Solving the Puzzle of The Supernatural Society

Review:

The Supernatural Society

By Rex Ogle

Rating: 4/5

Genre: Speculative Fiction/Middle Grade

QUILTBAG Main Character: Undetermined (none of the sexuality of the characters is made clear)

QUILTBAG Minor Character: See above

Main Character of Color: Yes

Bechdel Test: Yes

Summary: Guillermo (Will) Hunter isn’t exactly happy about moving to East Emerson. He’s leaving behind his apartment in Brooklyn, where he knows every bus route, every hallway in his school, leaving his best friend, and leaving his dad (who may have actually left him and his mom first, Will’s not ready to talk about that). But East Emerson isn’t just small and strange, it’s Strange. Like, really strange. Snake-women run the libraries, his teacher is a mummy, and he’s having weird dreams with a strange fox and a coven of horrible things out to destroy the town. Will soon discovers that he and his new friend Ivy are the only ones who can see what the town truly is. When the animals in town, including Will’s beloved dog Felix, go missing, it’s up to Will, Ivy, and Ivy’s nerdy brother Linus, to find out what’s happening and stop it. Before it’s too late.

A Little Bit of a Disclaimer:

I was given an ARC of this by the publishers in exchange for an honest review. It in no way changes my opinion or review. 

Let’s Get A Little Deep:

You all remember one review ago when I talked about my great love of monsters. I love every monster and would likely be the idiot in a horror movie that would try and pet a werewolf. I would boop a minotaur on the snoot so fast. So when this arc was given to me, I admit that I moved it so fast to the top of my TBR, disregarding lots of other books I was excited about. This middle-grade speculative fiction book blends mystery, monsters, and puzzles to keep the reader engaged. I knew it would be fun, but I am delighted to say I had a fun time reading it, and I loved it as a whole. 

Will is not happy about moving. Sure, their New York City apartment had been cramped and the buses he took to school might not be completely comfortable but his best friend is there, his school is there, and his dad is there. But now he’s going to a small town with his mom and dog, Felix. His already terrible view of moving is made worse when he realizes something no one else in town seems to: a large majority of the town’s population is monsters.

Confused and more than a little afraid, Will thinks he might be having a mental breakdown until his neighbor, Ivy, confides to him that she can see them, too. Ivy helps him navigate the harmless monsters who live among them, but Will’s not convinced everything is so harmless, particularly not after a dream that leaves him shaken. Soon his worries are proved correct as Felix and other pets go missing. Will teams up with Ivy and her skeptic brother Linus to uncover the truth about East Emerson.

It’s easy to fall in love with the characters in this book. Will is a sympathetic character who really does love his family, even when he maybe says things to his mother out of anger. Ivy, an adopted child who has been seeing things others can’t for years, chooses to use anger and a hard external shell to cover up real pain and hurt that lives in her. Linus is smarter than most of his classmates, which isolates him. While Linus pretends this is fine, it becomes clear that he desperately wants to get along with Ivy and Will.

Loving these characters is equally easy when the unseen monster narrator reminds the reader how human we are all. Even the monsters in the story show humanity from the way they treat those around them. The narrator of the novel reminds the reader frequently that they are a monster and therefore horrible, but the reader knows full well by the end of the novel that what makes us monsters is our actions, not how we may be perceived from the outside world.

Overall this is a fun book that allows you to empathize with the characters while also taking you down a winding path full of secret messages and a solidly built mystery. I will give a small spoiler and let the animal lovers out there know that, yes, all the pets are alright. Trust me when I say finding out what happened to them is well worth the worry that their disappearance causes.

This is the first book in a series that I am sure I’ll devour all of. I would pre-order it now, preferably from your favorite indie bookstore! 

Thanks for going a little deep with me! I post reviews every other Thursday. Did you love The Supernatural Society? Leave a comment telling me what your favorite monsters are. You can also find me on Instagram @booked.with.grace and on Twitter @gwasserst! Special thanks to Yasi (@ynbushehri) for editing my posts.

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