Delicate Monsters

240p. ebook available. St. Martin's Griffin. Jun. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250063847.
Gr 10 Up—This novel centers on the convergence of the lives of Sadie, a damaged girl who enjoys causing others pain, and Emerson, a boy who's trying desperately to hide the dysfunction inside his family and himself. The novel follows Sadie as she arrives back in California wine country after being expelled from a series of far-flung and expensive boarding schools. Emerson is stunned by her reappearance and unprepared to face the past they shared, which only makes Sadie more interested in pursuing and taunting him. When a life-or-death crisis occurs, both of them must finally face reality, along with their demons. The emotional baggage of the main characters is never fully explained or resolved, but this will not bother teens who enjoy a briskly paced, high-adrenaline narrative full of parties, sex, and fast cars. Overall, Delicate Monsters is an enjoyable read but has no gripping moments or stunning surprises to make it stand up against more compelling novels, such as The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (Viking, 2014) or It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini (Miramax, 2006).
VERDICT For avid fans of the author and teens who enjoy honest and often dark tales.

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