The first book in ‘The Monsterjunkies’ series took the readers by surprise, and not only with the well-developed characters and the action that was placed in a dark, gothic universe. Reviewers praised the novel for its realistic portrayal of bullying and the effects it can have on teenagers who are just discovering who they are. Authors Erik Daniel Shein and Theresa A. Gates have recently published the second book in the series, ‘Sanctuary’, which continues the adventures of the Monsterjunkies. Those who have read the first book already know that the Monsterjunkies are the coolest American family ever.
The novel picks up a year after the events in the first book. The Monsterjunkies have finally opened the gates of their macabre mansion to a few trusted friends. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that the torture the two teenagers, Crow and Indigo, suffered at school the previous year has suddenly stopped. Their schoolmates refuse to understand them and accept them for who they are. Crow is constantly bullied because he chooses to wear gothic clothes, because he is different, and because his name is Monsterjunkie. Some of the reasons for which he is bullied are absolutely silly, but knowing this doesn’t help Crow in any way. The last time he retaliated things didn’t go very well, so now he really doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do to make everyone leave him alone.
And if this weren’t enough, Crow also has to deal with the fact that his sister is leaving. Then, his father expects him to carry on the family legacy in cryptozoology, and the pressure he feels is too much for him. The teenage boy finds himself in an almost impossible situation. Bullied by Ruth Grimes, stressed by his parents, and tortured by his own dark past, Crow has to find a way to survive all this.
To top it all, it seems that no one wants the Monsterjunkies in Foggy Point, Maine. There are people who want the real estate their mysterious mansion sits on, and they are ready to do everything it takes to take it. They will expose them for illegally harboring exotic wildlife, so the Monsterjunkies have to stay united if they want to protect their bat colony and their weird pets.
‘Sanctuary’ is a middle grade-young adult novel that tackles a very important topic: bullying. Too many children and teenagers are bullied by their schoolmates every day because they are different, or simply because they seem too weak to defend themselves. Young readers will have a lot to learn from this series. ‘The Monsterjunkies’ can even change their perspective on bullying by helping them understand why it happens and why some people become bullies. Finally, the series can help them find their own solutions to this problem.