The Legend of Shadow High by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
Ever After High Meets Monster High!

I absolutely believe this is a near perfect mash-up book and it would definitely be ideal for fans of either series. Just to catch you up real quick if you have no clue about either of these product lines:

In Ever After High, you have meticulously-designed teenage characters who are the daughters of fairy tale superstars with names such as: Raven Queen, Apple White, and Madeline Hatter. There are many toys and books available which are specific to these characters and their various adventures. The girls are great to read about since they share habits and subtle tell-tale signs of their more famous moms...yet they each have their own personality quirks.

In Monster High, you have the high-glam, dolled-up daughters (also teenagers) of various famous monsters with names such as Draculaura, Frankie Stein and Clawdeen Wolf. You can also find plenty of merchandise out there for these creepy cool characters. I liked this crew the best since they too, as with the Ever After group, share certain elements with their monster parents yet have unique identities. For example, Draculaura can change into a cute but powerful bat. And Frankie Stein can withstand large bolts of energy PLUS...she can throw body parts off herself (usually her hand) and use them from a distance.

So here is what’s specifically awesome about THIS book, The Legend of Shadow High; is that readers get to hang out with BOTH groups! And we get to enjoy all the chaos and relationship difficulties that come with most middle-grade novels. For real though, the writers did a clever job of plotting out this story and answering the tough would these worlds clash? Well, both places exist with their own characters and stories, right? So imagine these separate places exist in the same literary universe, a sort of magical, all-encompassing “World of Stories.” And something is going wrong there, which means each individual place, or High School, is being dangerously affected. Throw in a magical map device that malfunctions and zaps the two groups of characters together and PRESTO--you have a fresh, frenetic mash-up book.

Younger middle grade readers will love reading about how Draculaura, Frankie Stein, Apple White, and Raven Queen come together, put aside their minor differences, play to their strengths, work as a team, and save the day. The young girls in the story have to deal with relatable issues such as making new friends and handling the bits of jealousy and hurt feelings that sometimes comes along with this process. Yet there’s still plenty of excitement, fantasy, magic, and of course all of the other famous monster and fairy-tale-hero-type characters who play bit parts, yet are still neat and fun to learn about. It’s pretty clear here that the characters drive the book, however the plot itself stays surprising and enticing to mature readers by dropping in lots of unexpected little tidbits about the actual writing process, story narrators, and what could happen if it all goes foul.

PLUS, as if the whole premise of the book is not adventurous and outrageous enough, the writers plunge into a short, very surprising (spoiler alert!) “Choose Your Own Adventure” section about three-fourths of the way through. I will admit, they lost me a little bit there. And I didn’t fully dig the ending. But I appreciated their ambitious efforts and how they basically dropped everything kids’ love about toy/book crossovers into a big pot and stirred it as hard and fast as possible. With the result being a truly intriguing literary effort.

Bottom line, it’s not a book for me so it doesn’t matter if I really, really liked it or not. I am confident that 8-12 year old eager readers--highly recommended for girls only on this one--will freak out over The Legend of Shadow High. Oh, and prepared to handle requests for the Ever After and Monster High toys once kids get hands on this book. Though the merchandise seems finely made and is all very whimsical so I don’t think the dolls would be such a bad thing to collect. And this book is certainly a nice starting point.

Happy Reading!

(Disclaimer--I received an advance reader copy of this book by replying to a promotional email from the publisher. I have provided an open and honest review.)