A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Monster is more concerned with providing narrative action than with scientific accuracy. The novel raises questions of what it means to be human. It also deals with transgender issues.
People have the ability to choose between good and evil, even in the most harrowing circumstances. Teamwork and bravery can defeat malevolence and brute force.
Positive Role Models
Shade Darby has been traumatized by her past and the loss of her mother, but she retains her ability to empathize with transgender teen Cruz and care deeply about her old flame, Malik. She's also willing to risk her life to protect humanity from the mutant monsters bent on destruction.
Violence & Scariness
Monster is full of grand-scale mayhem, in which battling behemoths kill many bystanders. The monsters themselves unleash terrible trauma on each other, but since they are largely invulnerable to whatever is thrown their way, the emotional impact is diminished.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Shade and Malik are former lovers, almost ready to rekindle their romance.
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The characters swear infrequently but use profanity while under stress: "hell," "damn," "bastard," "bitch," "s--t," and "bulls--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens gain mutant powers by ingesting ground-up meteorites.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Monster continues the sci-fi series began in Gone by Michael Grant (Front Lines). It features teens who transform into superheroes and giant monsters, thanks to an alien virus. There's plenty of large-scale violence that kills many innocent bystanders. Characters under stress use profanity: "hell," "damn," "bitch," "bastard," and "s--t." There's only a hint of sexual content and little alcohol/drug use.
Is It Any Good?
Offering more than just punch-ups between teen superheroes and giant monsters, this fast-paced sci-fi tale has an exuberant X-Men-meet-Godzilla vibe. Although not completely self-contained, Monster is a reasonable jumping-on point for the Gone series. The multidimensional cast of heroes and villains is suitably diverse, with cisgender, transgender, and lesbian characters at the fore.
Unfortunately, the climactic battle goes on a bit too long and does not resolve much of anything. Nevertheless, fans of the series are likely to enjoy this installment, as are readers seeking a new series of sci-fi thrillers.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.