Some books weave dark and disturbing but thoroughly enticing
webs of narrative. Details and backstory are added at just the right
points. Just as you think you have the plot figured out new
information throws you off track. Stephanie Kuehn's Delicate Monsters
is a prime example of this subgenre. You will probably be hooked at
the first paragraphs:
"A ropes course was a shitty place for self-discovery.
Seventeen-year-old Sadie Su understood she was meant to think
otherwise, but (1) she had no interest in introspection and (2) even
if she did, what the hell was the point? This loamy godforsaken spot
in the Santa Cruz Mountains was a playground for perceived risk only.
Nothing here was real. Nothing was transformative.
True change required true danger."
As the story opens Sadie is completing a court mandated
wilderness camp. A prank of hers almost cost a classmate his life.
In fact it's the third time in four years she's been kicked out of a
boarding school. Now she's going back home to attend public school.
If she gets bored there's going to be trouble.
Emerson is not at all pleased to see Sadie in town. Way back
when they were kids they spent time together when his poor mother was
being a hospice nurse for his very rich grandfather. She's privy to a
part of his past he'd rather remain hidden.
Emerson has enough in the present to deal with. His father had
committed suicide awhile back. His little brother Miles is in and out
of the hospital with such frequency that their mother has been tried
on the suspicion that she was purposefully making him ill.
Miles, the sickly and fragile kid brother is also bullied
relentlessly at school. He has an ability to see the future. His
visions are terrifying.
Delicate Monsters is not only a vivid suspense story, but a
thought provoker. What evils lurk in the hearts of humans? You'll
come face to face with a few.
On a personal note, UMaine is out for a two week spring break. The
students are happy campers.
A great big shout out goes out to the students, faculty, and staff
enjoying their freedom.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod