All These Monsters

HMH. Jul. 2020. 464p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780358012405.
Gr 8 Up–Clara has decided to drop out of high school, leave her dysfunctional, abusive family, and join a privately run monster defense firm poised to take on the “scrab” insurgency in Europe. The recruiting agency will pay for a one-way ticket, but those who wash out are on their own when it comes to getting home. For Clara, however, there is no turning back. She’s lived in fear of her father for years, and this opportunity is her golden ticket even if it ends up a death sentence. Scrabs appear in different forms across the globe but have certain commonalities: They are ruthless, impenetrable, snarly monsters. Following a harrowing escape from her father, Clara is accepted onto American Team 7—comprised of all teens. They are green around the gills, but internet darlings with a strong social media presence. The book is all action: Every time the team is on its way to training, it is interrupted by a rogue scrab attack. Meanwhile, Clara finds herself in the romantic clutches of her controlling, older team leader who will remind readers of Clara’s father. The character development is powerful and action sequences are well conceived, but the story barely wraps up at the end, leaving questions about leadership motives and the possibility that the scrabs are not the enemy.
VERDICT A sci-fi action dynamo with romantic overtones that screams for a sequel. Recommended.

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