Monster Town, Dakota Chase
Publisher: Prizm Books
Genre: LGBT YA, School Age, Mystery, Paranormal, Differences
Length: 67 Pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
When you’re born into a family of monsters, eventually something monstrous is bound to happen to you. At least, that’s what I hoped when I was a kid.
James Dire is not like his family or anyone else in the desert oasis town of Eden. He is no monster and he couldn’t be more unhappy about it –
The problem is that I’m not a monster. I don’t breathe fire, suck blood, or sprout fur and a tail during full moons. I don’t eat babies, trample cities, or carry screaming women off to my underwater lair. I’m about as dangerous and exotic as a box full of sand.
I’m more than aware of my disability I stick out like a hammered thumb in the family photos. You see, I’m the child that parents whisper about when they think I’m not listening.
Even more than that, because James is your ordinary human he is an outcast and feels the pressure and the lack of trust of the locals in a paranormal town. He accepts that he is ordinary and that he knows he is a suspect if anything goes wrong in town, just for being different.
8 foot tall fire-breathing Mayor of Eden. Gretal and Michael, high school sweethearts who died on their wedding day, became zombies and own the Nightshade Diner. And, of course, his own family of monsters – his brother Vlad, sisters Morticia and Evilena – and his name is… James?
Mostly, Eden is a quiet town, The witches and warlocks at the Dept. of Public Works have a repulsion spell and magic wards that keeps outsiders away from town. They work constantly to make sure any holes are dealt with. They have designated drivers who go to El Paso, the nearest town, if they need mail, deliveries, groceries.
Theo Howard is the son of the Chief of Police, he’s also a werewolf and gorgeous, according to James. James has serious Theo-dar, the type that can be dangerous for limbs when using garden equipment and Theo jogs by in shorts. One day, while James is on the trail of Missy’s Lawson’s cloisonne vase being broken for a story in the East Eden High Tribune, Theo tells him that Eloise Maple has disappeared. When the boys speak to Marla, Eloise’s ten year old sister, she tells them that a man who is just like James, but an outsider, has taken her sister. The adults are too busy to listen to a ten year old and Theo’s dad thinks that it is a figment of Marla’s stressed out mind. They are more keen to find James accountable. Why not? He is the local “ordinary boy” he is suspicious simply for being different to everyone else in Eden. Luckily for him, Missy gives him his much needed alibi that he was in fact in her shop at the time of Eloise’s disappearance. But she does it more out of her anger at Len breaking her vase than caring about James, she thinks he looks suspicious too.
Given the information they get from Marla, Theo and James decide to find Eloise. If the adults won’t listen then they will put their heads together and see of they can locate her themselves. This could make a great scoop for the Tribune and James gets to work alongside the very cute Theo –
“…”That’s brilliant!” Theo grinned and slung his arm around my shoulder, giving me a tight, one-armed, bro-hug.
Everywhere Theo’s body touched mine tingled, and parts of me that should keep their opinions to themselves woke up and demanded to be heard.
This is a nice read. It has a mystery, paranormals, and a good message at heart – it isn’t okay to be prejudice and bigoted. Life is full of differences and we should embrace them – colour, race, religion, beliefs, sexual orientation….. I wanted to tell James to pick himself up and to stop accepting that he was ordinary and to embrace his difference, but it can be hard when you hear it enough. It can take someone coming along who believes in you to give you a push in the right direction –
“He was ordinary, like me. It’s okay, Theo. I’m used to it.”
To my amazement, he shook his head and frowned at me. “I’m tired of hearing you say that. You aren’t ordinary. You’re unique. You’re different from everyone else in town, and that makes you special.”
The way the book ended things were wrapped up, but it could so easily be a series and I for one would like to read more, particularly how the author leaves us with an idea that sounds great. I would like to know about James’ mother and father. More about Theo and his family. More about James and Theo.
This is a really nice age appropriate – fourteen years and up – LGBT YA book. There is no romance as such, but there was a building of a great friendship with a hint of more between James and Theo. The overall message is a good one – embrace difference, do not be bigoted, believe in yourself, stand up for someone else. It was well handled and the characters were nice. A solid 4 star read.