Cover Image: Cookie Monsters

Cookie Monsters

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Cookie Monsters follows the story of Brooklyn, a 12-year old girl who wants nothing more than to win a cookie-selling competition at her school in honor of her recently-deceased mother. When a new rich girl named Piper moves into town, flaunting her unlimited resources while stealing Brooklyn’s customers, Brooklyn—still reeling from her mother’s death—is forced to reevaluate whether the competition is worth all the pain and stress.

As a book primarily targeted to middle schoolers, Cookie Monsters is invaluable in teaching kids the importance of self advocacy and mental health. The book is very pro-therapy, something that I think more books should really start picking up. Throughout the novel, Brooklyn is struggling to balance the pressure of winning her school’s competition with the overwhelming grief she feels following her mother’s death. One thing Cookie Monsters does extremely well was portraying Brooklyn’s friend group as supportive, understanding, gentle, and accommodating. These girls never failed to have each other’s backs when times got rough, and there were several times where I found myself envious of their friendship. They truly were “squad goals”.

There is a really important lesson engrained in Cookie Monsters about learning what truly matters to you and fighting for it. All of the girls featured in the book learn the importance of open communication, particularly when it comes to communicating your passions and personal needs to parental figures. Brooklyn did a beautiful job learning, and adapting, self-care methods from her therapist and passing these messages to the people around her who were struggling with similar issues.

The only pushback I felt while reading this was that for a good amount of the book, it felt like it was very anti-rich. I definitely understand that sentiment, especially as we see people being exploited every day in service of the upper class, but I was worried that the book was going to end up teaching kids the lesson that all well-off people are irredeemable. Thankfully, the plot eventually took a turn that steered it away from that lesson, leaving me overall very satisfied with how Brooklyn’s story was told.
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This is an inclusive, therapy-positive story about grief, friendship, and cookies. And the thrills of competition, even when it's not going the way you'd like. A really good pick for the kiddos in your life!
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It was great to get into this book after reading a heavier one! I was never in the Girl Scouts so reading about Brooklyn trying to be the number one salesperson in Santa Monica now that her biggest competition has graduated was just what I needed. Though this is geared towards a younger audience, I loved how the author talked about loss, grief and mental health. She handled it beautifully. Described clearly and without stigma, I feel like she normalized such topics in a helpful manner. And not just for young readers; adults can benefit as well! 

Favorite lines: 
✨ “It’s okay to be scared, you know. Talking about your feelings isn’t always easy. But I’m here to help with that. And whatever it is that’s challenging for you, it’s my job to help you get through it.”
✨ (Betty Jean)“When you started this thing, you were afraid of talking to people you didn’t know, you were scared of putting yourself out there.” 
(Brooklyn)“That’s because Mom wasn’t here to help me.” 
(Betty Jean)“But you used everything you’ve learned from her and put it all into being the best version of yourself—and she’s a big part of that.” ~immediate tears 😭~
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From the cover and the synopsis you might think that this book was a fun read, but it was not, and that surprised me. This book talks about grief in children, and how hard it is for them to lose a loved one—especially a parent—at such a young age. In the Author’s Note section, Kendrick wrote a "letter" for kids who might experience similar things to Brooklyn. She encourages them to keep strong in life.

This book doesn’t only talk about grief, but there are also topics about psychological issues—such as anxiety—that are represented by Brooklyn’s friends.
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Rep: BIPOC, Mental Illness. 


Cookie Monsters had fantastic characters to me. Brooklyn had been through a lot in the last year, and she was just trying to do well in the cookie-selling competition in memory of her mother. Piper Parker was the antagonist, and you didn’t know much about her story until late in the book, but she was an interesting character for me as well. Brooklyn had her squad of friends who sold cookies with her, and they were all a lot of fun to read about because they each had their own interests that made them unique. Brooklyn’s grandmother and her father were great supporting characters, and I loved seeing them pop up throughout the story. 


The story of Cookie Monsters was more than just characters selling cookies. For me, it was about finding yourself and embracing who you are as a person. I loved how hard Brooklyn worked to sell cookies, she was doing it for her mom, but she was also doing it for herself because she knew that she could do it and wanted to prove to herself that she could sell cookies. Over the course of the story, Brooklyn’s confidence grew, and by the end of the book, I was so proud of her. Cookie Monsters was also a story of mental health and asking for help from friends and family when you need it. 


