The second and third books in the Monster High series, The Ghoul Next Door and Where There\’s A Wolf, There\’s A Way, are heaps of fun. As this Mattel franchise has a number of components, the reader might initially doubt the merit of the books. However, the books are well structured and highly entertaining. Lisi Harrison does a fine job of moving the action forward and creating a sense of suspense. The suspense isn\’t paranormal in nature, or connected to the fact that most of the characters are monsters. Rather, the monsters have the same concerns most teenagers do: romance, parties and friendships. The books are more It Girl than Cousin Itt: a delightful melange of fashion, fur and fangs.
The books deal with RADs (regular attribute dodgers), or monsters, and normies, the non-monster students. The RADs and their parents live secret lives, working and studying side by side with unsuspecting normies. As the books progress, the RADs decide to come out of hiding and fight for acceptance. Lady Gaga is a real gift to this series, and the author cleverly works “Monster” into the narrative. As well as having exciting plots and some wonderfully vain and eccentric characters, the books are about fitting in, standing out, and being proud of who you are.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the books, as an Australian reviewer I found the Australian character, Blue, a bit much. She sounds like a cross between â€˜Kath\’ or â€˜Kim\’ and â€˜Crocodile Dundee\’ and either uses Australian expressions incorrectly, or says things I\’ve never heard in my life! But as the rest of the characters are so adorable, it\’s easy enough for the Australian reader to ignore this. There\’s Cleo, the mummy, Frankie (I think you can guess that one), Clawdeen and her family of werewolves. Other monsters include a gorgons, a vampire with family stress, a Jekyll and Hyde character, a ghost, a zombie, and an invisible boy who has to go around naked to avoid detection.
This long list of monsters means that the character development in these books isn\’t as comprehensive as I would have liked. The author builds suspense by telling different parts of the story from different perspectives, tying a number of plot lines together. It is a testament to the abilities of Lisi Harrison that even though I didn\’t want to leave one character, I was soon absorbed by the next: they\’re all “voltage”!
Read our review of Monster High here.