When seventh grader Lissa moves with her family from New York City to rural Freeberg, she s not happy She s left behind her friends and the place she loves Lissa s snarky voice rings true as a middle schooler trying on a whole new world Quickly, though things take a spooky turn when she encounters much than she bargained for in the woods behind her house Teaming up with her neighbor, Adam, she discovers an unbelievable secret lurks very near Halloween night brings the story to its exciting climax with adventure and thrills and, of course, monsters Lissa is on a mission to save her little sister and others before the night ends The author does a great job combining the contemporary world with the fantasy world, which makes this book all the thrilling and scary The endearing characters certainly add to the mix You ll be rooting them on and you ll want to keep the lights on too A fun read for upper middle grade. Copy provided by Mr Buxton Lissa is NOT happy when her parents move the family from New York City where her school is going to be producing the play she wrote to a small community where her great aunt has left them a house She doesn t think that being able to roam around by herself is an improvement on being in the city, but when she finds a real, live monster in the woods, she at least has something to do With the help of a neighbor, Adam, she tries to unravel the mystery of how Blue was turned into a monster, and why he is allowed to be above ground She is concerned for her younger sister, Haylie, who has also met Blue, especially when she realizes that the Monsterville board game that her great aunt created may have a lot of basis in a scary reality Can Lissa and Adam figure everything out before Halloween comes and the monsters become a real threat Strengths Lissa s family was fantastic her parents were supportive, she loves her little sister, and the family deals with the move in a productive fashion The relationship with Adam is also great they are truly equals, and there is a frisson of attraction that may be developed in the next book The world building with the monsters was done in a convincing fashion, and didn t take half the book to show up Very solid middle grade novel Weaknesses I wished that the aunt had been alive it would have been fun if the family came to help her out and Lissa could have consulted her Also, I would rather this had been a stand alone title What I really think I enjoyed this one than I thought I would This will be a great book to recommend to readers who want some magical realism. Thirteen Year Old Aspiring Screenwriter Director Lissa Black Isn T Thrilled When Her Parents Move The Family From NYC To The Sticks Of Freeburg, PA At First, It Seems Like Her Only Entertainment Will Be Playing The Twisted Version Of Candyland Called Monsterville Found In Her Basement, And Learning Boy Scout Knots From Her New Neighbor Adam But When A Walk In The Woods Lands Lissa Face To Face With A Swamp Monster, And Then A Sasquatch, She Realizes That Maybe Freeburg Isn T Totally Boring With Adam S Help, Lissa Catches The Culprit Behind The Drama A Shape Shifting Goblin Who S Escaped From The Monster World Of Down Below At First, Lissa Has Big Plans To Use Blue As The Star In Her First Real Movie, But Then Monsters Snatch Her Little Sister On Halloween Now Lissa And Her New Friends Must Venture Down Below To Stage A Rescue And Face The Real Monsterville, Which Is Anything But A Game 4.5 stars This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.Wow This was very different from what I was expecting it to be In the best possible sort of way I m really regretting not reading it around Halloween time because it would have been gotten me into the perfect spooky mood It s definitely got a very high creep factor in it, but not in an over the top unpleasant sort of way.The first thing that really made the story for me, right from the first few chapters, was Lissa s narration She s absolutely obsessed with filmography, so half the time she describes a scene she compares it to some classic film or describes how she would film it if her life were a movie These extra details add a very creative angle to the novel and provide many instances of picturesque imagery that we wouldn t get otherwise Besides enjoying Lissa s narration, I also just really connected with her as a character It s all too rare to find a main character who loves small children and is great at babysitting For Lissa, though, acting as a mini mother seems to come naturally In fact, especially toward the second half of the novel, she often behaves like Hailey s mother than her older sister Lissa s reaction to moving from New York to middle of nowhere Pennsylvania is also very realistic she s mad, and grouchy, and at first refuses to admit that there might be anything good about the entire state of Pennsylvania Honestly, that s how I usually feel when I move somewhere new Lissa s evolution of emotions and the reliable, yet increasingly distant, support she gets from her friends back in New York ring true to my own moving experiences.So basically, Lissa is exactly like me with a love for movies swapped out for my obsession with books Good That right there guarantees I ll enjoy at least a large part of the book But did I love it Yes, absolutely I adored Adam, Lissa s next door neighbor who allows himself to get dragged along for the ride in exchange for nothing than the opportunity to show Lissa reasons why she shouldn t hate Pennsylvania The cynical part of me says he s a little too perfect to be a real person, but I m not in the mood to listen to it He s awesome Hailey herself is adorable, very realistic if a tad too cooperative at times but then, maybe my younger siblings are just wilder than most The side characters we meet from Lissa s new and old school all ring true in the small roles that they re given.But now for the monsters And I have to say, this is one of the horrific premises for a novel that I ve read in a while The further you get into the story, the worse it gets by the time the main characters are stumbling through Down Below, facing terrible monsters in their quest to find Hailey, things are pretty hard core If you stop and think about the reason Hailey s been kidnapped, they re positively horrific.At the same time, though, like I said I really loved reading Monsterville. Maybe it s just the fact that it s a middle grade novel, but no matter how dark things got I never felt like it was going to end in total tragedy I m not usually one for horror, but I actually adored Monsterville It had just the right mixture of family including not dead, emotionally invested parents , friendship, love, and tension It also ended on a sort of cliffhanger, and I am definitely ready for the sequel Someone please tell me it will be out in time for next Halloween Disclaimer I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. A