Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on June 9th 2015
Genres: Young Adult
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.
“Being strong doesn’t necessarily mean not being scared.”
Stephanie Kuehn, dear readers, is crazy–in an awesome crazy-brilliant kind of way. She doesn’t shy away from all the nitty gritty scenes–on the contrary, she even dives into them further. She’ll make you feel squeamish about the book’s graphic details in the way that she isn’t at all squeamish to write about as an author. That takes serious skill, my friends.
If I had to describe this book in just a single word, it would definitely be maddening. I could say it’s dark, scary, or maybe even just fuck (because I’m eloquent like that), but maddening seems to be the perfect term for me. The things that happened in this book made me a bit paranoid, see. It’ll just mess with your brain and make you think things like:
Who can I trust?
Is s/he telling the truth?
What the heck is going to happen next?!
SOMEONE TELL ME SOMETHING REAL!
This is probably because the book’s narrated by THREE unreliable main characters. All three of them have incredibly different, easy-to-differentiate personalities, and you’re never sure of what their true intentions really are.
“Disturbed. I’m a disturbed person. That’s what I am.”
These characters think dark things, and they are dark characters. You’re going to bite your nails and shudder with every move they make, and every line they speak.
“Nothing’s wrong with being bad. It’s like being honest or crying at the end of a sad movie. Sometimes it just happens.”
This book’s also incredibly HONEST. It tackled bullying, fetishes, mental illness, suicide–all of those things that happen in real life that some authors don’t want to delve into. But Kuehn did it, and she did it well. Fabulously, even.
And that ending, y’all! I was not expecting it at all (but it’s the PERFECT ending). There wasn’t a particular moment where I went, “Holy shit!”–it was more of a gradual change for me. I slowly realized things as the characters did, and my eyes were extremely wide by the time the book ended.
The only reason, really, that I didn’t give this book a higher rating was because of the writing style. It was so hard for me to get into, and I have to admit that my eyelids drooped a few times while reading. A friend of mine told me that it’s just because I was a Kuehn virgin before Delicate Monsters popped my cherry, so maybe it’s just an “it’s not you, it’s me” thing.
Overall, I still highly recommend this book if you want to get into the dirty world of Sadie, Miles and Emerson, and to see the world in a different light… *insert an evil laugh here*