Sunday, March 3, 2024

Today's read... Mind Over Monsters by Betsy Uhrig

Who wants to go on a monster hunt? I'm always on the look-out for a light-hearted, fun read, which pulls into an exciting adventure...and I'm really hoping I found that in this book. Oh, and I love the lacrosse rackets on the cover because I could totally see that as a great monster-hunting tool. Hmm...maybe that would scare away the possums, which have been relentlessly attacking my chicken coop this year (Can you believe we've already caught six of them?) Only one chicken lost, so far, though. So, I'm winning the battle this round.

Anyway, let's head into today's read and see if it's a winner!

by Betsy Uhrig
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Middle Grade Paranormal
302 pages
ages 8 to 12

JULY 16th!!!

Gordon Korman meets Scooby-Doo when anxiety-prone middle schoolers try a mindfulness app that has them face their fears all-too-literally in this spooky and humorous middle grade adventure.

FACE YOUR FEARS! That’s what the meditation app with the cheesy name De-stress-o-rama is telling Lena to do. She’s one of seven always-worried middle schoolers trying out this new app to see if it can help students handle stress. But something is going wrong—very, very wrong.

The group’s fears are becoming all too real, first lurking and dangling, then chasing them around and threatening to swallow them whole. From a stubborn inky blob that is fear of the dark, to the queasy giant in sweaty underpants that is fear of public speaking, monsters are invading Cranberry Bog Middle School! Can Lena’s group of worriers figure out how to conquer their fears before the whole school is swarmed?



Monsterly tension hits humor and heart in an exciting adventure with characters to love.

Lena is in the seventh grade and a born ball of stress. When she's called to the school's office, she's sure the world's about to end. Instead, she's asked to skip Homeroom every morning and take part in testing an app meant to reduce stress. At first, everything is great, and she's actually enjoying the calming sessions. But when nightmares begin, and she discovers a blob of goo on her pillow the next morning, the calm part is over. The students' fears are turning into monsters, and those are more dangerous than a semester test could ever be.

This book is sold as a Scooby-Doo meets anxiety prone kids, and the comparison isn't bad. Lena's a kind person, who isn't quite comfortable in her own skin but does her best to deal with everything even with a constant hum of anxiety. The author lets us sink into her situation (family, friends, and school), while slowing edging into the growing threat. The meditation-app had me smiling, especially as it sets off the main plot (clever and time fitting!). It also allows the other characters to gain a foothold with their, obviously, distinct personalities and quirks before the monsters begin to trickle in. And these monsters are imagination pure with a dangerous touch to keep the tension high. While there is heart and threats galore, it's the constant, gentle humor, which makes it fun.

While the main plot circles around the anxiety-ridden group of monster fighters as they literally face their fears head-on (got to love this bunch!), there are a couple sub-plots to add heart. Lena's best friend is changing, and while she tries to bare with her friend's new interests and priorities, the rift between them grows. There's also a lovely, family dynamic, especially on the sibling end as Lena's personality sits seemingly on the opposite end of her older brother's. Mix in the new forming friendships, and it's a rich adventure from beginning to end. And tons of fun, too.

And here she is...

Betsy Uhrig is the author of The Polter-Ghost ProblemDouble the Danger and Zero ZucchiniWelcome to Dweeb Club, and Mind Over Monsters. She was born and raised in Greater Boston, where she lives with her family and way more books than you are picturing. She graduated from Smith College with a degree in English and has worked in publishing ever since. She writes books for children instead of doing things that aren’t as fun. Visit her at

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