As a fan of Alysa’s “The Verdigris Pawn”, her new middle grade book BETWEEN MONSTERS AND MARVELS was one I had been eagerly awaiting. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC!
When I read MG books, I always think back to my own days as a kid, often reading under the covers past bedtime with a flashlight. BETWEEN MONSTERS AND MARVELS is most definitely a book kid-Barb would have not been able to put down.
Dare Coates is an awful girl. She’s been told that her whole life and she believes it. But Dare is so much more than what she, and everyone else thinks she is. Dare is wise and inquisitive and utterly fearless. One of my favorite quotes about Dare is:
“She was happy to be a thornbush among the lilies for even the sharpest thorns serve a purpose.”
After tragedy strikes and Dare is sent away from her isolated island home to live with a distant relative in a gritty city on the mainland, Dare discovers the stories she’s been told all her life about monsters may not be precisely true. Beyond Dare’s quest to uncover the truth about the monsters, giving the reader ample pages of action, mystery, magic, and creepy moments, this book also tackles deeper themes including grief, societal inequalities, and corruption. I think it’s important for young readers to delve into stories that show a MG protagonist questioning the actual truth of what has been considered “known” history.
One of my absolute favorite things about Alysa Wishingrad’s writing is her ability to completely command my attention with details that immerse me into the story and make me not want to leave. Her vivid descriptions of the island, Dare’s time on the ship, the city, and especially the theater centered me into Dare’s world. I also love that Dare finds friendship in unexpected places and how she learns that maybe she doesn’t have to always go it alone. That’s an important message for any age of reader.
I highly recommend BETWEEN MONSTERS AND MARVELS for middle grade readers, teens, and adults because there is something there for every age. It’s a beautifully written book and I’d love to read a sequel because I wasn’t ready to leave Dare and her world when I hit the last page.
You can find out more about BETWEEN MONSTERS AND MARVELS at Alysa Wishingrad’s website. Pop over and visit her there and be sure to check out “The Verdigris Pawn” as well, it’s a fantastic middle grade read you don’t want to miss.