Cover Image: A Monster Like Me

A Monster Like Me

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Member Reviews

The premise of the book is great and the author really delivers. Great read. Highly recommended.                       .
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I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I liked this book. The characters were fun and it was a good story.
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"Sophie is a monster expert. Thanks to her Big Book of Monsters and her vivid imagination, Sophie can identify the monsters in her school and neighborhood. Clearly, the bullies are trolls and goblins."

-This was a great book! The idea of a little girl believing everyone around her is monsters and keeping a book of them so she can identify and protect herself? Amazing story about a little girl who has a birthmark on her face. This book would be great to share with your little ones.
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*thank you to Netgalley, Wendy S. Swore and Shadow Mountain Publishing for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

4 stars.

I really quite liked this. I was definitely in the mood for a middle grade novel and this filled that need. The story was interesting and one that addresses an important issue, bullying. For that reason I feel this is also quite a relatable book. I would recommend this.
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I enjoyed the first person narrative and the integration of Sophie's favorite book -- The Big Book of Monsters. Being able to "walk in her footsteps" might give readers empathy. Good for fans of Wonder.
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Sophie has a hemangioma on her face and because of this she believes she was cursed by a witch to become a monster. She has a big book of monsters that she carries with her everywhere that helps her identify who else around her is a monster. Because of her hemangioma, Sophie is bullied at school and has a hard time making friends. Her one friend is Autumn, who she believes is a fairy. Sophie and Autumn go on a quest to collect magical objects to make an amulet. They believe this will help cure Sophie of her monster condition. 

This book took me a long time to read. I think it definitely could have been shorter. Sophie made me sad throughout the telling which made it difficult to want to keep reading. She truly thinks she is a monster because of how she looks and is stuck in this make believe world because of it. Those around her really do not help her get out of this either.
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I tried reading this but I couldn't get into the writing or story, I'm so sorry and I feel bad about this but its a dnf on my side.
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Sophie is 11 years old, and the writing will appeal to kids that age and even a little older. The idea of Sophie so fully believing in the idea of people being monsters, will be a little more hard to go along with, but the book has a cast of loving, supportive adults that - while not hogging the page time - make it clear that Sophie's way of dealing with the issues caused by her birthmark is not the healthiest way.  Strongly recommend for a younger audience.
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Sophie and her copy of 'The Big Book of Monsters' are inseparable. She carries it around everywhere. This book helps her see who is really a monster in disguise. In fact, she is a monster herself.
She uses this book to protect her and her mom from the monsters around them.  She believes she was cursed as a baby, and that's what made her into a monster. She is now on a mission with her best friend to break the curse and be normal, like everyone else.
Sophie looks different and has spent her life trying to hide the 'monster' part of her from everyone else. Over the course of the book, she realizes that it's not how someone looks but the choices they make that determine whether or not they are a monster. She decides to be herself and not hide the 'monster' part of her, and she learns what is really important.
Each chapter starts with an excerpt from 'The Big Book of Monsters,' at first these are descriptions of the creatures, but slowly the excerpts contain words of wisdom. One of my favorites is, "Like witches, humans have the power to choose. Would you help someone in need? Or laugh when an enemy falls? Remember, the way you treat others defines who you are. Is your heart black or white?" I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I think it would be a great story to read in a classroom, or out loud to your children. There are important lessons that can be learned from this book. It compares in it's writing to 'Wonder,' 'Mustaches for Maddie,' and 'Squint.' I think this story will resonate with a wide audience, regardless of age.
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This middle grade novel, inspired by the author's real life events, tackles acceptance, inclusion, and bullying with creativity and heart. Eleven year old Sophie uses her imagination to cope with the hemangioma (a benign tumor birthmark) on her face--what she calls her "monster mark." Though she tries to hide behind her hair, Sophie is frequently a victim of bullying and creates a world of monsters, some good and some evil.  As she searches for a cure with her new friend, Autumn, she meets various people that help Sophie to recognize her own talents as she finds a path of self-acceptance. 

Overall impression: A good addition to an upper elementary or middle school classroom library, but also a great read-aloud to discuss some of the themes in the book.

