Monsters #1

All These Monsters by Amy Tintera

Publication Date: July 7, 2020

Summary from NetGalley:

Seventeen-year-old Clara is ready to fight back. Fight back against her abusive father, fight back against the only life she’s ever known, and most of all, fight back against scrabs, the earth-dwelling monsters that are currently ravaging the world. So when an opportunity arises for Clara to join an international monster-fighting squad, she jumps at the chance.
When Clara starts training with her teammates, however, she realizes what fighting monsters really means: sore muscles, exhaustion, and worst of all, death. Scrabs are unpredictable, violent, and terrifying. But as Clara gains confidence in her battle skills, she starts to realize scrabs might not be the biggest evil. The true monsters are the ones you least expect.

ARC provided by HMH Books for Young Readers via NetGalley for an honest review.

I have read many books by this author and have enjoyed them all, for their complex characters and world building. I expected this one to be just as complex and was not disappointed. It is a fast read with lots of action and well done fight scenes. But there is a lot of character development and complex themes tackled as well.

Clara is our sole narrator and you feel for her right from the start. She is complex, she comes from an abusive home which colors every decision that she makes. She joins the monster fighting squad because she feels that it is the only way she can get away from her abusive father and weak mother and make a life for herself. To her, choosing to fight monsters, and risking death on a daily basis is better than what she left behind.

But Clara soon finds that there are other benefits to joining a team. Friendship, something she never risked at home, becomes very important even though she doesn’t share much about herself with her teammates. Clara also becomes a very important part of the team, even though her squad is considered the weakest and she one of the weakest members, they really aren’t. Once they become a you-tube sensation because of one of the team members videos of their training and fighting, I think they all begin to see themselves in a better light and not just a bunch of incompetent kids. And this give Clara the strength to do what needs to be done to defeat not only the scrabs, but also the other monsters she finds around herself and the team.

Although we get to know Clara the best, there are some other teammates that we get to know well. I really liked Edan and even though their friendship starts off a bit rocky, he becomes such a good companion for Clara, that I was rooting for him to survive every fight. Patrick is also a good friend and kind-hearted. There are girls on the team as well, but Clara has a harder time relating to them, but eventually comes to respect them all and calls them all friends.

The plot does move quickly and tackles many tough themes, most notably kids from abusive homes and whether or not they are destined to be like their parents. Clara makes some difficult choices, especially when it come to her first romance with Julian. There is also a complex plot around the scrabs and what another group of mercenaries are doing with them. So this is not a light and fluffy read, but it is one that will keep you turning the pages and staying up late to finish.

This was such a good read, with some great characters and a fascinating plot. The scrabs sound truly terrifying and not something I would want to come face to face with. I am really looking forward to the next book and finding out how Clara defeats all of the monsters around her.

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