In Monster Mayhem by Christopher Eliopoulos ($18.99, Dial Books for Young Readers) Zoe has never been like the other kids. At school she stays inside at recess, tinkering with robots. She finally finds a friend only to find out the girl was only playing with her because her mom asked her to invite Zoe along. At that point, Zoe decides she doesn’t need friends. She avoids kids her own age and instead spends her time inventing robots and watching monster movies alone.
But one day she finds a ring, puts it on and zaps a monster from her favourite kaiju movie into her neighbourhood. The monster wants to be her friend. Unfortunately, the sea of monsters that begin arriving doesn’t and in order to save her city, Zoe “needs to come up with a brilliant plan – and find a squad of heroes ready to help…”
While I certainly understood how Zoe felt when the girl she thought was her friend behaved badly, I thought her reaction was extreme and unlikely – would you really shy away from all children, from any sort of friendship, because a child disappointed you? I think the world would be a lonely place if that happened.
I also didn’t like how Zoe spoke to her only friend, an autonomous robot she created. She took advantage of him and treated him badly, worse than she was treated by the girl at the beginning of the book.
Otherwise, the graphic novel written for middle grade readers was a quick read with cute graphics. I particularly liked the triplets, including the bath part, which made me laugh, and the relationship between the parents, although I didn’t like how Zoe was neglected because of her siblings (and I would really hate to see that daycare bill. Three toddlers in daycare. Ouch).
There was a great lesson in Monster Mayhem and one that Zoe, with the help of her robots and monsters, finally learns.
A copy of this book was provided by Penguin Random House for an honest review. The opinions are my own.