The Crabtree Monsters, by Chris Wieland | Dedicated Review

Book Review of The Crabtree Monsters
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The Children’s Book Review

The Crabtree Monsters: Book Cover

Written by Chris Wieland

Ages 10+ | 384 Pages

Publisher: The Smart Aleck Press | ISBN-13: 9798985701302

What to Expect: Divorce, money, bullying, problem-solving, determination.

Crabtree has seen better days, and so has everything in it – from the crumbling school and deserted beach to Grandpa Nick’s house and Grandpa Nick himself. That’s one reason Kat is unhappy living there, but it’s not the only reason – being left in this depressing town by her too-busy divorced parents just feels like one too many betrayals. She’s pretty certain nothing can make the situation worse, until the local bank gets robbed and Grandpa Nick ends up in jail. Now, Kat will need every ounce of her determination and nerve to keep herself and her family safe.

The Crabtree Monsters is a hard-hitting, gritty middle-grade novel that grips readers from the very first page. Families are notoriously messy, and Wieland doesn’t try and hide that or dress it up in platitudes; his depictions of divorce, bullying, poverty, and absentee parenting are realistic as well as sympathetic. Importantly, though, he also provides a protagonist who can help readers see the solutions as well as the problems, and the good as well as the bad. Smart, tough, and determined, Kat is a fantastic protagonist – easy to relate to and invest in.

The Crabtree Monsters is an engrossing read with some important messages about family, self-belief, and American society.

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Chris Wieland: Author Headshot

About the Author

Chris Wieland is an award-winning writer and filmmaker. He is also the father of two fierce children, including a tough, smart tween who helped him find the voice of his protagonist, Kat Dylan. He lives in Southern California with his family.

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June 14, 2022 at 12:31PM Dr. Jen Harrison