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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A Monster Like Me really captured what it's like to have a child's imagination. At one point, Sophie and Autumn were at the beach, and they imagined stone giants where others simply saw rocks. When they were underneath a willow tree, they believed they were battling a ferocious monster with webs and arms. It felt like an authentic portrayal of what children see when they look at the world. It's like they have a special lens when they're younger, and it was nice to be reminded of how magical even the most mundane items can be. Sophie has a talisman that could've easily been called junk, but it meant the world to her. It may have looked like mishmash to an adult, but every item she selected for it was special and unique.

Sophie's story also broke my heart. I can understand children teasing her about the mark on her face, but it really shocked me when adults were sometimes worse than their children. Something happens at the beginning of the book that felt totally unrealistic, and I made a note to say something about it in my review, but another blogger mentioned it was based on a real experience the author had. It still baffles me, because in my mind, adults should be responsible and kind, not verbally abusive and cruel. However, I know that there are some really rotten people in the world, so it shouldn't have been so surprising.

Despite my overall enjoyment of the book, I do have some quibbles regarding the story. One, I have no idea how old Sophie is supposed to be in this book. She can read, her mother also leaves her alone at the Farmer's Market (Sophie seems to know her way around), and she uses words my five-year-old doesn't know yet. Sophie still needs adult supervision when her mother goes on a date, but her mom left her home alone when she was pretending to be too sick to go to school. There was a lot of conflicting information that made it hard for me to place her age, and it's not specified anywhere within the story.

My second complaint would be the vocabulary. I believe this book was written for a younger audience, yet some of the words from Sophie's Big Book of Monsters were hard for me to pronounce. I had to Google a few of them to make sure I was reading them correctly (example: cireincròin), and there were a lot of different monsters and mythological creatures mentioned throughout the book. One of them was a constant in her life, and I still have no idea how she pronounced what she thought he was.

Speaking of the Big Book of Monsters, I loved the little excerpts at the beginning of each chapter. Sometimes Sophie's story would obviously tie into the reference, and other times it was a little harder to make the connection. After a few chapters, the excerpts started to take on a very motivational vibe. "Remember, dear reader, the truth these creatures will never understand: emotion is a powerful force, and while it is easy to use it to destroy, it is far nobler to build. Things once said, cannot be unsaid. Whether emotion-fueled rampages strike a city of millions or a single person’s heart, painful scars are left behind. And some scars are invisible to all except those who carry them."

As a whole, I really enjoyed this book. I think there were a lot of wonderful aspects, and the author gives you a lot to reflect on even as an adult. I wish Sophie's interactions with a counselor had been expanded on, but I'm happy that it was even mentioned. It seems unlikely that the counselor would have bought a gift to bribe Sophie, and the fact that she won the game seemed purely coincidental, but it was easy to overlook. At least her mom knew that her daughter needed to talk with someone that would be able to better understand what Sophie was thinking and feeling.

A Monster Like Me also shows what it's like to be an imperfect parent. Sophie's mother makes mistakes, but it's obvious she loves her daughter. She wants Sophie to have an easy life, and she doesn't want other people to bully or ridicule her child. I think her mother's reactions to other people added to Sophie's discomfort and embarrassment. Honestly, I didn't like her mother most of the time, because she saw Sophie's mark as something to be fixed, instead of loving her daughter with no reservations. I think if she'd been unbothered by other people's perceptions of Sophie, her daughter would have been more accepting of herself.

I tried to read this one to my five-year-old, but I don't think he's quite there yet. Although, I do think this will be an excellent book for children that can understand (and possibly relate to) the various concepts mentioned throughout the book. ISwore has written an incredibly impactful story that shows what's it like to be different, and how to accept and love those differences.

