DELICATE MONSTERS Review

I was CRAZY excited to receive a NetGalley ARC of DELICATE MONSTERS by Stephanie Kuehn. I adored CHARM & STRANGE, and she has such a great and personable online presence. She also did an interview on First Draft Podcast with Sarah Enni that I adored. Here’s the Goodreads synopsis:

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.

When I read that for the first time I was all *GRABBY HANDS* and then the cover was released and OMG. SO PRETTY.
It’s hard to explain my feelings about this book, because you can’t really say you enjoyed it. It went places. Places that most books don’t go.
I love dark stories, with questionable characters. I love reading from the perspective of people who are just antagonists, who know what they are doing is wrong and yet can’t stop themselves. Kuehn understands the human mind so well, and because of how twisty/twisted CHARM & STRANGE was, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into.
I didn’t.
This book is easily one of the darkest I have ever read, and I found it so fascinating. I was engrossed. Like with CHARM AND STRANGE, I didn’t put the book down until it was finished–and afterward I had to sit there and think about what the eff I just read.
This may not be a good fit for some people. I loved it in an I-see-what-you-did-there-and-it-makes-me-uncomfortable-but-I’m-in-awe-of-your-skill kind of way. It portrays mental illness, sex, and abuse in very graphic terms that are hands-down, undeniably hard to read.
I found it so compelling.
Kuehn has a writing style that I can’t get enough of. She can portray dark characters in a way that makes me desperate to see how their stories end. In the case of DELICATE MONSTERS, I never saw that ending coming, but I adored it. It is pretty open-ended, so if that’s not your thing, you have been warned. But I love a good open-ended conclusion, so…
READ THIS BOOK. LOVE THIS BOOK. I know I did.
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