I received this book for free from Roaring Brook Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki
Published by Roaring Book Press on April 19th, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQIA, Middle-Grade
Source: Roaring Brook Press
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Montgomery Sole is a square peg in a small town, forced to go to a school full of jocks and girls who don't even know what irony is. It would all be impossible if it weren't for her best friends, Thomas and Naoki. The three are also the only members of Jefferson High's Mystery Club, dedicated to exploring the weird and unexplained, from ESP and astrology to super powers and mysterious objects.
Then there's the Eye of Know, the possibly powerful crystal amulet Monty bought online. Will it help her predict the future or fight back against the ignorant jerks who make fun of Thomas for being gay or Monty for having two moms? Maybe the Eye is here just in time, because the newest resident of their small town is scarier than mothmen, poltergeists, or, you know, gym.
When I found out that Mariko Tamaki had a book coming out, I was so excited! I was curious to see how Tamaki’s storytelling style would differ from This One Summer and it helped that the book had a stunning cover.
Montgomery Sole’s voice is truly unique and stands out. She is angsty like many young adults (in YA novels and in real life) but her way of dealing with her angst is usually not dealing with it at all which explains the title and her need to be ‘saved.’ Montgomery Sole also spends a surprising amount of time searching conspiracy theories and buying rocks we know won’t actually do anything. That’s okay though because Montgomery Sole is a precious child that needs to be protected from the world. All of this creates a really interesting dynamic between the reader and the main character. We cannot always be on the same page as her or even relate to her when it comes to some of her beliefs but the author sets Montgomery Sole up to be the kind of MC we feel for even if we don’t agree with everything she says/does/believes in.
Saving Montgomery Sole is a heartwarming novel and made especially so by all the adorable relationships. Montgomery Sole’s family is the actual cutest and so realistic. Her two moms are the best and I love the time Tamaki spends giving us their morning rituals to help us better understand how they all function as a family. From one mom running around helping the younger sister find her sock to the other mom yelling at them to get in the car. I also love Montgomery’s relationship with her sister. They fight and disagree more often than not and I really enjoyed that. Also Montgomery had some awesome-sauce friends who were the bomb.com.
One of my favorite things about this book was the way it explored religion. Montgomery Sole has a very complicated relationship with religion and is, to a certain extent, frightened of it. The book poses some very interesting questions about religion in a way that isn’t shaming but also isn’t full of rainbows and unicorns. Basically important discussions are had which is awesomesauce.
This book is unfortunately not perfect and Montgomery suffered from ‘not like the other girls’ syndrome. Montgomery can be different but there was shaming involved which made me uncomfortable. This book also reads more like a middle grade novel than young adult and given Montgomery’s age, I think the book might have made a bigger impact if the book was more YA than MG.
Overall though, this is definitely a book worth reading and I would recommend it. It’s short, sweet and kind of really amazing.
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