The monster who wasn't / T.C. Shelley.

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  • Additional Information
    • Abstract:
      Summary: Imp, hatched in the underground monsters lair looking like a human boy, does not know where he fits, but Thunderguts, king of the ogres, has a dangerous destiny in mind for him.-- Provided by Publisher.
    • Notes:
      Ages 8-12. Bloomsbury Children's Books.
      Grades 4-6. Bloomsbury Children's Books.
    • Other Titles:
      Monster who was not.
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Booklist Reviews 2020 July #1

*Starred Review* Predicated on the well-known fact that fairies are born from a baby's first laugh and the lesser-known one that monsters come from a dying person's last sigh of regret, this series opener centers on a lad who hatches, naked and nameless, in the teeming subterranean kingdom of the brutal Troll King. Fortunately, the lad—dubbed Imp, "imp boy" later, and perhaps finally Samuel—is taken under the wings and talons of a quarrelsome trio of despised but kindly gargoyles, as well as a helpful, if clerically swamped, guardian angel. Unfortunately, hardly has he perhaps found a home above ground with the Kavanaughs, a loving human family, than he is drawn back into the deadly caverns in pursuit of pixies who have stolen baby Beatrice Kavanaugh. From hulking ogres and slavering cannibal witches to tricksy pixies and goblins, Shelley positively shovels magical creatures into this eldritch thrill ride, plus a few humans unexpectedly capable of taking the occasional glimpse of a banshee or fairy light in stride. Confused by his dual nature and longing for clarity about where he belongs, Samuel has some hard choices to make when, at the climax, the Troll King offers him a dark but compelling bargain. Until his risky but right decision plays out spectacularly, readers will be holding their breaths. A memorable debut, threaded with twists both wry and scary. Grades 5-7. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

PW Reviews 2020 August #3

In Shelley's highly imaginative, immersive debut, Monsterkind is born from a human's last sigh. When dying patriarch Samuel Kavanagh meets his newborn granddaughter, Beatrice, he sighs and she laughs, spawning a half-monster, half-fairy imp who looks discomfitingly like a human preteen. Deep in The Hole, where ogre king Thunderguts reigns over trolls, brownies, banshees, and the like with a stone fist, he and his loyal crone have monumental plans for the newly hatched imp boy. But before they can snag him, gargoyles Wheedle, Bladder, and Spigot take the child "upstairs"—to the world's surface—where other monsters cannot stand direct sunlight. Cared for by the gargoyle pack and an angel, the unnamed boy has an eventful first few days. When he coincidentally meets the Kavanagh family in a chocolate shop, a shocking resemblance convinces them he has the soul of dead relatives. Naming the boy Samuel and inviting him into their home, the Kavanaghs believe they're due for a happily ever after—but in Shelley's cluttered fantastical world, danger threatens Sam and his newfound family. Allusions to Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" and considerations about what makes a monster round out this engaging if packed series starter. Ages 8–12. Agent: Catherine Pellegrino, Marjacq Scripts. (Sept.)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.