A Review of “Where Monsters Lie” by Polly Ho-Yen



Penguin £6.99

If you loved The Boy In The Tower, you’ll love Where Monsters Lie by Polly Ho-Yen.

The Synopsis on Good Reads says:

The children of Mivtown have grown up hearing the legend of the monsters of the loch. But it’s only a story – a warning to stay away from the water.

Then strange things start happening in the village. Effie’s rabbit Buster escapes from a locked hutch, her mum disappears without trace and slugs start to infest her home.

Along with her best friend Finn, Effie begins to hunt for clues to solve the mysteries of Mivtown. Could this all be connected to the legend? Is it really just a story or is there something lurking in those deep, dark waters?

So what did I think?

I don’t want to say too much about the plot for fear of giving away spoilers, but the main thing I want to say about this book is just how beautifully written it is. Written in the first person, Where Monsters Lie is a poignant and emotionally true portrayal of Effie and the things that matter in her world. I just love the way the tale is told in such a fluid and natural way. As a reader, we are immediately plunged into Effie’s world, and questions soon pop into our head about Effie’s relationship with Finn. We wonder what is this aura of strangeness that cloaks Mivtown and the loch?

There is a lot of sadness in this book. And as in The Boy in The Tower, Polly demonstrates a real knack for showing how adults can react to tough times. But equally there is a lot of positivity in the portayal of friendship and community and a sense of place.

As the tale unfolds, we learn more and more about the characters: layer after layer peels away.

I think Polly has a real gift in showing children how mysterious and bewildering adults’ behaviour can be at times, and helping them understand how there can be reasons for that.

This would be a great book for year 6, and an absolute must for writers of children’s fiction who want to improve their craft!

A shame I have to keep checking the rabbit hutch, though…

Happy Reading!

Pippa Wilson

21st August 2016




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