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The Monster Variations

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  • Posted January 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Breia "The Brain" Brickey for

    The story begins in the present with James, who on his way out of town runs into Reggie. The story then switches to the year when they were twelve.

    Most of what you read will be from this year, when one of their friends is hit by someone in a silver truck, causing him to lose his arm. About two months later, another boy is hit and killed by what everyone suspects is the same truck. This leads the parents and the town to enact a curfew.

    Seen through the eyes of 12-year-old boys, this story was very riveting. I enjoyed watching the story unfold. The story is not a hard read but it may not be something you want younger kids to read. I would say that they should be 12 and up.

    THE MONSTER VARIATIONS was a fast and enjoyable read that reminds me a little of the movie Stand By Me.

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  • Posted August 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not scary, but definitely a good read

    Ok, so first of all, this book sells itself the completely wrong way. I understand that there are some potentially interesting angles that can create buzz amongst readers if you take the 'boys are mysteriously' dying pieces and blow them out of proportion. Given the back cover, I was truly expecting I Know What You Did Last Summer, or Scream, but what I got was more like Hearts In Atlantis, and even that movie was scarier than this book. For those of you looking for Goosebumps, this is not your book.

    However, in my opinion, the text is much better. I wasn't looking forward to a YA book version of a bad horror flick, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that this novel isn't anything at all like that. It's a story about growing up, making mistakes, and working through difficult circumstances given the various pressures around you. Kraus's narrative voice is perfect for the three main characters. Each is unique and each has a different home life that causes tension and struggles that arise as a result.

    Honestly, I love coming of age novels because they hearken to a simpler time in all of us when we're exploring everything life is beginning to offer as we awaken into our teenage selves-weird hormones, friendships forming and dissolving, and the realization that our parents are normal people with problems of their own. I don't think there are enough good books like this one, and I recommend this to boys, ages 10 - 13.

    -Lindsey Miller,

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