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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Monster Academy by Catherine Banks is the first book in an exciting monster series. Frances, Tsukiko, and Loralie are three best friends that attend Monster Academy and have a strong bond that gets them through every growing pain in their monster teenage years and especially when dealing with boys. Teenage life isn’t easy as the three work to navigate their crushes, helping a friend with a problem, and still managing to attend class. Monsters have led a peaceful existence hidden away from the threat of humans, but the threat soon comes to their front door when the students are held for ransom. The three friends must band together to save not just their fellow students but everyone they love.
This is a delightful monster tale that weaves classic monsters, mythology, and teenagers, telling the story through three distinct voices as each of the girls is facing their own family situations, crush, and self-discovery. The three girls are a delightful blend of monster and teenager with angst and supernatural abilities, with each of them struggling with a crush that is opposite to what they are. This creates conflict and humor as well as an interesting romantic balance. Catherine Banks has fun with the chemistry between each couple and the balance between them: Loralie is the daughter of death and is a reaper whose love interest is the immortal son of Baba Yaga, Tsukiko is a wolf whose love interest is a naga (a snake), and Frances was created by Dr. Frankenstein and her love interest is a phoenix (fire). They have three separate individual journeys, but each weaves together as the bond between them is at the heart of the story. The story has several twists on creatures from mythology, classic literature, and fairytales, which introduces readers to a unique take on Baba Yaga, harpies, Lucifer, and more. Monster Academy is a fun and unique read that is addictive, humorous, and emotional with moments of friendship, monsters, and angsty romance.