Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Berube
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Summary from Goodreads:
The Blair Witch Project meets Imaginary Girls in this story of codependent sisterhood, the struggle to claim one’s own space, and the power of secrets
Sixteen-year-old Skye is done playing the knight in shining armor for her insufferable younger sister, Deirdre. Moving across the country seems like the perfect chance to start over.
In their isolated new neighborhood, Skye manages to fit in, but Deirdre withdraws from everyone, becoming fixated on the swampy woods behind their house and building monstrous sculptures out of sticks and bones.
Then Deirdre disappears.
And when something awful comes scratching at Skye’s window in the middle of the night, claiming she’s the only one who can save Deirdre, Skye knows she will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.
ARC received from Sourcebooks Fire at ALA Midwinter conference.
Oh this book! Some very mixed feelings about it. About half way through I thought for sure that I was going to be pretty “meh” about it, but then it really started to pick up, and by the end I was like, what the hell just happened! The ending totally changed my perspective on the characters and the story. So if you started this and put it down thinking that it wasn’t living up to your expectations, try to push through as the end will blow you away.
I would have to say that none of the characters in this book are very likable, but I think that might be the point. Deirdre, the sister that disappeared is certainly creepy, and annoying. I could have used a few more scenes with her and Skye together to really get a sense of who she was. Skye is totally not likable throughout the book. She also struggles with a lot of issues about some things that she has done in the past to protect her sister. This is quite the toxic sister relationship. I certainly don’t blame Skye for distancing herself from Deirdre, but she could have handled it much better.
I started off liking the kids that Skye was hanging out with at first. But as the plot played out, not so much. Sophie especially ended up being someone totally different. Kevin was an interesting character that while I never ended up liking, I certainly got him. There are a couple of great scenes between him and Skye where they truly come to understand each other. William was the most likable, he was a sweet guy who was totally into Skye, which doesn’t turn out well for him in the end.
The plot does start off a little slow. It could have used a bit more creepiness earlier on. There is also a lot of flashbacks which disrupted the flow a little bit, but was necessary to help establish Deirdre and Skye’s relationship. Some of the imagery was also hard to follow, I never did quite get a handle on the layout of their house or exactly what the creatures looked like. In the case of the creatures it was ok, it sort of lent to the creepiness but it was harder to picture them. Once the book really starts to take off, it becomes a very compelling read. There were a couple of things that shocked me, and I should warn you that the ending is not a happy one. The ending is very realistic though, I didn’t want there to be the typical everything works out and everyone is happy as this wasn’t a fairy tale.
Overall I was a bit disappointed in this book in the beginning. The creep factor needed to kick in earlier and there needed to be a few more scenes between Skye and Deirdre to really establish their relationship better. In the end though it ended being everything that I was expecting, but it was a bit slow getting there.
I looooved this book, but I understand that it’s going to be a mixed bag for a lot of folks, especially because the characters in the book are so unlikable.
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