Destroy All Monsters

HarperTeen. Jul. 2019. 400p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062456748.
Gr 7 Up–Ash and Solomon are best friends fighting against evil and their past in very different ways. Ash takes refuge in her passion for photography, while Solomon retreats to a vivid fantasy world, complete with dinosaur transportation. Ash is the only person in Solomon’s life who takes his stories about Darkside remotely seriously. Most of the time Solomon is labeled as crazy or psychotic, even by his own father, who also happens to be the local high school football coach. When a string of targeted attacks puts the town on edge, Ash suspects that the football team is behind the incidents. As she uses her photography to get to the truth, a dark secret from her and Solomon’s past begins to creep to the surface. Alternating voices and worlds are used to explore each character’s struggle with current conflict and past trauma. Art and storytelling are featured both as coping mechanisms and tools by which the survivors find a voice and stand up for the truth. Ash and Solomon are a source of strength for each other, giving readers total friend goals. Ash avoids using many of the harmful labels others place on Solomon. While she is conflicted about how much to step in when he is in serious danger, Ash’s actions are smart, mature, and compassionate. Ash and Solomon show that friends sometimes have to do the hard things to do the right thing. A balanced mix of realistic and fantasy elements keeps the action going and appeals to fans of both elements.
VERDICT A combination of Andrew Smith, Laini Taylor, and John Corey Whaley that crosses genre borders and will win over readers

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