book review

Laura Monster Crusher by Wesley King

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Release Date: April 04, 2017

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.

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*ARC courtesy of  NetGalley. Thank you for making this available for an honest review!

I’m still high from reading Laura Monster Crusher. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of middle-grade and children’s book and I got to say this one is certainly one of the best I’ve read.

Laura Ledwick is a 13-year-old girl, eight-grader and heavier, also taller, than most girls her age. And because of that, she’s been the subject of bullying at her school. She’s hoping that would change, though, since her family is about to move in a new town. New house, new school, means a fresh start. Maybe things will be different in Riverfield. But looking at their new house now, Laura is doubtful. It looks like a house from a horror movie. And not only that, she saw a strange man’s shadowy figure and yellow snake-like eyes in the woods surrounding the town. And it looks like they are watching her! Add to that the rattling sound on her walk-in closet every night. And when she think things can’t get worst, bullies exist in Riverfield, too, and as she predicted, they see her as a target. But at least, now, she has friends at her new school, she’s part of the unpopular crowd. But things were about to get weirder in Laura’s life. The rattling in the closet didn’t stop and when she investigate, she was transported (through an elevator) in a new world, the Under Earth and get the surprise of a lifetime. She is now a Monster Crusher! Apparently, unknown to the humans, there is a world under earth (hence Under Earth) and is being overrun by monster who wants to rule it and so is the human world. That is why they need Monster Crusher to defeat those monsters (giant spiders, trolls, goblins, imps – you get the gist) and save both worlds. But how can a girl like Laura do that when she can’t even defend herself against the bullies in her world? Surely, everything is a big mistake.

I so love Laura Monster Crusher! For a fantasy middle-grade book, it is very much well-written and the plot is very interesting. What is not in fighting off monsters, right? I didn’t expect much from this book and was surprised by how much I love it. Why? Because, well, Laura as the main character rocks. She’s smart, kind, funny and dotes on her blind 9-year-old brother, Tom (whom I adore, too!). Of course, she has her down moments because of the bullying but her determination to not let it consume her is something. I like how as a character, Laura develops gradually. From being bullied to standing up for herself and her friends, and even her Monster Crusher training, she didn’t get better immediately. She worked very hard to get her title. And even then, it’s not perfect. But she has the courage, the strength, the sharp mind and the heart to be one of the Monster Crusher. From being awkward and uncertain she became a self-assured girl, no matter her size is. I can’t help rooting for her, I was so invested in her character.        

Tom is also one of the characters that’s really adorable. For a blind kid, he sure is optimistic and radiating with positive vibes. You just got to love when he comments on someone’s appearance, he’s a funny one. Even Laura’s parents are pretty cool and sometimes chuckle-worthy. Her family is sure a delight to read.

There are few surprises that you won’t expect and it adds to the good story. Of course, there’s also the monster crushing. There’s not a lot of action going on, though. Not until the last part. Since, Laura has to deal with two worlds and have to deal not only with monsters but also with the bullies. And also, she spent most of her time in training and learning about monsters. So, basically, it was more of an introduction for Laura and the Under Earth and the monsters. So, maybe this is part of a series and can expect more monster crushing.

So, overall, Laura Monster Crusher is a fun read. It may be a fantasy/adventure book but it also deals with Laura’s issues and battles in everyday life. Kids, teens (and adults, too!) can learn a thing or two about self-esteem and loving one’s self. I’m pretty sure readers of all ages will enjoy it.  

Don’t forget to grab a copy. Enjoy reading!

RATING: 5/5

5hearts

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(*Photos and synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Purchase it on Amazon.com: Laura Monster Crusher

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