my aunt is a monster

As a reader I prefer standalone books, but it can be a little harder to keep track of an author if you don’t have the easy classification of a series to follow. One new-to-me author from a couple of years ago, whom I loved (and was determined to follow!) was Reimena Yee. Her newest middle grade graphic novel, My Aunt is a Monster, is not directly related to her debut, Séance Tea Party – which I enjoyed very much – but it has some of the same fantastical charm (and of course Reimena’s whimsical storytelling and artistic style!).

my aunt is a monster by reimena yee book cover
Safia thought that being blind meant she would only get to go on adventures through her audiobooks. This all changes when she goes to live with a distant and mysterious aunt, Lady Whimsy, who takes Safia on the journey of a lifetime!

While the reclusive Lady Whimsy stops an old rival from uncovering the truth behind her disappearance, Safia experiences parts of the world she had only dreamed about. But when an unlikely group of chaotic agents comes after Whimsy, Safia is forced to confront the adventure head-on. For the first time in her life, Safia is the hero of her own story, and she must do what she can to save the day.

And maybe find some friends along the way.

Reimena Yee returns with an all-new graphic novel filled with action, magic, and family.
My Aunt Is a Monster explores how anybody can do anything as long as they are given the chance and have the right people behind them.

Safia Haziz, a blind girl who dreams of visiting the far-off places in the audiobooks she reads, once had a happy family. When tragedy struck, she was placed with her mysterious Aunt Whimsy, a famous (retired) adventurer – who happens to have a monstrous secret. Safia finally gets her chance to travel when Aunt Whimsy discovers that her rival rediscovered her discovery (yes, that’s a mouthful), and they set off to protect the world from secrets that should remain hidden. Along the way, Safia will make a friend, Aunt Whimsy must confront her nature and stop running away from the world, and everyone must unite and use their strengths to save the day!


Things I loved: the disability representation in the book, Yee’s humor (look no farther than the family pet Lord Fauntleroy, an invisible animal no one can identify), and the variety of texts within the text: newspaper clippings, magazine covers and articles, maps, etc. I also appreciated Yee’s inclusion of a complicated friendship – one where the characters do not know everything about each other, but connect and want good things for each other anyway. Also, the charming and ridiculous institutions in the story made me smile every time – who wouldn’t, with names like the Bureau of Suspicious Intent (mission: sow chaos) and the Institute of Extremely Found Things in Lost History.


I also loved that there’s a Cecilia in the story, even if she was Pineapple Tart (so-named for her favorite dessert), Aunt Whimsy’s nemesis! Aunt Whimsy’s inventive wardrobe choices made me want to stock up on flowy blouses, tailored slacks, and neckties of all shapes and sizes. One thing I found especially sweet was that both an adult AND a child had a lesson to learn in this story – a good reminder that we are all on a lifelong learning journey.


Reimena Yee’s art is a delightful mix of thickly drawn lines and bright colors without shadows, which give the comic a 2D, classic storybook feel. This feels just right for the intended audience’s age range and tastes, but it’s fun to take in as an adult, too. There’s nothing muted about this book! Yee draws and colors her art online (except for thumbnailing), and shares a fun and informational look at her process and timeline for creating a graphic novel in the backmatter, which will interest aspiring artists.


In all, My Aunt is a Monster is FUN, silly, pretty, and a breath of fresh air. I’ve never read a graphic novel quite like it!


Recommended for: middle grade graphic novel readers, fans of fantastical stories, and anyone with a large imagination and a hankering to explore the unknown.


Fine print: I received a digital ARC of this title for review consideration from the publisher. I did not receive any compensation for this post.

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