Blog Tour, Author Note + Review: A Monster Like Me by Wendy S. Swore

6:30 AM

The best middle grade book you'll read all year. 



ABOUT THE BOOK


There are trolls, goblins, and witches. Which kind of monster is Sophie?

Sophie is a monster expert. Thanks to her Big Book of Monsters and her vivid imagination, Sophie can identify the monsters in her school and neighborhood. Clearly, the bullies are trolls and goblins. Her nice neighbor must be a good witch, and Sophie’s new best friend is obviously a fairy. But what about Sophie? She’s convinced she is definitely a monster because of the “monster mark” on her face. At least that’s what she calls it. The doctors call it a blood tumor. Sophie tries to hide it but it covers almost half her face. And if she’s a monster on the outside, then she must be a monster on the inside, too.

Being the new kid at school is hard. Being called a monster is even harder. Sophie knows that it’s only a matter of time before the other kids, the doctors, and even her mom figure it out. And then her mom will probably leave — just like her dad did.

Because who would want to live with a real monster?


A Monster Like Me by Wendy S. Swore | Rating: ★★★★★

To describe A Monster Like Me would be difficult. Impossible, even. It is a many things. Sweet and whimsical, thought provoking and emotional, imaginative and hard-hitting. What makes it so very real, and full of depth, is the fact that A Monster Like Me was inspired by very real events in the author's life.

One cannot pin down the exact and appropriate descriptions for it beyond special. Because if there's one thing this story is, it's that. Special. Truly and completely special. This is the sort of novel that sticks with you for the long haul, no matter your age. Nothing about this novel is forgettable. 

It's purely unforgettable.

And charming. 

And beautiful. 

The narrative of this alone is worth mentioning because it tackles many topics, many monsters, and many human complexities. A Monster Like Me is unlike anything I've read in recent memory and is, without a doubt, already the best middle grade book of 2019. All we ever want from novels is to feel something and this book has that something.

You know that book that you always need when you were a child? That's what A Monster Like Me is, and will be, for many children. Beautifully and carefully crafted with love, A Monster Like Me is an absolute joy to read from start to beginning. Sophie, and her book of monsters, are at the center of the novel, and there is nothing more resilient than her spirit. 

The journey that she goes on through the course of this book will leave you breathless and utterly smitten.

What makes this book is the sheer brilliance of story-telling that Swore possesses. While there are so many great releases in the genre, so many of these books treat children with the glass-like approach of handing something porcelain. It lacks warmth and connection, but Swore successfully reaches out to each of her readers with a world of honesty, hope and care.

There's a lot that A Monster Like Me covers, and I cannot say much without spoiling it. So here's what I will say: you're going to love Sophie and feel deeply for her. You'll feel moments of sadness for her but mostly, you'll walk away from this book feeling hopeful. 

A Monster Like Me is an experience unlike any other. That's all I want to emphasize for you all.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wendy S Swore farms on the Sho-Ban reservation where her corn maze and pumpkin patch is home to her five kids, two dogs, two geese, seven peacocks, eleven ducks, nineteen cats, and two hundred thirty seven chickens. She farms in the summers, writes in the winters, and would rather chew her leg off than eat something spicy.


A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR 

Sophie’s story is dear to my heart because I know how it feels to be bullied because I looked different from everyone else. When I was a child, I
had a hemangioma on my forehead that stuck out so far my bangs couldn’t
cover it, no matter how hard my mother tried. Because the tumor was
made up of blood vessels, I could feel my heart beating inside it when I was
playing hard or really upset.
The incident at the grocery store where the hydra lady says,
“Hey, look kids! That girl doesn’t need a Halloween costume. She’s already got one!” is an exact quote of what a woman once said to my mother and me. Another woman told a classroom full of kids that I had the mark of the devil. Kids asked if it was a goose bump, or hamburger, or if my brains had leaked out. My dad had to chase away some bullies who had followed me home, called me names, and pushed me into the street. Sometimes, after a bad day of bullying, I wished I could just rip the mark off my face and be like everyone else—but it was a part of me, and wishing didn’t change that.
My parents decided to take an active role in educating the people around me so they would know what a hemangioma was and understand that it wasn’t icky, or gross, or contagious. Whenever we moved to a new place, my dad would go with me to the elementary school and talk to the kids about my mark and let them ask questions. After those talks, kids befriended me and noticed when bullies came around. Like Autumn, my school friends would speak up when they saw someone being mean to me, and sometimes they would stand between me and the bullies until they left me alone. I didn’t let the bullies stop me from doing what I wanted to do. I climbed trees, went swimming, wrote poetry, brought my tarantula and snakes to show-and-tell, and played in the tide pools.
This is my message to anyone who experiences bullying: Don’t let the bullies define you! I’ve been there, I know it hurts to be teased, but don’t let it stop you from doing what you want. Find something you enjoy—a hobby, talent, or challenge—and practice that skill. Know that someone out there, maybe even someone in your same school, needs a friend as much as you do. Be that friend. Stand up for each other. And know that you are not alone.

You can always find me at WendySwore.com, and I would love to hear your stories and what you thought of the book.

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