Making Friends With Monsters

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Pub Date 04 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 11 May 2023
Pinkus Books, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Titles

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Why does everything have to be so complicated? Why? Monsters! That’s why! They stick their scungy little noses into everything.

Twelve-year-old Sam learns this lesson the hard way. His fact-finding mission about Monsters starts off with the best of intensions. He just wants to help his older brother, Ben. After a terrible accident awakens his own Monster, Sam’s behaviour starts causing problems with everyone, including the girl he loves. He discovers the family secret that caused Ben’s downward spiral and realizes that someone else also has a Monster. And the hideous beast did something really bad.

If Sam is to get through this mess, he needs to find a way to make friends with his Monster before the ravenous beast turns around and swallows him whole.

Themes include: Mental health, suicide, and family dysfunction.

Why does everything have to be so complicated? Why? Monsters! That’s why! They stick their scungy little noses into everything.

Twelve-year-old Sam learns this lesson the hard way. His fact-finding...

A Note From the Publisher

HC - 9780999189177
eBook - 9780999189191

HC - 9780999189177
eBook - 9780999189191

Advance Praise

“An urgent, unflinching YA novel about the “monsters” of depression and family dysfunction.”

—Booklife Editor’s Pick

“Equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful. . . . The monster motif is ingenious.”

—Foreword Reviews 5 Stars

“Utterly engaging and rewarding.”

—Kirkus Reviews Starred

“Sam is a masterful narrator, insightful and un-selfconscious. Some lines impress with their visual simplicity, others with their wit.”

—IndieReader 5 Stars

“. . .a compelling novel that is gripping from beginning to end. . . . Highly recommended.”

—Midwest Book Reviews

“A wonderful, timely & ingenious novel depicting mental health issues & family dynamics, metaphorically highlighted in the guise of “Monsters” residing and needing to be “tamed” in all of us.”

—Luis Arabit, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy San Jose State University

“A spectacular look into the mental woes that today's adolescents face on a daily basis.”

—Thomas O’Flaherty, Studio Teacher

“An amazing book that everyone can benefit from.”

—Ginny Null, R.S. Kellis High School Library

“This book can make a real difference in someone’s life.” —Sarah Katin, Writer/Executive Producer

“A powerful book with a compelling message.”

—Goodreads Reviewer

“An urgent, unflinching YA novel about the “monsters” of depression and family dysfunction.”

—Booklife Editor’s Pick

“Equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful. . . . The monster motif is ingenious.”


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9780999189184
PRICE $15.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 39 members

Featured Reviews

Making Friends with Monsters is active and inviting prose, and a book I would gladly share with my students. I love the way the author uses the text as a space for dealing with real-life questions with thoughtfulness.

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The cover of this book and its title immediately pulled me in and then I was sold on requesting an ARC when I read the description. Whilst the target audience for this book is Young Adult, I think it is equally valuable for adults, parents, teachers etc to read also to understand the challenges facing today’s adolescence with regards to mental health. I thought portraying the mental state as ‘monsters’, characters almost, was a really clever way of giving meaning to certain struggles. I will be recommending this book to friends and family.

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Themes include Mental health, suicide, and family dysfunction.
YA novel about the “monsters” of depression and family dysfunction. Sam, a 12-year-old is the narrator of the book. parts are just utterly heartbreaking and parts that will show Sam as the funny boy he was, The monster of depression and family dysfunction. Every young adult could learn and see how Sam tries to change the monsters in his own world. Such a special read.

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I feel the helplessness of the characters and it shouldn’t hurt this much! I really hope no one gets to experience such hard times because of a person we all care about becomes someone we hardly know.

The story is quite realistic and the characters so damn convincing! It is so well written!

This is the story about a twelve year old whose accident makes his “monsters” wake up. His family is struggling with a secret regarding his brother Ben.

It’s the writing that impresses me the most. Each character stands out and they are as real as it gets. Each chapter analyses our dark side and the ranges of emotions we experience. I say again, I am quite impressed.

I love the parents. They are not the usual fictional parents who are either too interested/ know it all or not that interested or barely present. They are just like our own not so perfect parents who are trying their best but feel too helpless when their kids grow up.

The writing is mesmerising if I have to explain it in one word. The book is a great representation of mental health conditions and family dysfunction.

A must read recommendation.

Thank you, Pinkus Books, for the advance reading copy.

