Delicate Monsters

Delicate Monsters Book Cover Delicate Monsters
Stephanie Kuehn
St. Martin's Griffin
June 9, 2015

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.
Delicate Monsters is Stephanie Kuehn at her finest.



Let me begin by saying that I have absolutely no problem with reading dark and twisted things, nor do I condone censorship.  Please keep that in mind as you read my review of “Delicate Monsters”.

I would have given “Delicate Monsters” one star, as opposed to two, had it not been a story with potential.  It didn’t live up to it, but I reserve the ones that are a mess from the start.

The book’s downfall is the misleading description.  Yes, everything in the description is accurate, but considering the graphic content that involves everything from animal abuse to necrophilia, it does seem like there should be a bit more warning in the summary.  It’s like if you bought a ticket to see the old “Poltergeist” and ended up seeing a marathon of all of the “Saw” films.

Additionally, it seems grossly miscategorized as young adult, and I can already imagine the shock of librarians working with a limited budget ordering “Delicate Monster” based on the description, publisher, and author popularity only to end  up with some severely traumatized readers. With the rampant underfunding of libraries these days, librarians have to make difficult decisions that often lead to ordering books that appeal to the widest audience possible, and I do not think they will find it here.

In terms of the book itself, the characters are not meant to be likable, but the way they are written leaves them flat.  While what is going on and how it will end is evident early in the book, the plot could have delivered a much more exciting journey than it did.  Somehow a book about a sociopath and a psychopath was boring.  Those subjects are typically fascinating.  It was unsettling that their actions didn’t resonate within the story (only in the disgust of the reader), because it almost felt like the author had no opinion one way or the other as to the morality of their actions.  I’m going to assume that is not the case, as Stephanie Kuehn seems like a lovely person.

I cannot recommend “Delicate Monsters” to anyone, regardless of age.  It was gratuitously graphic with a misleading summary, apathetic characters, and a lackluster plot.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Content Warning:

Language, Graphic Sexual Situations, Heavy Violence, Animal Abuse, Animal Death, Necrophilia

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