A Monster Like Me

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 07 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

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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I read this book straight through. It's an intriguing story that everyone can relate to. We spend most of our lives trying to figure who we are and where we belong. I would recommend this to any Junior High aged girl or boy.

I received an ARC ebook from NetGalley for my honest opinion.
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A Monster Like Me is a great book with a strong message that everyone could benefit from hearing..  Sophie is a monster expert and with the help of her book on monsters can tell what specific monster other people are.  The relationships between the characters in this book are wonderful and made me want to keep reading.  I would recommend this book to anyone.
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Moving to a new town is scary enough. But what happens when you are a monster and cannot tell anyone? Sophie believes she was cursed as a baby by a witch and is now a monster. She hides her face behind her hair and her Big Book of Monsters that she carries everywhere with her. Her book helps her identify other monsters, both good and bad, around her. When she meets, Autumn, she finds herself a new friend, who also happens to be a fairy. They start an adventure to find a cure for the witch's curse on Sophie.

Wendy Swore does an excellent job of introducing hard topics, such as bullying, in such a way that readers are not scared off. The issues she tackles and writes about can be hard for some to read, even adults. It is hard to read how cruel kids and adults can be to each other when they are not the exact same as you. Sophie overcomes the bullies and blossoms throughout the book and finds the good. She is a delight to follow on a journey of self discovery, acceptance, hardship, and finding friends.
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*Review of eARC received from NetGalley*

I’ll be 100% honest - this book came onto my radar because of mean-spirited cancerous Twitter trolls trying to pressure the author and publisher to pull this book from publication. And since that kind of ridiculous nonsense pushes my berserk button, I immediately requested it from NetGalley before the metaphorical book burners could get it completely banned.

As is the case with many other books targeted by censorious free-expression haters, the beautiful message of love and acceptance and mercy is one that is sorely needed. I have to wonder if the YA Twitter mobs actually read the book, or if they just got whipped up into a frenzy by one, frankly, pathetic case of sour grapes. Actually reading the book would be too difficult - it’s much easier to be upset because the internet told you to be. Takes less effort and thought.

Sophie has a blood tumor that causes an unsightly mark on her face. People stare at her, many make rude comments, and her illness has inadvertently caused emotional stress in her family. She withdraws into herself and into a book called “The Big Book of Monsters,” one of those encyclopedic-type books that talks about supernatural creatures from fairy tales and folklore from all around the world. She also believes she was cursed by an evil witch to become a monster and the mark on her face is her “monster mark.”

She also assigns creature identities to people she meets - the boys bullying her in school are goblins, her new best friend is a fairy, her mother’s gentleman friend is Koschei the Deathless, the kindly neighbor lady with all kinds of knickknacks in her house is a good witch. Most of this is kept secret in her mind, just as a way to help her deal with her struggles. But then the secret gets out and things spiral out of Sophie’s control.

I think a lot of kids will relate to this book. I can certainly relate to imagining bullies at school as vengeful monsters (though mine were of the evil fae or jealous queen variety - mean girls never change, especially if social media is anything to go by). I firmly believe that turning to fiction and make-believe can help people cope with hard things. The problems for Sophie happened when too many people knew her secret and didn’t understand what it meant to her. But in the end, her imagination actually helped her learn something about herself and it also broke the “curse,” in a very real sense. I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s one of the more beautiful resolutions I’ve read in a long time.

And it came in a children’s book. Think about that for a moment.

All of the references to folklore are handled with respect and care. Especially the scene about the Native American princess that has the witch-hunters of the so-called “sensitivity brigade” bringing out  the torches and pitchforks. It refers to a story from a Native American tribe local to the town the book takes place in and it makes perfect sense that Sophie would be interested in local folklore, given that she’s already steeped in stories and legends from around the world. It’s a great addition to Sophie’s character arc and to excise it at the irrational behest of our world’s version of troublemaking goblins and gremlins would do the story a disservice.

I loved this book and would not hesitate to recommend it to kids and adults at the library I work for. I’d also like to nominate this (as well as others that have sadly been successfully removed from our literary repertoire in recent months) as a candidate for the ALA’s Banned Books List. Someone tried to stop me and other readers from enjoying this remarkable book and they deserve to be immortalized in the Annals of Idiots for Censorship.
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Love love love this book!

A Monster Like Me features Sophie’s first-person narrative as she navigates a world in which she looks like a monster (in her opinion) and other people act like them whilst looking human.

She sees witches, fairies, goblins and more everywhere she looks and constantly muddles fact with fantasy as she struggles to understand a world in which she is ostracised and bullied for her appearance and her mum seems fixated on ‘fixing’ her.

This is a beautiful, poignant and very clever exploration of what it is to spend your childhood on the outside looking in, and how coping strategies can mutate into something more harmful than helpful given time and pressure. I cried actual tears more than once, not just at Sophie’s struggles, but those of her friends and family.

The book isn’t just a tear-jerker though. It captures the highs and lows of childhood imagination: fairytale dens and daring quests to gather magical items, kind adults and best friends, all have equal importance with the health issues and bullies of the real world.

I would recommend this to anyone 8+ who loves a good story that tackles serious issues in an entertaining way.

You’d think monsters would have their own grocery store, but they don’t. They walk around with a cart the same as regular people and keep the monster part hidden inside where no one can see it. Mom’s grocery cart squeaks with every step like an elf getting squished, but Mom’s not a monster–not that I can tell anyway.

– Wendy S. Swore, A Monster Like Me

Review by Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows blog
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This was such a wonderful story about acceptance and inclusion.  It should be a must read for any middle schoolers.  Sophie is an engaging character who has many hardships to overcome.  But with a new friendship and some loving adults she is able to overcome her fear and accept herself.

I really liked Sophie, she has a great imagination and at times I wasn’t even sure what was real and what was imagination.  Sophie’s inner dialogue was also fun to read.  She was very insightful at times, especially when she was identifying the different monsters in her life.  She had a good relationship with her mom too, which was nice to see.  I also enjoyed watching her developing friendship with Autumn.

Autumn was also a great character.  She was so accepting of Sophie from the start, and Sophie’s blood tumor didn’t bother her at all.  She was able to see Sophie for who she was right from the start.  I also really liked Autumn’s grandmother, who I was hoping would have a bigger role, but that is ok.

Sophie’s mom was good too, but I wanted her to stick up for Sophie a bit more.  She didn’t deal with Sophie’s issues very well.  When things happened she tended to ignore them, or just remove Sophie from them.  They changed schools because of bullying, and that was her go to solution when it started again.  She also tended to want to hide Sophie when they were out in public.  I think Sophie would have been more accepting of herself if mom had been.  

I really liked the little snippets we got from Sophie’s favorite book, The Big Book of Monsters in between the chapters.  The offered up some interesting insights into monsters and included a few that I had never heard of.  They were also from all over the world and different cultures, not just your typical ones.  

Some of the bullying scenes were hard to take.  I always like to think that kids are not that cruel, even when I know they can be.  I also like to think that adults would not be that bad, but there is one scene where and adult makes a very cruel remark about Sophie’s blood tumor that just made me really mad.  I really wanted Sophie’s mom to say something, but she didn’t.  That was a lost opportunity to help Sophie accept herself.

Overall, an excellent book that I highly recommend you check out.
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