Time to meet The Ghoul Next Door

Monster High: The Ghoul Next Door (Monster High series, Book 2) by Lisi Harrison; published by Poppy, an imprint of Little, Brown & Co., New York, 2011; 179 pages.

NOTE: This review is based on an ARC (advance reading copy) provided for free by the publisher.  The publication information is subject to change.  The book was released on April 5, 2011.

Barely a week has passed since Brett tore off the Bride of Frankenstein’s (or Frankie Stein’s) head at the school dance.  But a lifetime of change has begun to sweep through Salem, Oregon.  The Normies and RADs at Merston High School are about to co-mingle and life may never be the same.  RAD clique leader Cleo is about to have her dream come true; she will be featured in a Teen Vogue spread on her Egyptian couture jewelry line.  Like any obliging queen, she has included her three closest friends.  Her dream may turn into a nightmare when the cross-over couples, Brett and Frankie with Melody and Jackson, scheme to unmask the RADs and try to give peace a chance on the day of her shoot! Now the RADs face a crisis within their ranks while trying to co-exist with the Normies.  Will NUDI triumph or will HUNT?  And who will discover they aren’t Normies after all?  The saga continues from the first Monster High book and will overflow into book 3. You can read an excerpt:

I read an e-book pre-release copy of the book and was a little disappointed to find a hot link to a shopping site within its electronic pages.  But, this is a series that relies heavily on corporate sponsorship and cross-marketing.  Harrison takes a couple of jabs at the marketing aspect of the book with a wink and a smile.  That bothered me a bit in the first book in the series, but I’m a little more likely to look the other way this time.  Let me explain why.  The Ghoul Next Door is not a stand-alone title; reading the first book in the series is necessary to fall in step with the story immediately.  That’s a good thing.  This book is a natural for reluctant readers (girls, primarily) and getting reluctant readers hooked on a series is a wonderful way to turn them into voracious readers.  I would add this to a list of quick picks for reluctant readers (sorry for borrowing the phrase, YALSA).  Speaking of YALSA, Harrison’s series is listed on their “Monster Lit” wiki. I’d use the Monster Lit list to refer readers to similar titles as well as recommending another Poppy series, Joanna Philbin’s The Daughters.

As for the content, I enjoyed this story more than the first.  I understand that the character development was the purpose of the series introduction.  In The Ghoul Next Door, the high school experience is more fully developed and explored.  Although  most of the protagonists are RADs (monsters), they embody the clichéd cliques in every high school so readers will quickly relate to them.  For middle school and early high school students, this series is a natural.  You can find more information about the book and the author at the publisher’s website: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/teens_books_9780316099110.htm.

4P     4Q     Grade Level: 6-9

Cover Art: The series theme carries on: A leather cover with a skull appliqué.  This time, the skull has an asp on its head and fans of the series will recognize that Cleo must be at the center of the storyline.

From Reading List: ARC (advance reading copy)

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