Recommended for ages 10-13
Sofia was never the type of kid to stand out. Not before the cancer, anyway. Now, with her shaved head and prosthetic leg, she really doesn’t want to stand out, but the mean girl group at school is determined to make Sofia their project. And then, there’s The Book. The Book that ended up in her closet. The Book that’s writing to her. Xeno, one of Aristotle’s lost students, has gotten in touch with Sofia through the book, telling her that’s she’s been chosen to be the next Guardian. Guardian of all the mythical monsters in the world. The thing is, someone else wants that book – wants to do away with the monsters, and she’ll do anything to get her hands on it, including unleashing the Last Monster. Now, Sofia has to learn her Guardian duties, deal with middle school, and navigate a relationship with her mother, who has a hard time letting go after almost losing her daughter.
This is a wild book, and I mean that in the best sense. I thought I was getting a story about a girl beating cancer – and I was – and then, this fantastic world opened up within that story. Who else to be chosen to be a hero, right? A kid who fought cancer and won, a kid who just wants to concentrate on getting through each day, now bestowed with this responsibility, this guardianship – it’s so much bigger than she is, but she’s clearly the one for the job. I loved Sofia because she’s not a victim. She doesn’t want to be with the cool girls, she doesn’t even know what the heck to do with a crush, it’s so confusing to navigate, and she’s really not sure what the heck to do when a monster shows up at her window for the first time, but she’s going to figure it all out. The monsters are going to teach her a few things, too, and so is Xeno.
This is a brilliant fantasy to put into the hands of middle schoolers. It brings kids realistic fiction and infuses it with an amazing fantasy that will keep the pages turning. This one is going on my library shelves, without question. Give this to your Fablehaven and Spiderwick fans and let them blend their own bestiaries together.