July 16, 2015

Book Review: Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

Title: Delicate Monsters
Author: Stephanie Kuehn

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 was so very excited when I received a copy of this book.  I absolutely loved Kuehn's book Charm & Strange, so I couldn't wait to read this one.  

Here's the thing - when I finished I was left bewildered and lost.  This book is tough.  Very tough.  The characters are not your typical teens in any way.  Sadie is downright mean. I had no sympathy for her at all!  Emerson has some secrets that are quite shocking.  And Miles struggles all the way around.  Now all three are also dealing with some sort of mental illness, and that can't be left out of the equation.  I got that as I was reading, but I was hoping for some sort of resolution or hope at the end of the story for them.  I didn't feel that at all.  To be honest I left the book feel almost helpless.  And maybe that's what Kuehn wanted you to feel - to understand how hard it is help people and things don't always end in a positive way.  I just don't know, and I'm struggling with that.  

I keep reading other reviews of the book hoping to gleam some understanding of what I missed because I feel like I really missed something here.  I feel like there had to be some reason for me to meet these characters, watch their self-destructive behavior and leave them in such a place.  I just don't know what it is. As an English major it bothers me when I can't see the theme or reason for a story.  If you have insight I beg you to share it with me!!!!!

If you judge the success of a book by how much a book stays with you - this book was hugely successful.  But this is one time I would've rather had answers.  And I have to share that is review was hard for me to write because I wanted to love this book as much as I loved Charm & Strange.  

Heads up - there are some things in this book that might be difficult for some readers.  It is definitely for upper young adults.


  1. I’ve heard quite a few people say the same things... must be some book then! Need to check this one out soon...your review has made me super curious, lol. Great review!! :D

  2. Thanks for this review. I will take a pass on this but will look for Charm & Strange, which I haven't yet read.