Title- A Monster Like me
Author- Wendy Swore
Publisher- Shadow Mountain
Publication Date_ March 5 2019
Sophie is convinced she is a monster. Why else would she have such a huge mark covering half her face? The Doctor’s may call it a blood tumour, but she knows what it is. And thanks to her Big Book of Monsters, Sophie can identify all of the monsters in her life; from the bullies who are trolls and goblins, to the nice neighbour who is surely a witch and her new best friend who is definitely a fairy.
But there may be a cure, all she has to do is pretend to be human long enough to get it. Because it’s only a matter of time before her mom figures it out and leaves her, for no one wants to live with a monster.
I will admit to breaking down in tears at this book. The lesson is one of forgiveness of your own flaws and looking inside yourself to find the hero. It also has lessons about friendship and seeing past the obvious.
Sophie was born a normal baby but after a few months grew a haemangioma (blood tumour) on her face. This is a large red birthmark, raised and angry and looks more like scarring from a fire. (Do yourself a favour and DO NOT GOOGLE IMAGE it.) Because of this Sophie hides her face and herself away from the rest of the world.
Her safety blanket is a book called The Big Book of Monsters and Sophie has it memorised. In her isolation, her imagination runs wild and she believes that all of the monsters in her book are real and those monsters are everywhere.
She believes that the perfect child her mother gave birth to was stolen and that she is the replacement. She dreads the day when her mother finds out and leaves her.
If that weren’t heart-breaking enough, she is the new kid at her school and bullied by goblins and trolls.
Her only respite is her friendship with a fairy who promises to help her find a cure and turn her human.
Sophie’s internal monologue is beautiful as she struggles to explain her feelings with vivid imagery and humour. And Sophie is hilarious. Her fantastic imagination pulls you in and makes you fall in love with her.
There was this amazing sentence about slugs:
“My first week here, I went outside to grab the paper and the slimiest, grossest, giant snotglob squished right between my toes-all my toes, at the same time. It was like having the biggest booger on the planet barfed up between every toe.”Monster like Me. Wendy Swore.
It’s descriptive and disgusting and legitimately made me retch and laugh at the same time. I can see any kid on the planet loving that kind of visual.
I love the interplay between Sophie and her first friend and the explanation of how she slowly comes into herself, allowing her newfound friendship to make her blossom.
There are a few darker moments in the story which, as an adult, you can fully understand but which would be quite frightening to a child and these are explained beautifully.
And there were a few moments in the story that
I would highly recommend this book to anyone and, although I know it’s mainly for middle grade or pre-teen, I think it’s so well written it deserves to be out there for all ages.