Even with Middle-Grade Novels, writing still plays a big part in the story. Erika J Kendrick is a fantastic writer who wrote Cookie Monsters with a lot of heart.  During the light light-hearted scenes in the novel, as a reader, I was having fun, and laughing because the characters were having fun, and enjoying the company of each other. This novel had some very intense and heavy scenes as well, and during these scenes, there was a tonal shift, and you could tell that the characters were having a big moment as well. 


Brooklyn had her squad, and they were all so sweet. Each girl really cared about Brooklyn, and they were always there to support her when she needed it. Each girl in the squad had their own things were dealing with, and with the help of her friends, they wear able to come out stronger on the other side. Brooklyn was a cheerleader, and I loved seeing Magic and the Honeybees in this book as well.  


I loved this novel a lot. I had a lot of fun reading it, and it was the perfect mixture of a fun story and a heartwarming story. Anyone who likes Middle-Grade novels should check out this one.
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I love a Middle Grade which diverse and not afraid of discussing issues like grief and anxiety.  For me Cookie Monsters has it all by the bucket load.

Our main character is Brooklyn Ace who life has changed dramatically and now she finds herself with the help of her friends trying to be seller of Valentine World Scout Cookies for her region and all antics ensues.  It is just not about cookies it shows the reader what a group can do if they put their minds to it.

I loved that Brooklyn's friends had strong characters but also had their own side stories which really gave the story that extra something.

There were some great messages in the story and I think Erika handled how grief can make anxiety twice as bad and that it was not a sign of weakness to  get help.  For all these reasons I am giving Cookie Monsters 4 stars.
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Brooklyn Ace is a scout who is ready to take the cookie-selling world by storm. This year she’s ready to be top seller, not only to earn the top prize, but also to honor the memory of her mother who was #1 cookie supporter. What Brooklyn doesn’t expect is Piper Parker, who is ready to take drastic measures to crush the cookie competition. Brooklyn and her cookie crew have to get creative to compete with Piper!

This book is intended for a middle grade audience and is ideal for ages 9-12. One thing I really liked about this book is that the annual cookie sale competition took the spotlight at the school. Although there were still references to sports, it was nice to see another activity garnering excitement from staff and students. Besides her cookie sales drama, Brooklyn faces other challenges related to grief and anxiety and I feel that the author does an excellent job with addressing how Brooklyn manages her mental health. I really enjoyed the way Brooklyn’s relationships were portrayed in this book. She has close-knit relationships with her father and grandmother and is fortunate to have an amazingly supportive group of friends. I would absolutely recommend this book to middle grade readers!
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Within its exciting cookie sales campaign plot, Cookie Monsters also delivers a warm and wonderful story of recovery after the loss of a loved one.

Cookie Monsters is a warm and poignant story about a twelve-year-old’s struggle with grief and its toll on her mental well-being, as well as an exciting and tense battle to sell the most cookies. Brooklyn is cool, popular, wholesome, and very much a regular pre-teen. From the outside, she appears to be coping well with her mother’s death but inside, she is drowning in pent-up emotions. She is surrounded by a supportive circle of girlfriends and has a loving father and grandmother at home, who are also dealing with their own grief. But as the results of Brooklyn’s loss visibly begin to affect her ability to function, she reaches out and accepts professional help and makes progress on dealing with her feelings. The story also reveals that her friends are dealing with their own difficulties, and Brooklyn is able to share her experiences and help get them on a path to communicating their needs with their own families.

The story is also about a very competitive race to sell the most cookies. Brooklyn’s nemesis, Piper Parker, pulls a couple of rabbits out of her hat, using her father’s business resources and wealth and promising incentives (bribes) to their fellow students to buy her cookies rather than Brooklyn’s. Although Brooklyn cries foul at all of Piper’s strategies, and some were definitely shady moves, frankly, Piper just had a better sales plan and executed it better than Brooklyn did (which Brooklyn slowly comes to recognize.)

Brooklyn’s scout squad is a wonderful mix of different personalities, each with their own strengths that they bring to their friendship and the campaign. Young readers will surely relate to one or more of these great characters and the individual issues they are facing in their lives. I enjoyed this group of girls so much.

The writing and pace of the story are absolutely flawless. I was completely drawn into the story and emotionally invested; I teared up a couple of times while reading, especially when she was making a breakthrough with her therapist. I know I’ll be thinking about Brooklyn’s tale for quite a while; I was that affected. Cookie Monsters would make an excellent read-aloud selection. 

