cover image Monster Hunters

Monster Hunters

Dean Lorey. HarperCollins Publishers, $16.99 (312pp) ISBN 978-0-06-134042-0

In Lorey's debut, 13-year-old Charlie has nightmares, during which terrible things happen in the real world. The teen, it turns out, has the ability to open portals to the Netherworld, through which vicious monsters can travel. When a beast attacks Charlie's family, they are rescued by a cowboy named Rex and a team of ""Nethermancers."" Charlie is whisked away to the Nightmare Academy, where he learns to control his powerful skill. However, he accidentally releases a powerful monster called Barakkas, who kidnaps Charlie's parents, and Charlie and his friends must attempt a rescue. Lorey deftly blends the comic with the suspenseful, and has created a solid premise, as well as a compelling hero in Charlie. (Nearly friendless growing up, Charlie's exceptional talents set him apart at the Academy as well: ""He'd spent his entire life feeling like an outcast, but now that he was in a place full of kids just like him, the last thing he wanted was to hear how different he was."") A fast-paced and exciting read for kids in search of a comedic fantasy fix. Ages 10-up.