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4.5 stars.. the characters were very relatable to me. As someone who comes from a dyfunctional family, I was able to connect with some of the characters and the monsters they had. I caught myself with tears in my eyes while reading through it and I was unable to put my kindle down.
Touching story that'll stay with you. I thought it would end with something super depressing but thankfully, things did turn around.

The realization that everyone has monsters isn't new to me. I have always spoke on this as I learned it in my middle/high school years... everyone copes with their "monsters" differently. You can see the many ways different people deal with their issues within this book. Some handle there's a lot better than others. & I think that's the biggest takeaway in this book. We all have monsters, some just need help with being friends with theirs.

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OK, I don't even know where to start because WHAT A BOOK. I still haven't thought for what it was like to read this book. It is a book that definitely needs to be processed. I want to start by thanking NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read the ARC. The book comes out on April 4th and if I were you, will write down the date to read this book as soon as possible ;)

At first I thought it was going to be a fantasy book because it talked about making friends with monsters. But it's actually a young adult's book about mental health and family. I am very sure that it is a book that everyone should read and that I hope will soon be translated into more languages ​​because it deserves to be read more.

What I liked the most was the reference that the protagonist makes about monsters. He calling them that part of one that is not very pretty and that hurts others, and obviously oneself. I also loved all the analysis he did from this and how he closed it, both the topic and the book.

The topic of mental health and its importance was dealt with very well. In addition, there is a dysfunctional family and you can see all this reflected in each member, as in characters unfamiliar to the protagonist. He leaves a very nice and good teaching and leaves you recalculating too much. And, of course, the whole book makes you cry because of the things that are happening. But every word of this book is worth it, which is also super short and light to read.

It is a hard book and it has its TW in the synopsis, but it should not be taken lightly because it is very hard to read. Without further ado, do yourself a favor and read this great book.

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WOW this book was fantastic ❤️
The way @SLRostirolla wrote Sam’s monster was just incredible.
This book is going to help so many people understand mental health and what it’s like to live with monsters
This book will stay with me for a long time ❤️💜💚💛💙

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I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started reading this novel. And at the beginning, it was somewhat depressing. But as I continued reading, it became clear that there was a message behind the story. A message that would evoke deep and moving images in my mind.

Samuel Nolen is seeing and feeling the effects of an unexpected six-year drought. As a sheepherding family, the drought has caused undue hardship for everyone. The family have had to drastically cut back on water usage and they were forced to sell their sheep stock at a loss. Even toilet flushing became a luxury.

As bare necessities became luxuries, and the Nolen family struggles to make ends meet, each of them begin to crumble under the enormous stress. The result is a dysfunctional family desperately in need of rescue.

Making Friends With Monsters is a thought provoking novel that brings to the forefront life issues many of us have encountered or experienced at one point or another. It is not an easy read due to the subject matter. But the messages within it needs to be front and center when difficult subjects arise.

I loved how author Rostirolla crafted such a moving story and incorporated the first person point of view from a twelve-year-old perspective. Having the narrative unfold in this way softened the impact of the difficult subject matter.

Rostirolla’s characters are so real and they could be your neighbors down the street. Her protrayal of Samuel especially, was very touching and I could feel the pain of what he was going through. There are a number of other characters that really added some depth and nice final touches.

In the end, we are awarded with twenty-six takeaways or tenets that help us understand the “monster” inside each and everyone of us. Five excellent stars.

I received a digital ARC from Pinkus Books through Edelweiss+ and NetGalley. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.

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Sam Nolen’s family is experiencing the effects of an unexpected six-year drought. They are a sheep-herding family, so the drought has hit them especially hard. They are forced to cut back drastically on water usage by selling some sheep, taking shorter showers, and installing an outdoor toilet. As the Nolen family struggles to survive, they each deal with the stress in different ways.

Sandra Rostirolla crafts the story from twelve-year-old Sam’s perspective. This softens some of the blow of the subject matter. Rostirolla crafts each character to feel real as though they could be someone you know in real life. The way Sam was written in particular was very touching and as I read, I could feel the pain of what he was going through. I particularly enjoyed Sam's tips about the “monster” inside each of us. I highly recommend this story to everyone! It is a must-read book for 2023. I give it 5/5 stars.

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I had the pleasure of reading this as an ARC and let me tell you it was stunning. The fact that a story about “monsters” had me so intrigued and gripping onto every word. The analogy of monsters being used in place of depression was amazing and allowed for readers to understand that this can happen to anyone. It was amazing to see a 12-year olds point of view on so many heavy topics. This book had a lot of heavy issues but they are important to talk about. From start to finish I was wanting to learn more and more and I couldn’t put it down. The author gives us 25 facts about monsters which are very true and allow us to dive deep into our own monsters and those around us. Thank you for this amazing work and I would highly recommend this book to anyone!

Even though I received this as an ARC all my reviews are honest and truthful.

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Making Friends With Monsters is a great YA book about a kid dealing with traumatic issues and the depression and family dysfunction that surround him. It takes a really interesting look at mental illness by having the main character see it as Monsters. He decides to write down everything he knows about them as he goes along. The characters are strong and you generally feel for them, I especially liked the relationship between Sam and the biker, Snoopy. The plot was very well written and I found myself reading it in one sitting, I just had to find out what happened next. It is very sad at times and empowering at others. This book is really special and I think that everyone, both kids and adults, can get something out of it. Fantastic book with a great cover.

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I believe that, without any doubt, it’s one of the most special and necessary readings I ever read.
This book addresses topics that may be sensitive to some people, so I don’t recommend reading it if you’re having a hard time with mental health, such as: how we manage our negative emotions, how living in a broken family can affect children, the grief, overcoming a major loss, or the importance of talking to someone who is going through the same thing to help heal.
And the best thing is that, despite doing so from the perspective of a twelve-year-old, not only treats the issue with the seriousness it deserves, but exposes it in a simpler way that manages to make you reach reflections that from an adult point of view it costs more to think.
As I said, it deals with serious issues, but it does not take it to joke, it simply simplifies the reasoning. I was afraid that I would treat all this badly, but I’m glad to be able to say that was not the case at all.
A reading that, although short, I recommend reading little by little to enjoy it 100%. The author’s pen has had a lot to do, I want to follow closely his next works.

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Rural Australia, 2006. Sam Nolen is filled with misery. With a drought ruining his family’s farm and his older brother moody and distant, the sensitive twelve-year-old wishes he knew how to make his loved ones happy. But when the loyal preteen is left to help his dad after his older sibling storms out, Sam’s world shatters when he suffers a terrible accident.

Struggling to recover and feeling like a freak, the imaginative boy discovers an inner monster whispering dark thoughts in his mind. And when he learns the seductive joy of hiding behind his anger, he starts following his family down a self-destructive path.

Can Sam find his own way out of the shadows before they become all-consuming?

Firstly, let me just say wow! What a book that hit my heart in a million places and left me utterly distraught yet impassioned. Rostirolla compassionately yet unapologetically deals with sensitive issues that I know are close to her own heart as well as many others and this book left me in tears, angry, but most importantly… heard.

Sam is a typical teenager that traverses one difficult and horrid situation after another whilst all the while commenting and offering an insight to his ‘monster’ and the impact that his and others’ monsters have on his life. The monster metaphor is the perfect way of creating a voice for those innermost feelings we all have and a witty way of trying to explain and come to terms with why we feel or react the way we do in certain situations and I loved it!

Dealing with issues such as grief, injury, suicide, poverty and many other taboo issues normally reserved for an older audience, Rostirolla has created a novel that expresses the feelings we all have felt and sadly situations many of us have often experienced in a way that is not only accessible to a younger audience, but is neither patronising or diluted.

This book is a must read for all, kids, teenagers and parents alike and I couldn’t applaud it enough. The sincerity and empathy that covers the pages of this novel whilst dealing with such difficult and heart rending issues is remarkable.

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Wow! I read this book in one sitting and am exhausted from the emotional ride. This was a powerful story that covered a lot of areas of trauma that are likely to be triggering for some. However, it was also a story of hope, love, friendship and the power of compassion and acceptance.

This novel tells, from the point of view of a 12 year old boy named Sam, how to try to understand and accept a myriad of events that can happen in life, and the range of emotions that come with them.

I enjoyed the story, the writing, and especially some of the characters that added joy to the book, like Mike, Leesa, and Snoopy. Snoopy is my favorite character of all of the books I have read so far this year.

Although written for teens, this book is something that parents should read as there are some good suggestions for how kids can be taught about their own “monsters”.

Thank you to #NetGalley for an eARC of #MakingFriendsWithMonsters by #SandraLRostirolla in exchange for an honest review. - 5 stars as this book will stay with me for a long time

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