With its important messages nestled within an exciting cookie campaign plot, I recommend COOKIE MONSTERS to young readers who have experienced their own loss of someone close to them.
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Disclaimer: I received this e-arc and finished copy from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Cookie Monsters

Author: Erika J. Kendrick

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: Black MC, Black characters, POC characters

Recommended For...: middle grade readers, contemporary, girl scouts, competition, grief, death, anxiety attacks

Publication Date: January 17, 2023

Genre: MG Contemporary

Age Relevance: 10+ (parental death, cancer, grief, religion, religious trauma, bullying, racism, anxiety attacks, vomit gore)

Explanation of Above: There are mentions of parental death having just happened due to cancer and grief is shown throughout the book with our MC but also other characters. There are a couple of passages regarding the Christian religion and religious trauma, specifically the MC of our story is constantly asking in those passages why God  took her mother away and what she did to upset God. There are some scenes with some bullying. There is one scene showing some racism in the book, specifically in which our MC is trying to go door-to-door to ask people to purchase cookies and one of the neighbors threatens to call the cops on her. There are a couple of anxiety attacks shown in the book. There is vomiting mentioned once in the book.

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 320

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Brooklyn Ace is ready to take the Valentine World Scouts by storm and build her own cookie empire. She nearly won the top cookie selling spot last year and is determined to make her mom—who recently passed away—proud by coming in first this time around. With her fabulous best friends by her side, Brooklyn knows she’ll become Santa Monica’s District Cookie Queen. The crown is practically in the bag. 
Then Piper Parker arrives. 
Piper has a rich dad, a fancy hotel, and a drive to steal the cookie crown right off Brooklyn’s head. Before long, most of the seventh grade is under Piper’s spell. But Brooklyn is in it to win the biggest cookie war the school has ever seen. With the help of her cookie squad, her rockstar grandmother, her super cool therapist, and a lot of self-love and inner growth, maybe—just maybe—Brooklyn can end up a winner after all.

Review: I really liked this read! The book revolves around a girl scout-like competition at a school and our main character’s desire to beat the new student who is swiftly becoming a top cookie seller, all in the name of her late mother whose passion was to help our MC with this cookie competition in years past. The book is a tear jerker and full of great moments where anxiety, religious trauma, and grief are shown and explained. I loved that the book included a therapist character because, unfortunately, therapy is not always an option for everyone, even young children. The book did so well to explain methods of coping and how to handle great anxious moments. I also really liked that the book had a girl scout plot to it. I loved my scout days and this became an instant fave for that fact alone. The book also included period talk a little bit, which I also really loved and love seeing more and more in middle grade novels. The book did excellent with the character development of most characters and the world building was good as well.

The only issue I had with the book is that it felt a little too rushed at the end for me and there were some moments that the pacing was a bit too fast in my opinion. And while I loved that the character writing was a little ambiguous in regards to the characters ethnicities, I was so confused by which girl on the cover was the main character for a little bit. There is one scene where the therapist character compliments our MC on her rainbow shoes, which the blonde character on the cover has… but the MC is described as looking at the rainbow hair inserts and having cornrows, so I know the MC is the girl with the pastel rainbow hair on the cover. Some of the details made me a little confused. I know you shouldn’t completely rely on the cover, but I think that was a little oversight on the cover designers part OR I misread some passages.

Verdict: It was so good! Highly recommend!
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I think my daughter would love it as well. It was a very sweet book about loss, family, and friendship that is relatable to all ages. Sometimes you want to win, but it ends up being for the wrong reasons and sometimes you don't know what others are going through and it can be life-changing to just support those around you and show compassion. I think my favorite part was the normalization of therapy, mental health, and self-discovery that runs throughout the book which was done beautifully.
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This was a cute middle grade read! I absolutely love the cover as well. Mental health and grief are not easy topics but this book handled those topics well, especially for a middle grade book. I wasn't a girl scout but this book definitely made me feel like I missed out, haha.
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As a former Girl Scout, I absolutely loved the cookie sales! Brookie and her friends went above and beyond to sell those cookies and I'm forever impressed. I also loved the messages on mental health and dealing with grief. This book tackles such big subjects in ways that felt approachable for younger readers, and will probably be very helpful for kids going through similar things.
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