Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.

Book Cover Image: Where There's a Wolf, There's A Way by Lisi HarrisonTitle: Monster High #03: Where There’s a Wolf, There’s a Way
Author: Lisi Harrison
ISBN: 9780316099196
No. of Pages: 256
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Comedy

“The frighteningly hip teenage children of the world’s most famous monsters have gathered together under one roof…to brave the horrors of high school!

Always overshadowed by her six brothers and her fab friends, Clawdeen Wolf plans to finally strut her stuff in the spotlight at her upcoming Sweet Sixteen bash. But after The Ghoul Next Door goes viral, it’s into the woods for the family Wolf. Clawdeen goes stir crazy lying low at her family’s B&B with her annoying brothers until Lala shows up to keep her company. But is the vamp flirting with Claude?!”

Thoughts: This is the third book in the Monster High series, and this time around, readers get to see the world from Clawdeen’s eyes. Picking up hours after the final scene in The Ghoul Next Door, Clawdeen and the entire Wolf pack is in hiding from ramifications from Brett’s video. On lockdown thanks to the overprotective Alpha males in her family, Deenie despairs of ever seeing her friends again, let alone hosting her Sassy Sixteen birthday bash. In true Monster High fashion, there are the requisite misunderstandings, tough realizations, shocking truths, and a fabulous ending.

There is no doubt that I adore this series. They are completely harmless and just good monster-y fun. What is not to love about a fashion-obsessed Frankenstein teenager who was just “born” but expected to know everything, a werewolf struggling to adapt to society’s obsession with hair removal, and a vegetarian vampire? Yes, it may be silly, and the fashion obsession does become a BIT much after a while. However, there is such a great message in these stories. It offsets the more inane aspects of the books.

It is because of these forward messages that I allow my eight-year-old daughter to read the books. She knows who and what they are thanks to the dolls and other merchandising that is so popular today and shares my love of monsters (for now anyway – we shall see if it lasts through her teen years). I can have frank discussions with her about the lack of realism when it comes to the haute couture mentioned throughout each novel. The relationship stuff is benign with nothing more than kissing. She sees worse in some movies or television shows, and I can use the books to discuss more meaningful relationships, showing the Steins’ deep love for each other and their daughter. More importantly, I can point to Frankie, Melody, Cleo, and Clawdeen as role models. They are not afraid to show the world who they truly are. Their differences and their acceptance of each other are a great lesson in diversity and cultural awareness. The tension between the monsters, the normies who support them, and the normies who want to run them out of town is a microcosm of the world at large. I can talk to my daughter about Cleo’s behavior and what about it has led to her unhappiness. Clawdeen is a great example about the importance of not hiding important thoughts from parents and that ever-present pull-and-tug between parents and their children regarding their independence. I can use the NUDIs and the RADs to discuss why it is important to stand up for your beliefs. For such short, goofy novels, they really do pack a punch.

Did Lisi Harrison really intend to put so many deep thoughts into these hilarious and yet simple novels? I may never know the answer to that. I do know that they make great teaching tools for some of life’s lessons. I also get to bond with my daughter over a fun series that I probably would have read anyway just because they are about monsters. After all, who doesn’t need a good fluff read every now and then?

Acknowledgments: Mine. All mine.

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