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June 23, 2015 • Cee • Reviews

delicate monsters

Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn  
June 9, 2015
St. Martin’s Griffin
Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository
* Book courtesy of St. Martin’s Press

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.

myreview

I received this book for free from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “A rope course was a shitty place for self-discovery.”

What you can always expect from Stephanie Kuehn’s books: a riveting mindfuck. That is what Delicate Monsters is to a T.

Delicate Monsters is a dark and disturbing exploration of three messed up teenagers—Sadie Su, Emerson Tate, and Miles Tate—who harbor secrets that are extremely unsettling and haunts them every day of their lives. Those secrets won’t stay hidden for long, not with Sadie’s arrival back in her hometown. You’re in for a mindfuck ride, guys.

Read more »





May 20, 2015 • Cee • Letters

Dear Stephanie Kuehn and Delicate Monsters,

Oh boy, oh boy. Delicate Monsters sounds amazingly messed up.

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.Goodreads

Read more »





May 14, 2014 • Cee • Waiting on Wednesday

wowfestivo

Waiting On is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

stephanie kuehn - complicitComplicit by Stephanie Kuehn
June 24, 2014
St. Martin’s Griffin
Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Two years ago, sixteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile detention for burning down their neighbor’s fancy horse barn. The whole town did. Because Crazy Cate Henry used to be a nice girl. Until she did a lot of bad things. Like drinking. And stealing. And lying. Like playing weird mind games in the woods with other children. Like making sure she always got her way. Or else.

But today Cate got out. And now she’s coming back for Jamie.

Because more than anything, Cate Henry needs her little brother to know the truth about their past. A truth she’s kept hidden for years. A truth she’s not supposed to tell. 

Trust nothing and no one as you race toward the explosive conclusion of this gripping psychological thriller from the William C. Morris Award-winning author of Charm & Strange.

Why I’m waiting?

I absolutely adored Stephanie Kuehn’s first book, Charm & Strange, so I’m obviously going to be excited for Complicit.

Firstly, that cover is insanely gorgeous. I love the match and the edges burning and the boy in smoke. It’s such a very powerful cover. I couldn’t help but go, “well, damn” when I saw it.

Secondly, that synopsis gets me pumped up. And now she’s coming back for Jamie. Eeeek. I am sooo ready for the sibling dynamic. I’m not usually a fan of psychological thrillers, but there’s something about Stephanie Kuehn’s writing and storytelling abilities that make me hold my hands out and ask for more.

What books are you waiting on?





September 3, 2013 • Cee • Reviews

stephanie kuehn - charm & strangeCharm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
June 11, 2013
St. Martin’s Griffin
Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

When you’ve been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . . .

Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself.

He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy.The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.

He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable.

Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present.

Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying. myreview

First sentence: “I don’t feel the presence of God here.”

You know a book is good when the first sentence hits you in the face, leaving you in awe. I was pretty much like that the entire time I was reading the book. This is one of those books that continues to resonate in my mind like I’m still turning stones over, trying to make sense of it all by rereading it and searching for foreshadowing.

Charm & Strange is difficult to talk about without giving away too much of what happens. It’s a bizarre, yet powerful story that is told from a male’s point of view, and that switches between the past (“antimatter”) and the present (“matter”). In the past, Andrew Winston Winters (frequently called “Win”) is a ten year old boy who is forced to spend his summer at his grandparent’s place with his older brother, Keith. Things occur during this part that makes us, the readers, see why Win would react and deal with it the way he did later on in the story. In the present, Win is a sixteen year old at a boarding school in Vermont, hiding secrets of his past. He’s a loner, choosing to avoid any socialization with his fellow classmates, but despite that, he attracts the attention of a new transfer student, Jordan Herrera and his former roommate, Lex Emil, Win’s former roommate, who both show concern for Win’s well-being. In both parts, Win struggles with thoughts of “badness” (of violence and of shame) that threaten to take him over at times.

This book is incredibly misleading and frustrating, in a good way though. I didn’t know what to expect since the narrative is framed in a way that doesn’t reveal too much of Win’s secrets. I didn’t know what was going on half the time, but by the end, everything hit me like a ton of bricks. (Only one word was left in my mind when I finished it: “Shhhiiiiiiiiittttttt.”) It left me reeling and pondering over Win and how powerful the human mind is.

Stephanie Kuehn did a wonderful job at keeping the suspense and portraying sensitive issues (she uses an interesting metaphor for Win’s plight). You can say that this story is a character study on the human mind and how it copes with tragedy/trauma/loss. A child’s mind can only take so much before it eventually shuts down and represses everything or masks it into something they can understand. When you start reading, you can’t help this overwhelming sadness come over you. You just know that something bad has happened, but you don’t know what. You just keep turning the pages.

Just know that this book is not light nor is it paranormal. It deals with sensitive issues (like abuse, suicide, incest).

If I had to describe Charm & Strange in a sentence to convince you to read it…I’d say, it’s “a truly confusing, strange, yet poignant and heartbreaking book, where you don’t know what’s going on with the protagonist, but as the story continues to build, it sucks you in because it’s a big mindfuck, and you question your own sanity for staying up until five in the morning trying to finish this book.” I know I’m keeping it extremely vague, but you should go read it. Experience it yourself. Just prepare yourself…just a bit.

gradeB