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My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Vol. 1 (My Favorite Thing Is Monsters #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  6,472 Ratings  ·  1,029 Reviews
Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late ’60s Chicago, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is the fictional graphic diary of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, filled with B-movie horror and pulp monster magazines iconography. Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, while the interconnected stories of th ...more
Paperback, 414 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by Fantagraphics
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Matthew Speak Definitely teen at the earliest--and a mature teen at that. Probably 16 or older would be OK but depends on the maturity of the individual. It…moreDefinitely teen at the earliest--and a mature teen at that. Probably 16 or older would be OK but depends on the maturity of the individual. It contains rape, child prostitution, violence, sexuality, drug use, alcohol, and nudity, so parents should be involved and willing to discuss the more traumatic parts of the book with their teens.

Regardless of perceived maturity, I think pre-teen would be far too young for this subject matter.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
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Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to karen by: Jessica T.
oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for best graphic novel! what will happen?

chris ware called this book Absolutely astonishing. chris ware is not stephen king, strewing his blurbs all over town, and if he says something, you can trust it.

but if you need more convincing, here are some thoughts from someone who is not an industry superstar and hasn’t gotten much sleep lately.

this is truly one of the best books i have ever read, and i don’t mean just in the graphic novel category - i mean
Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
OMG! This book is awesome! It's freaking huge too. I have a picture of it next to my pen but it still doesn't do it justice. And it's heavy! I love it =)

Karen Reyes is a little girl that is trying to figure out what happened to her neighbor. She was a holocaust survivor that was killed.

The book is written in a notebook style by Karen with drawings and stories. The artwork is totally awesome! Karen draws herself as a werewolf <-- she could really be!

The story goes through her neighbor Anka'
David Schaafsma
11/18/17 Read three times in one year!? Second time taught, this time for Fall 2017 YA class. My vote for best graphic novel/comics series of the year.

7/18/17 I only read this long book--the first of a trilogy--in May, and now have reread it for a class on YA Graphic Novels with a focus on strong girl characters. Karen, the main character here, is from 10-12 in this book, so is a little young for YA, but this is not really a book for younger readers, either. It is a coming of age story, a murder
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic, mystery
First of all, that is the murder victim on the cover, not the protagonist.

I was slightly confused because her voice read so much younger than the woman depicted.

This was pretty amazing. The only criticism I have is that it was almost too much -- I felt like subtracting one issue or one character (for my choice I'd lose the (view spoiler)) would have made it feel less crowded.

Although I guess on some levels it was certainly inte
mark monday
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
the art: incredible. Ferris is able to do so much with her crosshatched ballpoint pen drawings. so many ranges of tone conveyed through color and detail. these dense and intricate illustrations were beautiful, horrible, realistic, fantastical, sweetly childlike, mournfully adult, hallucinatory, vivid, vibrant, and completely emotional. the art is so impressive! it was such a pleasure to swim in these waters. A+++++++

the story: Dickensian and therefore quite moving, but I had issues with it. lite
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The word 'aftermath' came to mind. I guess it means the time after something terrible happens when you do the math to figure out what has been added and what's been subtracted.

Believe the hype - this is an absolutely STUNNING book, an everything-rolled-into-one book, the graphic novel that all graphic novels will be measured against.
(And they will be found lacking.)

The only bummer?

It ends with a cliffhanger.

Emil Ferris, you had better be cross-hatching your butt off, working on the next volume.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Here's my spoiler free video review!

Oh. My. God. This book. THIS BOOK. I was completely blow away by this, and honestly I have a difficult time expressing in words just how much I love it.

First, the art. It's GORGEOUS. And messy. And sometimes difficult to look at. But that difficulty heightens the reading experience--you really feel like you're INSIDE our MC Karen's head (this is formatted as her journal, of sorts). The lined pages in conjunction with the art style can make reading the text p
Julie Ehlers
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Tell me, do I look different to you? That's weird, because I definitely feel different. I feel like yesterday morning I got invited to a party, and when I arrived I was shackled in a dark windowless basement where all I could hear was a scritchy noise that was probably mice or possibly rats or maybe the ghost of an Appalachian child asking for candy in a high-pitched tone that only faintly penetrated the walls of my prison. I was let out this morning. It was sunny when I went in but now it's ove ...more
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-abroad
The art in this graphic novel is spectacular, but the story, I'm afraid, I found disjointed and at times downright incomprehensible. It's about a young girl, Karen (who's obsessed with monsters, thus depicts herself as one) investigating the mysterious death of her neighbour. But it's also about the history of that neighbour, Anka, as told by the character herself in a series of recorded interviews: she's a Holocaust survivor, but her 'saviour' forced her to become a prostitute at the age of 12. ...more
So .... I set this graphic novel aside with a giant "thunk", waited for the circulation to return to my poor wrists, turned my "1-star" book reviewing music up and pounded out a strongly worded, grossly unfair and highly critical review. Which, read back, seemed like the incoherent ramblings of a belligerent hothead with a grudge against graphic novels.

