Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

23014725This review was written by: B
Received: ARC from Publisher
Publication Date of Book: June 2015
Pages: 240
Stars: 4.5/5

The things that we love tell us what we are.
-St. Thomas Aquinas

GoodReads' Summary:
From the Morris-Award winning author of Charm and 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 the 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.

My thoughts:
I think that I can safely say that I'm in shock over Delicate Monsters; I literally have no idea what to say.  I suppose that I shouldn't be surprised that Stephanie Kuehn wrote another stunningly prodigious novel that managed to leave me speechless, an occurrence that rarely happens.  However, I will try my best to form coherent sentences as I attempt to describe Kuehn's gripping new release.    

Delicate Monsters is equally dark, mysterious, eerie, and bizarre. Throughout the book, we gradually get to know three deeply troubled individuals: Sadie Su, Emerson Tate, and Miles Tate.  Sadie is an agitator who loves to create trouble, inflicting suffering and pain upon whoever crosses her path.  She's an unfiltered manipulator who doesn't listen to anyone.  Emerson is almost like the "golden boy" of this story.  He loves his mother, is a decent basketball player, and is a seemingly overall good teen, but he possesses a darkness within himself that's hidden and buried deep beneath his skin.  No one has any idea about who he really is or exactly what he did during his childhood, except Sadie.  Miles, my personal favorite, is small, sickly, and frightened.  Under constant bullying, Miles is always alone; no one would protect him even if they wanted to.  Together, these unsettling individuals create three separate perspectives that intertwine and unfold before your very eyes into something terribly distressing.     

This psychological contemporary kept me engaged; I never wanted to put it down.  The further into the story I got, the darker it became, an aspect that I truly loved about Delicate Monsters.  Nothing was held back.  I was shocked time and time again by unveiled revelations.  Mysteries were built upon mysteries until they all came tumbling down, releasing an avalanche of despair on my heart.  I do have to warn you, now, that this book is not for the weak of heart.  It's gritty and consuming.  It also delves into mental illnesses and social issues that are sometimes hard to deal with.

Kuehn's characters are undoubtedly enthralling and uniquely distinct.  They have layers that are slowly pealed back, chapter by chapter, so that we can see who they truly are little by little.  You think that you know them, but you don't.  It's unimaginable to even fathom the depths of their souls.  Mixing up who they are is impossible because the author does such a fantastic job of inserting an exceptional sharpness to each one of them.  Her writing is also dreadfully beautiful.  Kuehn is not afraid to think outside the box.  She is willing to tell a story like no other, no matter how traumatic or disturbing it is.

I have to admit, I've been having a hard time accepting the ending to Delicate Monsters, but I'm slowly coming to terms with it.  It definitely fits the story, but I'm left with an ever wondering mind.  However, I highly recommend this book to YA psychological fans everywhere!  It's beautiful, memorable, addicting, and haunting.           

If you enjoyed this book, you may also like:

23203744    22396591    16045088


Monday, June 8, 2015

Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun

This review was written by: B
Received: Blogging for Books
Publication Date of Book: January 2014
Pages: 277 (Paperback Edition)
Stars: 3.5/5

Summary found on the paperback version of the book:
Insomnia has claimed everyone Biggs knows. Even his beloved wife, Carolyn, has succumbed to the telltale red-rimmed eyes, slurred speech, and cloudy mind before disappearing into the quickly collapsing world. Yet Biggs can sleep, and dream, so he sets out to find her.

He ventures out into a world ransacked by mass confusion and desperation, where he meets others struggling against the tide of sleeplessness.  Chase and his buddy Jordan are devising a scheme to live off their drug-store lootings; Lila is a high school student wandering the streets in an owl mask, no longer safe with her insomniac parents; Felicia abandons the sanctuary of a sleep research center to try to protect her family and perhaps reunite with Chase, an ex-boyfriend.  All around, sleep has become an infinitely precious commodity.  Money can't buy it, no drug can touch it, and there are those who would kill to have it.

Kenneth Calhoun has written a brilliantly realized and utterly riveting depiction of a world gripped by madness, one that is vivid, and strange, and profoundly moving.

My review:
Black Moon is a novel riddled with insomnia, survival, and insanity.  Calhoun's engrossing writing stunningly depicts a beautiful yet horrifically frightening reality of life without sleep, shedding a dark light on the possibility of a world gone mad from something entirely different than the common Robert Frost theory of fire and ice.  Life has become a constant struggle.  Not many people are able to sleep, and the ones who can are hunted and murdered by the ones who cannot.  Each chapter took me on a wild journey that was captivating to read through even though it was mentally straining.  Happy endings are not always possible, and Black Moon definitely proved that sentiment time and time again.

The cast of characters in this novel were plentiful and equally their own persons.  Calhoun went out of his way to mold different ages, genders, and psyches into his story so that everyone was evenly represented. I especially enjoyed when specific characters unexpectedly crossed paths with one another.  The constant back and forth chapters between the different characters’ story lines were also welcomed; it effectively added to the suspense of the entire novel.  However, I was greatly discouraged when a specific character was dropped.  I had no idea what had happened to them and no way of ever finding out what became of them.  In fact, there were quite a bit of unanswered questions by the end of   Black Moon, and I felt as though not enough closure was given to me.  For this reason, I did not feel fully satisfied with the novel itself.  

For me, one of the more appealing aspects of Black Moon was the reading experience.  Many times the author dove into the psyches of insomniacs and wrote from their perspectives.  In fact, it was almost as if I was actually looking into the mind and stream of consciousness of an actual individual suffering from sleep deprivation.  This exposure was both spellbinding and haunting.  However, even though I enjoyed this novel, I felt as though it drug on at times, and I believe that quite a few sections felt similar to each other and were almost repeats but from another character's perspective.  Also, some of the insomniacs’ story lines become muddled and confusing to follow due to countless incoherent thoughts; however, I realize that this was definitely part of the author’s intent.  In the end, I believe this book to be a worthy read, but it was admittedly not the best that I have ever come by.  

Please note that I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review review.

Other Information:
Author Bio: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/177469/kenneth-calhoun/
More Info: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/228170/black-moon-by-kenneth-calhoun/

If you liked this book, you may also enjoy:

10365343    20454977    13330761