Monster vs. Boy (Hardcover)

Monster vs. Boy By Karen Krossing Cover Image
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A moving middle-grade novel about unlikely friendships and facing our fears—or monsters!—perfect for fans of of Wendy Mass's and Rebecca Stead’s Bob.

“Monstrously magical and delicious!”—William Alexander, National Book Award Winner for Goblin Secrets

"A heartfelt tale of meeting your monsters and setting them free." —Linda Urban, acclaimed author of A Crooked Kind of Perfect

On the edge of town, a boy named Dawz lives with his sister and their uncle-turned-adoptive-father, Pop. No one in their ramshackle house knows that a monster—who is smaller than a bear cub—lives in Dawz’s bedroom closet. She calls herself Mim. 

When a series of events forces Mim to leave her closet, she sets out on a quest to unlock the magic of books, but will Dawz be willing to help her? 

The story of a monster who desperately wants to be seen and the reluctant boy who wishes he weren’t the only one who could, this exploration of found family, fear and mental health, and intergenerational trauma begs the question: What if the monsters that haunt us aren’t monsters at all?

About the Author

Karen Krossing wrote comics and poetry as a kid and dreamed of becoming a published writer. Today she is the author of many books for young readers, including picture books Sour Cakes and One Tiny Bubble and novels Bog, Cut the Lights, and Punch Like a Girl. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and regularly teaches writing workshops.

Praise For…

In Karen Krossing’s meaningful novel Monster vs. Boy, a child faces a monster and his own past.

Eleven-year-old Dawz lives with his sister and their uncle, who adopted the children after their mother disappeared.He is happy, enjoys time with his best friend, and nurtures his passion for cooking. He also suspects that there is a monster in his closet. When he finally sees the monster, he realizes that he cannot tell anyone. He fears they will think that he sounds like his mother, who mumbled about yellow feathers and a scorpion tail. Mim has lived in the closet for years, enjoying her small space and listening to Dawz and his family read. After Dawz sees her, she ends up in search of a new nest, hoping to find friends and the secrets to reading along the way. But Mim and Dawz continue to cross paths; they are connected. A book whose story of a boy hunting a monster is really about mental health and learning to accept the darkest partsof oneself, this story builds as more people join in on Dawz’s search—and as each new character offers him their own support. The adults listen to and reassure him. His uncle shares information about his mother, giving him truths as he is ready to deal with them. Eventually, Dawz is ready to face Mim.The story is set in a small town with a history of monsters; the community expresses ready belief in Dawz’s claims.Stated differences in racial and sexual identities also feed into themes of acceptance and support the idea that Dawz must appreciate everything about himself, just as those around him accept and appreciate each other.

Monster vs. Boy is a supportive novel in which a boy learns to address his trauma—with his community’s support.

Foreword Reviews

A boy wrestles with seeing a monster who shouldn’t be real and with finding a sense of belonging.
Morsh’s reputation for once having been home to monsters forms the heart of the town’s booming tourism market. For 11-year-old Dawz, these supposedly mythical creatures are a painful reminder of the monster-obsessed mom who left him and younger sister Jayla to be adopted by their maternal uncle, Pop. (The children have different fathers, but their mother refused to disclose their identities.) Dawz dreams of winning a local baking competition, like Pop before him; baking is a special passion they share. But when he discovers Mim, a small monster with gray fur and purple scales living in his bedroom closet, he worries that makes him weird—like his mom. Mim is struggling with changes, too. She doesn’t remember a time before the closet, but she’s growing larger—and despite her trepidation, she is pulled to explore the world outside this dark, dusty haven. Dawz and Mim discover they have a bond, and they both struggle with learning to accept themselves. In this thoughtful story that deals with serious topics but is lightened by humor, Krossing expertly navigates what it’s like to be young and unsure of yourself through the protagonists’ character arcs. Jayla and Dawz have different skin tones from one another and Pop, who is cued White; their multiracial family is described as “a mismatched crew.”
A moving tale of learning to accept yourself, flaws and all. 

Kirkus Reviews

Product Details
ISBN: 9781623543563
ISBN-10: 1623543568
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Publication Date: July 11th, 2023
Pages: 240
Language: English