Having calmed down since, I realise some of the responsibility has to fall on me as a reader, allowing myself to become bamboozled by glowing rev
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Char by: Ctgt
My Favorite Thing is Monsters is a gorgeously illustrated graphic novel.

Karen Reyes is a young girl coming of age in 1968 Chicago when her neighbor is murdered, her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, Martin Luther King is shot and the local mob boss goes to jail.

Peppered in between all that are Karen's notebook drawings of all kinds of things-her neighborhood, her brother and mom, and the covers of pulp magazines. She also likes to draw her version of popular paintings which her brother
Asghar Abbas
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing

My favorite thing is Monsters, too. It really is. Monsters, left all alone with my own kind, it's the only thing that keeps me going, you know. That and this new harvest moon, it is so lovely. It's a favorite as well, but not the girl who has a little bit of the moon still left in her name. Still that's not wrong. She's not a favorite. Not anymore. Nope. She's still cute though, but not my favorite.

I suppose I should thank Jeff Vandermeer for giving me the heads up for this graphic novel. But t
David Yoon
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
What Emil Ferris manages to do with a handful of colored pens is nothing short of incredible. Laid out on spiral bound notepaper it's a sprawling novel that does away with the traditional comic conventions of contained boxes and defined gutters. Words crawl up the sides of pages, images bleed into each other and carry across the persistent wire-bound fold. The way Ferris renders classic paintings in ink is jaw-dropping and she transitions to pulpy, classic monster comic covers just as easily. He ...more
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic
Set in Chicago, in the late 60s, this dazzling, graphic novel, is presented as a fictional diary, written by a ten year old named Karen. She has a devout adoration for monsters and envisions herself as a female werewolf, or were-girl, if you will. After a neighbor dies, mysteriously, Karen decided to do some sleuthing herself and finds herself navigating some dark, twisty, places, confronting the drug world, freaks and the Holocaust.
I would rather not divulge any more details but I will start hu
Matthew Hernandez
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read this book and become entranced by this graphic's one of a kind. My Favorite Thing is Monsters is smart, beautifully illustrated , and thoughtfully composed novel that I have ever experienced. Karen Reyes is the best monster you'll ever read...please devour and support books like these. It's worth borrowing from the library and then purchasing right after. Add this special book to your collection. I can't hardly wait for book two.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Never let anyone's darkness provoke you into your own midnight.

If you only read one graphic novel this year, make it this one.

Did you doodle in the margins of your notebook when you were a kid?
Yeah, me too. This book brings that memory right to the surface.

Loved everything about this book. Format, art and story all worked together to create a fantastic experience.

Format-actually looks like a notebook with wide ruled,lined paper including the hole punches.
Art-hatching and cross-hatching for very
Carol Tilley
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'll be reading this one again. Beautiful.
4 and a half stars.

"I guess that's the difference... A good monster sometimes gives somebody a fright because they are weird and looking fangy... A fact that is beyond their control... But bad monsters are all about control... They want the whole world to be scared so that bad monsters can call the shots..."

This book is completely unlike any other graphic novel I have ever read. First off, it's huge (over 400 pages) and it is not laid out like a traditional comic book; instead, its recreates the
Melissa Chung
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I first picked up this book simply because the illustrations were so beautiful. I continued reading for that reason alone. The story was a bit confusing at times and sad. I'm definitely interested in reading volume 2 when it comes out. Giving this graphic novel a 3.5 stars.

