My Boyfriend Is a Monster: Made for Each Other
When I found out that “teen paranormal romance” is one of the hottest new book genres, I thought I should check out this graphic novel line trading on its popularity. (It didn’t hurt that writer Paul Storrie was an old friend.) I’m glad I did, because I got a fun monster love story, but one more creative and unusual in its content than I suspected.
“My Boyfriend Is a Monster” is an umbrella title; each of the entries stands alone. Audiences seem to find that surprising, probably because the books are numbered. Anecdotal evidence suggests that that wasn’t a good idea, since people want to buy #1 before they buy this volume, labeled “#2” in the series. There’s no need to, since each features a different set of characters. The first, I Love Him to Pieces, has a zombie, while #3, My Boyfriend Bites, is obviously about a vampire. A planned fourth book, Under His Spell, will feature a faerie. Visit the series website for more information and sneak peeks. (Where’s the werewolf, I want to know?)
Made for Each Other — or Hunkenstein or Love in Stitches, to name only a few of the alternate titles that had me laughing from the first page — is about falling in love with Frankenstein’s monster. Well, really, a younger version, named Tom B. Stone. Maria has moved in with her aunt in Alaska after her parents were killed in a car crash. (Note: due to the premise, death and corpses are mentioned many times in this book, but as illustrated by Eldon Cowgur, we never see anything too gross. In several suspenseful sequences, there’s a nice use of dark to suggest shadows, which are creepier anyway.) She’s got a small group of close friends, but otherwise, she doesn’t fit in at school. However, new student Tom intrigues her. It’s only later that she finds out about his unusual background and family, including his dad becoming the new town funeral director.
If this sounds sappy, don’t worry, it isn’t. It’s full of action and humor. Storrie spins familiar elements, including a blind caretaker, a monster’s love of music, a female monster, and sibling rivalry, into a fresh blend. I chuckled when Maria, trying to explain her first meeting with Tom at school to her aunt, murmurs, “I feel like we connected. It was like, I don’t know… electricity!” Which brings up a warning: if you don’t like puns, you’ll groan when they’re used, especially when it comes to the Stone family names of Franklin and Hedy. The more you know about the original story, the more you’ll appreciate certain moments, but even a familiarity with just the basics of the legend will suffice.
I was also surprised to discover how talented Cowgur (Astray3) was. His expression work is excellent, as is the sense of movement he brings to the page and his character designs. The cast feels like the teens they should be, but they’re also strong and determined, fighting for who and what they want (and facing down some pretty scary characters). There’s a lot of story in this little book, and events move fast, but it’s also thought-provoking, as Maria compares the monsters to the recipients of organ donors. I also liked the way that the kids aren’t super-competent; they set out to do what they can, but they’re clumsy when it comes to monster-fighting, as most people would be, even with the best intentions.
Although this doesn’t fit into the structure or intended audience of the book line, I’d like to read a sequel, especially one that dealt with how Maria and Tom cope with her aging while he stays a teenager. This was a great escapist read that took its premise to new heights.