snarky city girl transplanted to the country, a cute geeky boy with mad boy scout skills, a darling baby sister and seriously confused monsters What s not to like Monsterville is a cute, fun read that has it all When Lissa Black is forced to move from the high life of New York, New York, to the Hicksville, USA, she s less than pleased Soon after meeting Adam, the awkward, yet adorable boy next door, Lissa stumbles on Swamp monster looking for brains in the woods When Adam and Lissa investigate, they discover not only a mooing Sasquatch, but a whole different world of monsters Film obsessed Lissa, wants to make a monster movie with a citizen of Down Under But when Lissa s baby sister is threatened things turn serious Now Lissa has to unravel the world of Down Under Filled with quirky fun and exciting adventure, Monsterville A Lissa Black Production, reminds me of a combination of Jumanji, Labyrinth and Little Monsters It s not to be missed I m hoping there will be a book two, and Monsterville would make a great movie This review is based on an advance reader s copy. My name is Lissa, and there s a goblin living behind my new home in the country He seemed harmless enough when Adam and I first found him, but we ve since discovered the terrible truth of Down Below This goblin used to be a little boy who disappeared last year, and he escaped from the monster world under the earth The goblin is terrified of a creature called Atticus, and kids around the world are kidnapped by him every Halloween They have all become monsters I m afraid my little sister is in danger, and Halloween is coming soon I have a strange feeling that Monsterville, a board game I found in the basement, is the key to stopping these creatures.I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed this book On the surface, my review may not seem overly impressive, but the author managed to creatively develop an entertaining plot It never seemed to settle into a rut with uneventful moments Lissa didn t like the move to a new house, she found a cutish goblin in the woods, she learned the truth about monsters and Blue s secret, then had to work to save her sister I felt sympathy for a goblin What I didn t like I don t like that this book begins a new series I don t know what s going to come in the sequel, but I would have been very satisfied to have had this conflict resolved and ended the story Now, I m curious about the sequel and will probably check it out This book is not a classic, but Monsterville is entertaining and fun to read. I read an Advanced Release Copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.If I could describe this book in one word it would be FUNTASTIC It s a fast paced and entertaining read, with just the right touch of friendship romance, but not the overwhelming melodramas of pre teen and teen life In addition to the charismatic characters, there were so many moments where I found myself laughing at Lisssa s witty comments You know you have a great book when you find yourself smiling while reading and walking away with that warm fuzzy feeling only a good book can bring.I also want to point out if you like Halloween or movies this is the book for you It creates a great fun, scary atmosphere like the Goonies or Boxtrolls you know when the suspense has you jumping up and down and you can t stop reading, but you re not afraid to go to sleep Speaking of movies I LOVE all the movie references and the way the character sees everything like a movie It makes it fun and relatable Overall, just a cute, wonderful story that I would let my kids read and would recommend to older readers looking for that fun, quick read like a Harry Potter book. What do you do when you find a shape shifting monster in the woods behind your home You recruit him to star in a home made monster movie, of course That s what Lissa Black does, anyway Having just been forced by her parents to move from fabulous New York to boring Freeburg, she ll do anything for entertainment Of course, she soon starts asking questions about who the monster is and where he came from, and then she s in a whole heap of trouble.This book is the best fun, overflowing with humour Lissa and her friend Adam make a great team and the little monster is simply adorable I loves the way the story overturns so many movie cliches and the multitude of movie references all add to the humour The plot develops at a good pace and, while adults are chuckling at the jokes, kids love puzzling over the chain of clues that lead to Monsterville.I was given an advance copy of Monsterville in exchange for an honest review. I read an Advanced Release Copy of this book in exchange for my honest review Get ready, because you may hear this phrase a lot in relation to this book Monsterville is monstrous fun Lissa Black is a funny, relatable fish out of water, navigating life in a new town when her little sister goes missing, and she has to rely on the help of her you ve gotta love him boy scout neighbour, Adam, and a real live monster living in her backyard to get her back Lissa s personality, which is at once both endearingly snarky, but also quite warm and loving, had me hooked from the gate, and the suspenseful plot kept me turning the pages As someone who grew up in the 80s and 90s, the tone of Monsterville immediately brought me back to the books and movies I loved when I was a kid it definitely has that unpredictable, wild, adventurous feel that made Jumanji so much fun And Lissa s film obsession reminded me so much of how I used to be fascinated by the craft of film and TV at that age, wanting to soak up as much knowledge on the subject as possible Sarah does an excellent job of taking Lissa s passion and not only weaving it into the story in a way that really elevates the narrative, but also teaches a lot about the film making process, with plenty of movie trivia to boot I highly recommend Monsterville A Lissa Black Production to anyone looking for a quick, fun, and spooky read Perfect for Halloween, or anytime you find yourself wondering if there might be a monster lurking in the shadows of your bedroom I was given an advanced copy of the book in exchange for honest feedback I shared the book with my daughter while we read it together The story was a fast paced and funny read Similar to the pace and hilarity of The Goonies, which is perfect since the main character Lissa sees the world through movies.Again, a great read for both me and my daughter.
Sarah Schauerte Reida is a writer, lawyer, and ugly animal advocate Growing up in the Midwest Illinois, to be precise , she read everything she could get her hands on, as well as watched many, many movies during her parents camping trips involving electricity and s s in a microwave A member of The Sweet Sixteens, Sarah s debut middle grade novel, Monstervile A Lissa Black Production, is
- 368 pages
- Sarah S. Reida
- 10 March 2019 Sarah S. Reida