Oliver, Lauren

The Magnificent Monsters of Cedar Street

(2) 4-6 Monsters are real in this version of early-twentieth-century Boston, but most people have no idea that they exist. Cordelia Clay is one of the few acquainted with filches, alicanti, and growrks (a lengthy monster guide opens the novel), and she secretly helps her veterinarian father care for injured ones at their Beacon Hill home. When her father and most of the monsters disappear, Cordelia sets out to rescue them with the help of Gregory, a local boy who recently acquired a zombie puppy; a filch, which makes its way in the world via flatulence; and a baby dragon that had been living in Cordelia's oven. Their clues take them to New York and Canada before bringing them back to Boston, where an anti-monster activist threatens everything they hold dear. Though Oliver keeps the action-driven plot moving quickly, there is introspection as well, particularly regarding Cordelia's relationships with her late mother (a scientist who died while researching monster evolution) and her former best friend Elizabeth (who has monster-related secrets of her own). Oliver's wordplay is often clever ("the daylight...was starting to seep across the cluttered countertops like the drool of a Mattahorn salivus"), and her collection of monsters is creative and thorough. Cordelia and Gregory face instances of peril that are exciting without feeling too dangerous, and the book's secondary characters, both human and monster, add much to the story.


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