Sunday 12 February 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Laura Monster Crusher by Wesley King

Laura Monster Crusher
Author: Wesley King
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy

Book Description:
Lord of the Rings meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets The Duff in this funny, fast-paced tale of middle-school monsters, self-image, and, oh yeah, actual monsters that want to kill everyone.

Laura Ledwick is... well... large. The kids at school don't let her forget it, and call her by various names: Laura Largebottom, Laura Lardo, Lots of Laura--you get the idea. When Laura's family moves to the next town over before eighth grade, she expects more of the same. What she doesn't expect are the snake-like yellow eyes watching her from the forest. Or the mysterious rattling in her closet. Or finally making real friends for the first time. Or handsome uber-nerd Liam R. Kelp, who might just be the cutest boy to ever wear a Science Is Cool T-shirt. But when Laura finally discovers the source of the rattling, things take on a whole new level of weird. It turns out Laura has just been given the most important job in the world: Monster Crusher. Her role is simple: protect the earth from the horrors beneath their feet. Eighth grade is about to get a lot more interesting.


This story started off very well with a few laugh-out-loud moments and events and characters that are very relatable. Laura is a thirteen-year-old girl who's been bullied about her size her whole life. When her parents tell her they're moving to another town, she's excited to leave her depressing life behind, however, when they pull up to their new house, Laura's excitement dwindles away very quickly. It's not the beautiful house she had anticipated. Not to mention all the creepy things that start happening right from the get-go, like seeing the shadow of a figure watching her house and hearing strange noises coming from her closet. Worst of all, she learns that escaping her old life doesn't erase her problems as she encounters a new set of bullies, including the non-human kind.

I loved Laura's personality and the relationship she has with her brother, Tom. Laura's family is quite a quirky bunch, which I liked. They were all so different and unique in their own way. When it came to the fantasy elements and dealing with the Under Earth world, the story somewhat reminded me of Alice in Wonderland and Narnia. While I did enjoy the story, I found it to be very repetitive. After the introductory chapters, the scenes and the events that were taking place started to feel too identical. I lost interest in the scenes that took place at Laura's school as it was far too predictable. I skipped a few of these scenes. The fantasy element wasn't really prominant throughout the story. The focus seemed primarily on Laura and the relationship with her fellow pupils. We do get some more action and fight scenes about three quarters of the way into the book but I wanted to know more about Laura's monster crushing role than middle school gossip.

The danger of being a Monster Crusher is spoken about and seen somewhat in action in the book but given the prospect of the earth being overrun my monsters, I didn't feel the threat. While the story had a lot of suspense in the opening chapters, I don't feel it had enough tension to keep me to glued to the pages. I loved the beginning, lost interest during the middle, and engaged with the story again towards the ending. It was a good read, and I think the target audience will enjoy it.



Award: Silver
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Source: Review copy via Netgalley

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