ARC Review – Jellaby: Monster in the City by Kean Soo

cover44107-mediumTitle: Jellaby: Monster in the City

Author: Kean Soo

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: As Portia, Jason, and Jellaby continue their journey through the city of Toronto, Portia is torn between her friendship with Jellaby and her duty to help the sweet monster find his way back to his home. How can Portia say goodbye forever, when Jellaby has become her best friend?

But the clues leading them to Jellaby’s origins begin to turn sinister. When a hooded wizard introduces them to another monster like Jellaby, Portia and her purple friend are in for a gruesome shock — this monster befriends children, too — and then she eats them Now Portia must find a home for Jellaby, save Jason from the grasping tentacles of his new “best friend,” and come to terms with the mysterious disappearance of her father. It’s a lot to take on, but Portia is mad, bad, and ready to kick some monster butt.

Huge thank you to Stone Arch Books and Netgalley for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I was a huge fan of the first Jellaby graphic novel. If there’s one thing Kean Soo knows how to do well, it’s create humor without the use of dialogue. This definitely returns in the sequel, but Jellaby, Portia and Jason have to face some scary situations in this book, some which are quite terrifying.

I’m not going to sugar coat my feelings for this book. A lot of the reason why I loved this story was that it reminded me of my father when I was a little girl growing up. This book takes place during the Canadian National Exhibition, an event my dad worked every year until his death. Seeing the Polar Express, the Zipper, the Food and Automotive Buildings, the Princess Gates, it all reminded me of him. When I was a young girl, he used to take me by the hand and guide me through the event like a VIP, and when I got older, I worked the CNE and it became a huge part of my summers.

Seeing Jellaby and the game roam through the CNE just brought up a lot of memories. When Portia is on the swings, her arms outstretched, I was reminded of myself at her age, and how weightless things can feel. I loved Jellaby trying to understand rides and people — those moments made me smile the widest. At the end when Portia is talking to her father, and then again to her mother, my eyes welled up.

Soo does an amazing job of capture emotion, as well as the City of Toronto in a way that many people don’t quite get. It almost makes me wish a big purple monster would be roaming around the city because that would make my life complete. However, I suppose I’ll simply have to settle for Jellaby being immortalized in these comics, and in my heart as well.

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