Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for the e-arc!
If you’re looking for a creepy, atmospherical, Miyazaki-type book, this is the one. I’m not just saying that because the protagonist has my name, but it helps.
What is it about?
Celia is home alone when an earthquake strikes her city. Going against her parent’s wishes, she ventures out to reach out to survivors in her apartment building and encounters a boy named Demetri. After talking to the strange boy, she decides to stray outside to find herself in a peculiar world where Hunters chase Monsters called Bigs and the children they turn into weird little creatures called Littles. All of this, nobody can see except Celia and the children she meets. After the Hunters recruit Celia, she discovers there’s more to the Bigs and Littles than meets the eye. She finds herself in the center of a battle that could destroy her.
What interested me:
The concept of Bigs and Littles was unique. Some of the Littles formed a hideaway where they vowed never to turn children into one of them, creating a sort of rebellion against the Bigs. Not becoming monsters draws parallels to the real world where we all must fight against evil. I think children will take to this. I also loved the monsters and the sometimes quirkiness of them. It reminded me a lot of Miyazaki’s films like Spirited Away and Howls Moving Castle where monsters co-exist and are often misunderstood. The writing did not feel too “young” for me, a thirty-something adult, but I think the book would still appeal to its target audience. Strong characters and strong world-building really tie this novel together. I haven’t read many books that relate to this one so I cannot give similar titles as recs, but if you’re looking for a fun, original story, this is the one for you!
The ending was very open-ended so I’m wondering if there’s a sequel in the works. It’s the only part of the book that disappointed me as a reader. Maybe it was because I’m used to happy endings in Middle-Grade fiction. I also think it could use a better cover. Think epic monster fighting! 😉