Greetings, readers! I have yet again emerged from my cocoon and with another quality review. Maybe even a few of you will remember this one! I'm quite exited to talk about this, so let's jump right into Monster High by Lisi Harrison!
Frankie Stein isn't your average teenage girl- for one, she's only been alive for fifteen days! After being created by her parents in a lab, they decide it's only fair for their daughter to get an education. But in order for Frankie to blend in with the human "normies", she has to cover up her mint-green skin and electric bolts, preventing her from being her own freaky cool self! How will she be able to protect the secret of monsters, all while trying to be herself in high school life?
Frankie isn't the only girl at school trying to survive school; Melody Carver, the new girl on the block, finds herself at odds with Cleo, the most popular girl at Merston High. The only person she can trust is Jackson Jekyll, the cute nerd who's personality flip-flops faster than the blink of an eye. Is it possible he might have a monstrous secret too?
MY THOUGHTS Monster High, the 2010 doll line that changed fashion dolls forever. Their gothic clothes, angular faces, and fleshed-out personalities and world made the dolls a hit with both kids and collectors alike. The line unfortunately "ended" in 2016 after a reboot that turned the dolls from freaky fabulous detailed toys to shoddy baby-faced Barbie knockoffs, but is rumored to return in 2022 with a live-action movie.
It's safe to say I love MH. I don't any dolls myself, but I've seen every movie, book,
and show out there. I absolutely adore Draculaura, and I love the new 2021 Skullector dolls (though I didn't manage to get my hands one one, as they sold out in seven minutes). So imagine my surprise when I found this book on the shelves of Value Village (yet again).
Now, Imagine my surprise when I read this book and found it had little to nothing to do with the canon MH story. Really. What I was expecting was another entry into the story of MH, not something completely divergent. But, that said, I don't hate this book by Lisi Harrison. In fact, I quite like it, even though it's not exactly what I wanted.
But first let's talk about what I don't like.
For those who don't know, Monster High is an actual school in the official MH story. It's a big gothic purple castle with pink coffin-shaped lockers, a Creepateria (a monster cafeteria), and all kinds of monster students. The whole point of the school is that it's a place where monsters don't have to hide how monster-y they are. But in this book, it's just a normal school where some monsters attend. And those monsters have to hide their true identity.
Another thing I don't like is how the characters barely have anything to do with their doll counterparts besides their name. Well, Draculaura is called Laura for a good part of the book. I don't even remember what Howleen did, and role-playing characters like Ghoulia and Abby are completely missing.
But despite all this, I don't hate the series. It's a bit hard for a long time MH fan to get into, even more so if you're attached to the preestablished lore, but the 2016 reboot rewrote the lore and I didn't see too many people complaining. It's definitely what one would call a new take, but I don't think everyone would consider it a fresh one.
Personally, I think this book is really charming. It's like a early 2010's time capsule, with constant references to 2010's pop culture and long-dead fashion trends. I'm sure the author was trying to be as hip as possible when they wrote this, but it really dates the book. But like I said, I love that.
I also enjoy the use of Jackson and Hyde in this book. I think they're underused characters in the franchise, and from what I've heard they're a decent representation of DID. Of course, since I don't have DID, I can't determine the accuracy of that in this book specifically, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and assume it's the same. It's just nice to see him with a playing part.
All in all, I don't think this book is the best version of MH, but I don't think it's the worst. I think it could be enjoyed by all fans if they open their minds a little; and hey! Maybe they'll find something in it for them. I think if they do end up doing a MH live-action movie, it'll be a lot like this.