Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.75 / 5 stars)
Audio Book Performance: ★★★★☆ (4 / 5 Stars)
Sophie has always been different. Cursed by a witch at a young age, she has strange mark on her face that has been there her whole life. Her mom calls it a blood tumor, or a hemangioma. But Sophie is convinced it makes her a monster. While no one believes her, Sophie can see the different paranormal monsters in the world, all thanks to her Big Book of Monsters. Her friend Autumn is a fairy, her mother’s new boyfriend is a demon, and the boys in class are goblins. But she’s convince she’s a monster. Can she find a cure? Or will her mother discover her secret?
In a story that pulls us into a child’s psyche, we see how children often deal with trauma: creating a fictional world that might just seem real. Bordering on the edge of fantasy, Sophie’s story is not one filled with real monsters, but with the monsters we have inside each of us. How do these monsters form? Sometimes its nature, sometimes nurture; and over time, we learn to deal with them or we become them.
A Monster Like Me has a deep message for all readers, young and old. Creative children will find ways to cope, especially when a parent might suffocate their choices or when marked with something that causes people to bully them. Sophie’s journey is learning to love herself, and understanding the true meaning of being human. It’s heartbreaking, lovely, and is important in so many ways. What is especially significant is how people may choose to interpret Sophie. She’s a child with a different way of thinking, not just because of her blood tumor, but also how she perceives the world. One message that is ushered through the book is celebrating those differences, rather than alienating them.
One reason I’m not rating this book higher though is because, frankly, I grew bored in a few spots. Sophie rambles, often in buckets of self pity, that caused my mind to wander. While this is certainly what a child would do, I found myself wanting to hurry along through the story rather than go in circles with Sophie’s emotions. Children repeat themselves, that much is a fact, so I can only judge Sophie’s narration so much. I wouldn’t want to change the narration anyhow, especially since her narration does give us a chance to see her inner thoughts. It was just a small thing that caused me to struggle with this book just a little bit.
That being said though, A Monster Like Me is such a good story. It brings you back to childhood and will leave you remembering times when fairies were real. Growing up might cause you to leave behind that sense of wonder, but it also is about finding out who in fact is a monster.
I am happy to have watched Sophie grow up as well.
What’s it about?
There are trolls, goblins, and witches. Which kind of monster is Sophie?
Sophie is a monster expert. Thanks to her Big Book of Monsters and her vivid imagination, Sophie can identify the monsters in her school and neighborhood. Clearly, the bullies are trolls and goblins. Her nice neighbor must be a good witch, and Sophie’s new best friend is obviously a fairy. But what about Sophie? She’s convinced she is definitely a monster because of the “monster mark” on her face. At least that’s what she calls it. The doctors call it a blood tumor. Sophie tries to hide it but it covers almost half her face. And if she’s a monster on the outside, then she must be a monster on the inside, too.
Being the new kid at school is hard. Being called a monster is even harder. Sophie knows that it’s only a matter of time before the other kids, the doctors, and even her mom figure it out. And then her mom will probably leave — just like her dad did.
Because who would want to live with a real monster?