Who's That Ghoulfriend (Monster High #3) by Gitty Daneshvari
Prior to Reading
I just picked up my copy of "Who's That Ghoulfriend?" and need to say two things before I read past the eighth word.
First, my local Barnes & Noble had this in what I am pretty sure is the wrong place. This book was under "Paranomal Teen Romance." "Paranormal" I get, more or less, because the characters are ghosts and vampires and things of that nature, even though the characters mostly behave like human kids. The "Teen" and "Romance," however, seem to be inaccurate. The series reads and is laid out like they are for kids up to maybe 12 or 13 and so far there are only crushes and the vaguest suggestion of possible future romance for the Ghouls.
Second, there are currently two lines of tie-in toys for the "13 Wishes" movie. One is just called "13 Wishes" and one is called "Haunt the Casbah." In connection with these toys, there are two new characters -- Gigi Grant (the daughter of a Genie) and Twyla (the daughter of the Boogey (sic) Man). The movie hasn't come out yet (it won't be out until October 8), but the toys have. Will Gigi and Twyla turn up in this book? Will the events of the as-yet-unreleased "13 Wishes" movie be referenced? Let's read the book and find out.
Now that I've read the book, I still argue that this is not a teen paranomal romance, but I was wrong about the toy references. I actually forgot all about a toy line that came out at about the same time as the "Scaris, City of Frights" toys. This line was called "Picture Day." Sure enough, picture day does take place in the continuity of this book, though the characters are not wearing the clothes in the Picture Day line, and for some reason, Draculaura can have her picture taken in the book (the box for the doll actually says that she cannot be photographed).
But now I'm getting ahead of myself.
When we last left the world of Monster High, Headmistress Bloodgood had disappeared and a note was found laying the blame on the normies. Additionally, the Ghouls found out that Miss Flapper has been working with a spider monster of some sort, who has been hiding in the attic above the Ghouls' room.
The Ghouls, suspecting that Miss Flapper is up to no good, do not believe for a second that normies kidnapped their headmistress. They believe that Miss Flapper and the spider monster did it. As a result, they spend the majority of the duration of this book looking for clues. They begin in the spider monster's lair.
In the spider monster's lair, they find a number of clues, including the spider monster's name, Wydowna. It turns out that Wydowna is a talented fashion designer in her own right and she has a pet fly, known as "Shoo." A Wydowna doll was offered at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con International. Will one be for general sale in the future? The folks at Mattel are apparently not saying. (Update November 12, 2016, yes, they did make a Wydowna doll. Apparently she was not terrifically popular, as they just released the one doll and she hasn't appeared in any of the doll lines released since then).
In addition to getting some details on Wydowna, including Rochelle being overwhelmed by Wydowna's talent as a weaver, they find another list of names. On this list are a number of the parents of Monster High's students along with the headmistress and Robecca's father, Hexiciah Steam. This leads the Ghouls to wrangle invitations to the homes of Clawdeen, Frankie, Deuce, Draculaura, and Ghoulia. We see their visits to Frankie's and Deuce's homes. Later, Deuce tells Rochelle that he overheard his mother saying that the Ghouls were spies from some sort of society.
They ask Mr. Mummy if he knows of any secret societies in the monster world, and he tells them that there is a rumor of a society that believes that some monsters are better than others. Based on this discovery, they revisit the Crybrary -- the library hidden behind the Absolutely Deranged Scientist Laboratory.
Meanwhile, anti-normie sentiments are on the rise among the student body. Operetta has written a new song, "Give Us Back Our Rockin' Headmistress, Normies." Miss Flapper arrives at school disheveled and claims that she was attacked by normies. The Ghouls and, interestingly, Miss Sue Nami, don't believe for a moment that the normies took Headmistress Bloodgood.
I really expected the plot to be resolved in this book. I was therefore very surprised that the plot actually got more complicated. Despite a few head-scratching moments, I loved it.