Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Review: Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

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I received this book for free from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Delicate Monsters by Stephanie KuehnDelicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on June 9th 2015
Genres: Mystery, YA
Source: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Buy on Amazon

From the Morris-Award winning author of Charm & Strange, comes a twisted and haunting tale about three teens uncovering dark secrets and even darker truths about themselves.

When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family’s California vineyard estate. Here, she’s meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she’s meant to do a lot of things. But it’s hard. She’s bored. And when Sadie’s bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.

Emerson Tate’s a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That’s why Emerson’s not happy Sadie’s back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won’t ever let him.

Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That’s what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past.

But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny. Maybe it’s all of theirs.

I have loved every book by Stephanie Kuehn so far, and this one is no exception. Her books are so… bizarre and unique and wonderfully compelling. You feel as if you’re being played with, as if the book is making sure you’re never quite certain of what’s happening, except for the fact that it’s terrible and disturbing and wholly messed up!

In Delicate Monsters we’ve get ourselves 3 perspectives, and while I fear this would be a bit much – multiple perspectives can be so tricky – it ended up being the perfect choice for this story. Each perspective is very much distinct, with voices you could not confuse for another even if you tried. We meet Sadie first who we quickly learn is trouble. She’s angry and bored with everything in life and likes to pass the time by being corrupt and just plain vicious. She’s candid and rude and, personally, I found her interesting and quite entertaining – though I would never want to befriend the likes of her. Then we have Emerson who starts out as a pretty normal, likeable guy… until you get to know his darker side. And it’s a really deranged side, let me tell you. The third is Miles. You can tell he’s different from the start. He’s a sickly person who seems a bit mentally unstable with his talks of seeing the future and stuff. He intrigued me from the beginning, though; you can’t help but want to know what the hell is wrong with him.

Like in her previous books, Kuehn has added a good dose of mystery that moves along quite nicely, unraveling at just the perfect moments. You can’t ever really trust what you think you know. The more you learn about these characters, the clearer the real story gets – clearer and more horrific. It’s the kind of book that will work for some and not others, though. It’s a novel that’s miles outside the box. It’s strange and eccentric and makes you feel uneasy throughout. Me, I think it’s brilliant. I loved this explicit look at potential psychopathic behaviour and the bold, unflinching nature of the plot. I was not, however, a big fan of the ending. Don’t get me wrong, though, it’s kind of the perfect ending for what this novel is trying to be, but I was left rather rattled and worried – not the kind of resolution I expected, particularly with the whole visions thing. It’s the kind of ending where the author’s telling you “you KNOW what happens now, don’t you? Huh!? Huh!?” In a way that’s cryptic, while also being so final. Or maybe I’m just in denial.

Complicit, remains my favorite Kuehn book so far, but all three novels are so unusual and brilliant, but evil to its reader.. wonderfully evil! This one is the story of three messed up individuals whose lives intertwine in appalling ways. Kuehn is the kind of author you must experience at least once. Those who love her books will undoubtedly become forever fans.


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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10 Responses to “Review: Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn”

  1. Suzanne van Rooyen

    A new Stephanie Kuehn!?!?!? How did I not know about this! *pre-ordered right now* Loved all her books so far! And this sounds amazing!

  2. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I’ve never read a book by her, but I really need to. Everyone enjoys her books so much. I think I would too. I like that you described this one as bizarre and I’m glad that the 3 POVs were well written.
    Great review, Giselle!

  3. Haniya

    Giselle, I absolutely love your reviews! The way of your writing reviews is all so good! Im adding this book to my tbr list 🙂

  4. Hannah

    This was such an absolute, utter mindfuck, and I loved every minute of it. Stephanie Kuehn is the queen of psychological thriller-type novels.

  5. Emily

    I’ve heard so many things about Stephanie Kuehn! Almost all from you 😛 I did pick up Complicit, unfortunately I was too busy to finish it, but it was MIND BOGGLING. I absolutely loved it! 😀 She has this way of twisting the plot around her finger and suddenly all the little pieces fall into place! I can’t wait to pick this one up too 🙂 Excellent review, Giselle! 😀

  6. Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    Faye has been singing praises for Kuehn for so long, and now that I know you loved this too… Gah! I love those books where you don’t really know if you should trust anyone or believe anything you see, so I know this is totally my kind of book. 🙂 The way you described the ending is scaring me a little though… o_o Wonderful review, Giselle!

  7. Alexia @ Adventures in Reading

    Complicit is still my favorite of hers, but I do need to read this one. I have an e-ARC for review and have been waiting for the right moment to read it. Her books are amazing and messed up and crazy. But, I know I’m probably going to enjoy this one just like I’ve enjoyed her others.