"My Favorite Thing is Monsters", is a graphic novel that takes place in 1967. Karen our main character is I want to say in middle school, but I could be wrong. She lives in the basement apartment of a run down building in a ru
Danny Caine
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I dare you to crack open Emil Ferris’s My Favorite Thing Is Monsters and not be immediately drawn in. Any page. Do it. The book is first and foremost gorgeous—Ferris turns the interior of a notebook into a lush, Bic-Pen-crosshatched explosion of emotional and expressive art. The story is good, too—a supernaturally inflected coming-of-age horror murder mystery set in turbulent late-sixties Chicago. It’s a big book, and fittingly, Ferris’s curious eye roams to many subjects—art, Greek myth, Nazis, ...more
So many thoughts in my head...!!!! This book was AMAZING. Some very mild hinting at plot points here, but nothing completely given away.

This book is a giant testament to READING OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE. Less than three years ago, I hadn't read a single graphic novel and scoffed at them as a certain type of book a certain type of person reads. I don't really know what type of person that was, except generally beneath me. I felt like, "I don't need pictures to read! I'm not a child! And I don't
Every so often an important graphic work comes along. Made by artists like Robert Crumb, Linda Barry, Chris Ware, Art Spiegelman, Jaime Hernandez and Dan Clowes; to name only a few. Love or hate these artists, you are forced to admit that they have somehow jarred you with great unique story telling and beautiful artwork that changes your perception of the world, how you think about your relationship to the world or in my case inspires creativity and how you make art. This is one of those works. ...more
Stewart Tame
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm always amazed when talents like Emil Ferris appear seemingly out of the blue. No shorter projects, stories in anthologies, or anything like that, just wham! with a great, huge graphic novel that's one of the best that I've read all year. Happy surprises like this are why I've been known to grab random graphic novels off the new arrivals shelf knowing nothing more about them than the fact that they're graphic novels.

First of all, this is just volume 1. I can only imagine how massive the entir
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic
I am always on the look out for my next graphic novel fix.
This one certainly delivered.

Just like the summary says, this is a journal done mostly in drawings by 10 year old Karen.
This was incredibly unconventional, it had me turning this sizeable book upside down to read all the captions. It had art, politics, history, race, sex (not one for the kiddies folks), family and so much more. It almost felt like a little too much at times, but that would be my only complaint.
It was insightful on many le
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was an easy five stars. When I first got this book I was kind of put off because it's not usually the type of graphic novel that I go for, but man am I glad I gave it a try. It was phenomenal. Not just the artwork which is flawless but the plot, the characters, the subtle and not so subtle metaphors, the humor, the tragedy. It has everything. I loved this book and would gladly recommend it to anyone.
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lena by: karen
Shelves: karen, murder-mystery

This was a beautiful book to read, this was a painful book to read. Karen Reyes leads a difficult life in 1960s Chicago. She copes with her love of all things horror, drawing, and trying to understand the mysteries around her.

Central to the story is the murder, suicide?, of Karen’s friend and neighbor Anka Silverberg.

Anka had a rough life. More like the worst I’ve ever heard. The holocaust was not the worst part of her life - Yes, that bad.

It was, at times, emotionally difficult to see little
11811 (Eleven)
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
An easy five stars for the artwork and presentation. The story, clever as it was, wasn't really my thing. 3.5 stars overall.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic
This might be the best book I've ever read.
Elizabeth A
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphix, 2018
This graphic novel will make my best of 2018 reads for sure. I am simply staggered by the talent on display in this debut work, and cannot wait to see what else Ms. Ferris creates.

This is physically a big and heavy book, and it also covers big and heavy topics. What you hold in your hands is the illustrated diary of 10 year old Karen Reyes, who is bi-racial, and lives with her Mom and older brother in Chicago, circa late 1960s. When an upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, is found murdered, Karen
Jan 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I have conflicting feelings about this one. The story, though much darker and heavier than I expected, was engaging and well-written. The artwork is gorgeous. Absolutely stunning. Ferris is obviously talented, but the pages are so busy and the book is so huge, heavy, and awkward, that I almost dreaded cracking it open each time. I doubt I’ll read volume two.
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BooktubeSFF Awards: My Favorite Thing Is Monsters Readalong! 14 120 Mar 12, 2018 09:28AM  
ABQ Graphic Novel...: * August 2017 DOUBLE THE COMIC FUN! 3 18 Sep 02, 2017 09:12AM  

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“Like I said, basements usually smell like surrealism. But kitchens and gardens almost always smell like impressionism.

Because our kitchen is part of a basement apartment, it smells like the early impressionism of Vincent Van Gogh - all big strokes of umber and ochre - a peppery greasy I-love-you smell.”
More quotes…