Girls, friendships, curfew, homework, his Mom’s terrible cooking...life is really complicated for young monster detective Will Allen! In the fourth installment in the Chronicles of the Monster Detective Agency series, Will Allen and the Terrible Truth by Jason Edwards, Will finds that his monster fighting tools, the “RevealeR” and “Monster Scope” have lost their powers. He turns to Bigelow, his “monster-detective” mentor for help, but Bigelow will only tell him that everything he needs to fight monsters is inside of himself.
The three cases Will tackles in this book may be his toughest yet. First, Rhonda, who comes from a long line of beauty queens and is afraid she’s too fat, comes to Will (who can’t stand girls) looking for help with her mirror “monster.” Next, Will has to solve a case for Gerald, a stuck-up rich kid who is caught up in the negative influence of the cool kids. Finally, Will must find the source of his monster fighting power so that he can face his own monster. Will he discover a way to help Rhonda and Gerald? Will he find the courage and confidence to defeat his own monster?
I found Will Allen and the Terrible Truth to be a very fast and captivating read - I didn’t want to put it down. The illustrations by Jeffrey Friedman and text by Jason Edwards combined to paint a vivid picture of the characters. I really enjoyed how the author combined a fun monster detective story with lessons about loyalty, forgiveness, bravery, and honesty. Kids who read this book will learn that it’s important to be unique, to stand up for what they believe in, and to be open-minded about themselves and others. This book could be read on its own, but because it builds on earlier books in Chronicles of the Monster Detective Agency series, I would recommend reading books 1-3 first. I think that this book would appeal to beginning chapter book readers all the way up to 10 or 11 year olds.