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A FRIGHT TO REMEMBER by Adrianna Cuevas


From the Monster High School Spirits series, volume 1

by Adrianna Cuevas

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 2023
ISBN: 9781419769863
Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

At an all-monster school, a new student struggles with identity.

Frankie Stein (who uses they/them pronouns) may look around the same age as the other students at Monster High, but they were actually only pieced together by their loving and supportive parents one month ago. The parts making up Frankie’s brain came from monsters gifted in STEM subjects, and they’re incredibly intelligent and also very literal—Frankie has a tough time with idioms. An upcoming schoolwide talent show puts Frankie on the radar of mean-girl werecat Toralei, who expresses her jealousy through nasty EekTok videos after overhearing a shocking secret about the source of one of Frankie’s brain parts. Frankie is then plunged into an unexpected journey of self-discovery as they explore not only their past but also the choices of their parents and the history of the school. Cuevas’ series opener is deftly constructed for the middle-grade crowd, examining friendship, bullies, and the power of stories. For those unacquainted with Mattel’s Monster High franchise, this volume is an excellent jumping-in point, making enough introductions to the characters and the world’s specific parlance; for those who dismiss commercial tie-ins, this well-crafted volume will get them to reconsider that stance. With its cinematic pacing and contemporary slant told through a fantasy lens, expect readers of series such as Percy Jackson to find much to enjoy here.

Satisfying and substantial.

(Fantasy. 8-12)