monty is easy to connect with as he moves yet again and tries his best to fit in but just can't. Add that he's doing his best to come to terms with the loss of his mother and an irritating big brother, and he's the kind of kid readers will sympathize with. Especially since he doesn't mope but refuses to give up the things he likes to do.

This is a fast-paced read, which allows just enough details for the reader to understand what's going on but never dives into boring moments. Something is always happening, and it's packed full with imagination at every turn, making it impossible to guess what will happen next. Because monsters aren't really predictable creatures. Humor mixes with tenser scenes to create a lovely mix, which is sure to keep the age group involved in the story from beginning to end.

And there are messages. Not fitting in, moving, loss of a parent, sibling relationships, staying true to yourself, and several other themes pop in without ever slowing the plot or taking over the fun. The adventure stays at the fore-front, and it's hard not to root for Monty until the very end. Plus, the reader is left sort of wishing they might have the chance to deal with a monster themselves...or maybe not. 

And here she is...

After graduating from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada with a BFA in Film Production, Rhonda Smiley began her career as a writer on various television series, including “Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation,” “Tarzan: The Epic Adventures,” “Born Free,” “Rescue Heroes,” and Totally Spies!” to name a few. Her passion for storytelling led her to become an author. Her first novel, the young adult fantasy “Asper,” was awarded the indieBRAG medallion, and her second, “Monty and the Monster” won a bronze medal in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. Visit her at https://www.rhondasmiley.com/ to learn more about her TV shows, books, and upcoming projects.

No comments: