Book Review: Matt Monroe and The Secret Society

cvrTitle: Matt Monroe and The Secret Society
Author:  Edward Torba
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy / Mystery
Age Group: Middle Grade
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Matt Monroe and The Secret Society is the first book in a series about a fourteen-year-old boy and his friends. In this first installment, Matt puts aside his fears as he travels to a same-time dimension to fulfill a prophecy. The saga begins when Matt finds a set of mysterious wooden tablets and an onyx ring. Soon he and his older brother, along with five friends, find themselves transported to the world of Paragon, where they face numerous obstacles. This is an account of deception and betrayal, mixed with courage and the bonds of friendship. Prepare yourself for an exciting adventure with an extraordinary ending. The second book in the series, Matt Monroe and The Haunted House, continues the story of these courage young teens.

Matt Monroe and The Secret Society is a pleasant read for middle grade kids, especially boys. Matt Monroe is your average fourteen year old boy. He likes hanging out with his brother Josh, and with his friends. He also enjoys helping out at his parents’ farm, and dreaming up make-belief stories. When mysterious light flicker at the horizon, all the neighborhood kids are convinced it’s either aliens, demons, or something else. But while their parents start acting stranger and stranger, Josh and Matt get to the bottom of the mystery. They find an old box belonging to their great-grandfather, and inside the box is a ring and wooden tablets no one can decipher.

When their parents come clear about their secret society, and an ancient prophecy, the boys are reluctant to beleive it at first. After all, it sounds a little crazy. But when the local recluse helps transport them to a mystical dimension where they meet the librarian, discover they have powers and must help defeat an evil elf who wants to destroy the entire world, Matt and his friends are in for the adventure of a lifetime.

I loved all the references to dentistry. I didn’t always understand them, but they were quirky, and original. I’ve never read of a fantasy world so connected to dentistry before, heh. It was a great experience, and the author is obviously highly imaginative.

The main characters were rounded and complex enough to be entertaining, but there was a large cast of side characters, and not all of them were equally rounded. Since this is the first book in a series however, we might see more of them in other installments.

Another bonus is how well Matt got along with his parents. Most MG or YA books quickly push the parents out of the way to make sure the adventure can take place, but here the parents were in on the whole thing, and they played a large role in every part of the book.

Imaginative, original, refreshing, I only wish the novel would’ve been a little shorter. It took the kids a little too long to get to the other dimension, and since that’s where the action really started, I hoped they’d get there sooner.

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