Originally posted at Do You Dog-ear? on May 20, 2019.
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Sophie finds herself in a new school miles away after she is brutally picked on by her former classmates for a facial hemangioma that developed after her birth and that she attributes to a curse. Believing she is a monster, she carries a book about monsters wherever she goes so she can identify them in others but also as a way to keep her distance from them, a perfect metaphor for the emotional wall she has built.
But when she finds herself a friend in a neighbor and her neighbor's granddaughter and her mother finds a friend in a motorcycle riding vet neither one knows how to move forward but also can't forget the past. 
Often touted as a book to read if you liked Wonder, I believe it stands solidly on its own. The conflict between 
Sophie and her friend, Sophie and her friend's mother, Sophie and her classmates, Sophie and her school, and Sophie and her mother felt as if Wendy Swore were implanted in the mind of a child in agonizing pain. 
Thank you Shadow Mountain Publishing and netgalley for allowing me to read it.
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The main character in this book is incredibly relatable, to children and adults alike. The book was moving and wonderful and full of heart.
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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.

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 were quite slow going and full of introspection, but I enjoyed the break in action just as much. It was a quick read and I finished it in one sitting.

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.
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Sophie knows all there is to know about other worldly creatures, from her new best friend being a fairy, and the nice witch down the street, to the goblin boy and his orc friend that makes her world horrid, to the fact that she herself  is a monster, cursed as a baby to be a monster with the big blob of a monster mark that takes up half her face.  This mark is what made her and her mom move to this new town this year, but maybe just maybe she has found a cure for the curse.

This is a awesome book of strength and diversity among children, one to have the strength to finally make a stand against those who are mean and the others to willing accept others for who they are on the inside not what they look like on the outside, even when pressured not to.  This book will no doubt keep the attention of all that reads it just to find out what happens to Sophie and her friends in the next chapter, than the next and the next, until it is well past your bedtime.  Children as well as adults will find this book in captivating so look for it in many book clubs to come.  These children can be found in any school in any town if we just look, maybe not to this extent but I would bet there is always one child bullied for something if not more, and I just hope they have a fairy friend to help them with their goblins and orcs like Sophie did.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The vivid imaginations of a little girl will draw you in and capture your heart.

I also love that this book is based on real events from the author's life. I appreciate her willingness to share not only her talent for writing, but her very tender feelings.

This book is PERFECT for a whole family to read-- together if possible.
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A heartfelt book that explores the line between fantasy and reality for imaginitive kids. Kids who enjoyed the adversity in Palacio's Wonder will love A Monster Like Me as a read-a-like!
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Sophie thinks she is a monster. She will do whatever it takes to hide this from her mom. She believes she was cursed as a baby when she developed a hemangioma on her face. Sophie is constantly bullied and hides behind her hair. She uses her "Big Book of Monsters" to help her identify the good people from the bad. Will Sophie ever be able to be human again? This is a great story about the difficulties growing up when you have a very prominent birthmark. The story provides a great lesson on judging someone based on who they are on the inside, not their appearance.
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I really enjoyed A Monster Like Me. It has a great message within it and would recommend it for anyone!
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What does it mean to be human?
'A human needs courage to do what’s right, even when it’s hard. Wisdom to know what’s right and wrong. Justice is important but only if it comes with mercy. And most of all, humans need love. We care for those we love, and hurt when they hurt, and are happy when they’re happy. It’s that togetherness that makes us all human'.'
Sophie was born a perfectly healthy baby but when she was two months old she got a hemangioma, a blood tumour, on her face. People often stare at her or try so hard not to stare, that she almost becomes invisible, and Sophie doesn’t know which is worse. Her dad left, her mum has just got a new job and now Sophie has to face going to a new school. Her only shield against this scary world is her book, an encyclopaedia of monsters from myths and fairy tales from all over the world. Sophie believes she is a monster herself. The perfect child her mother gave birth to was substituted with a monster and it’s only a matter of time Sophie’s mum and everybody else find out. Making friends is difficult when you are seen as different, so when Sophie meets Autumn, she can’t believe her luck, for the first time in her life, she has a best friend and feels accepted, understood and believed. They search for a magic cure to make Sophie human. Sophie needs a lot of courage to face her problems: bullies at school, her Mum’s new partner, and, above all, her fear of being judged and abandoned. 
Although some parts esp. in the middle are possibly too introspective and slow-moving, others are full of action and intense emotion. The ending is beautiful and there is a satisfying resolution to all the conflicts in the book.
I would definitely recommend this book for a middle-grade school library. Every child can find something to relate to in this kind and thoughtful book.
Thank you to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
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