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Frankie Stein is not your average teenager. Aside from the fact that she's only 15 days old (having been created in a Fab Lab by her parents) she has bolts in her neck and a green tinge to her skin. As if life isn't already hard, right? In an effort to fit into society, Frankie's parents send her off to `normie' school (for regular, normal teenagers) in an attempt to help her assimilate. But Salem, Oregon is a monster safe-haven, and Frankie soon finds fellow monster classmates, or RADs (Regular Attribute Disorder). There's Lagoona Blue, Draculaura, Deuce Gorgon, D.J./Jackson Hyde, Cleo(patra) and Claudine (CLAWdeen, get it?).
Lisi Harrison's novel is definitely aimed at the younger end of the teen market. `Monster High' is a bit of unabashed pop-culture fun for tweens. And to be honest, Harrison has done a really good job of appealing to this teeny bopper market.
The monster kids rock out to Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas. They have freaky fabulous wardrobes and say things like `that's VOLTAGE!' But if you read beyond the glossy sheen and bubblegum flavouring, `Monster High' actually has a lot to offer.
For one thing, Lisi Harrison has taken monster mythology and translated it to teen-speak while also writing subtext about fitting in. I know, that sounds like a lot of philosophizing about a book that has rhinestones on the cover, but give me a second...
I really liked the character of Frankie Stein. She looks different, she thinks differently to her peers and she desperately wants to fit in. But she never sacrifices who she is for how other's will see her. It's a hard lesson she has to learn, but Frankie has a great sense of self, bolts, green skin and all!Read more ›
This book was checked out from the library, which I'm glad I did instead of buying it. This book definitely begrudgingly gets a 3 out of 5 gnomes because one character of the two main characters is much more likable then the other. This book went from a 2 up to a 3 just because of the character Frankie Stein.
Melody and Frankie alternate chapters. Melody is human, had a nose job and recently moved from Beverly Hills to Oregon. Frankie is a monster, Frankenstein's granddaughter and has mint green skin.
I really wish that the book only had Frankie or the other monster's point of view the whole time. Melody makes it extremely hard to care about her. She feels sorry for herself a lot and has zero confidence. Melody's nickname used to be Smellody but then her plastic surgeon dad fixed her nose. The supposed reason for fixing her nose is well, ludicrous. I'm pretty sure that having asthma would not prevent you from singing but that is the reason she says she wants her nose fixed. Also have to wonder how getting a nose job would help you at all if you had asthma. She supposedly doesn't like being pretty because she's not sure people like her for her or just her new nose.
Another astonishingly weird choice is Melody's decision to become best friends with Bekka. Bekka has Melody sign a contract saying that she won't go after her boyfriend Brett and will beat up anyone that does. After hearing about and seeing the contract Melody actually signs it which really made me question her mental faculties. Bekka is followed around by Haylee who writes down everything Bekka does to turn it into a cell phone novel.Read more ›
then I would have given this book a negative number. The book itself is cute and has nice message. Harrison, however, ruins it by peppering the book with graphic sexuality. This line is aimed at "tweens" - I hardly think tweens need to read a hot and heavy make out scene. What shocked me the most was a line when the monsters were at a costume party. One character showed up as the Hunchback and, when asked by a girl what he was doing there, he replied, "I thought you might wanna hump." I get that this is a sarcastic remark because of the "hump" on his back but ... REALLY? I don't need my tween asking me what that is - I wouldn't want my TEEN asking what it is! I will return this. My daughter can play with the dolls and watch the (much more tame) movies.
These books are for kids who love the dolls, and the dolls appeal to the 8-10 crowd at most. There was more than a little age-inappropriate material, including several references (with examples) to "making out" and several ill advised sexual innuendos ("you wanna hump?" stood out more than others). Also, I don't think the word "sexy" should have had such a star role in books intended for a 9 year old.
I found the "Monster High" web cartoons online to be quite cute, with vivid & distinct characters and a fun setting. When I heard about this book, I was excited to see this world explored in the depths that only prose can really reach.
Boy, was I disappointed.
Lisi Harrison apparently took her notes for an unpublished "Clique" novel and forced them into the Monster High concept. The fun, vivid characters from the web cartoons are replaced with flat characters who do everything possible to hide what makes them visually interesting, including whiteface (which is all sorts of wrong). The only new additions Harrison brings are more castaways from the "Clique", and we get our requisite love triangle, since any book series aimed at women MUST force in a romance by law. The love triangle is the only place where Harrison shows any sort of creativity, since it's a twist on Jekyll & Hyde, but other than that, she seems more concerned with dropping as many designer & brand names as possible than actually writing an interesting story. In the hands of a writer whose imagination isn't limited to whatever fashion rag she most recently read, this couldn've been a good book, but Harrison apparently can only write what she sees on Style Network, not actual characters.
Mattel gave Harrison a wonderful, imaginative world to work with, and she threw all that away for a whitewashed pretty-people festival, just like all of her own series. Why an author so devoid of any true imagination was given this series, let alone is popular, is beyond me. Avoid this if you have any respect for writing as a craft or even just for using your imagination beyond picturing yourself in the latest issue of "Seventeen".
Lisi Harrison is the author of the Clique, Alphas, and Monster High series. She was senior director of Development at MTV and also served as head writer for MTV Productions. She is currently pretending to work on her next novel. Lisi lives in Laguna Beach, California.
She posts a new blog every Wednesday at LisiHarrison.com