Wednesday 6 June 2012

Monster High 4: Back and Deader Than Ever

Monster High 4: Back and Deader Than Ever  by Lisi Harrison (Little, Brown Atom/Hachette)
PB RRP $16.99
ISBN 97819074410666
Reviewed by Hilary Smillie

The latest book in the Monster High series is full of familiar weird characters and one or two new ones. Frankie Stein's ambition to have the RADs accepted by the Normies has at last been successful, but no sooner has this happened, Draculaura (Lala) discovers her dad is intent on splitting Salem students apart by building another high school specifically for the RADs. Lala is determined this won't happen and when she hears about a glamorous contest which will fund the winning high school, she infuses everyone with her own passion. This isn't hard, because the T'eau Dally contest also includes a chance for a couple to star in a national ad campaign, complete with glamorous clothes and photo shoots. The fight is on to save Merston High.

Meanwhile, Melody Carver is catapulted into a singing gig, which quickly leads to bigger things, upsetting her boyfriend, Jackson who had other plans for them over the coming school vacation. Granite, another member of the band, is seriously challenging Melody's and Jackson's relationship.

The time comes for Principal Weeks to choose a couple for the leadership of Merston High. Frankie is hoping she and Brett will win, but so are Cleo and Deuce and Haylee and Heath. All have been drumming up voter support and the competition has been fierce. Will it all be worth it? And will their school be chosen by T'eau Dally?

As is typical of this series, there is an overlay of gloss and glamour, the freaky and the fantastic. A newcomer, an Australian called Blue infuses the scene with Ocker slang, including the term "iced sammies" which is a complete mystery to me. And since when did prawns come from a reservoir? But then again, everything is at least slightly over the top and imaginative, including the offbeat language.

In this fourth book, I feel the plot and purpose is not as well defined as the previous three titles. It didn't capture my interest nearly as well and I find it hard to imagine the series expanding further. But it is lively and quirky, and many fans, to borrow a term from Frankie, may think it Voltage!

With the heavy focus on relationships, I think Monster High 4 is more likely to be enjoyed by over twelve year olds, however, the Mattel toys and games will no doubt attract the target age group of ten plus.

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