Monthly Archives: June 2015

Modern Monsters

Modern Monsters Book Cover Modern Monsters
Kelley York
Juvenile Fiction
Entangled: Teen

Vic Howard never wanted to go to the party. He's the Invisible Guy at school, a special kind of hell for quiet, nice guys. But because his best friend is as popular as Vic is ignored, he went... And wished he hadn't. Because something happened to a girl that night. Something terrible, unimaginable, and Callie Wheeler's life will never be the same. Plus, now Callie has told the police that Vic is responsible. Suddenly, Invisible Vic is painfully visible, on trial both literally, with the police, and figuratively, with the angry kids at school. As the whispers and violence escalate, he becomes determined to clear his name, even if it means an uneasy alliance with Callie's best friend, the beautiful but aloof Autumn Dixon. But as Autumn and Vic slowly peel back the layers of what happened at the party, they realize that while the truth can set Vic free, it can also shatter everything he thought he knew about his life...



It has taken me some time to process “Modern Monsters” and decide how best to review it, as I have very conflicting feelings on the book.  I wish there were a 3 1/2 star option, but had to settle on 3 since it is not a full 4, in my opinion.

Kelley York needs to be commended on tackling such difficult subject matter and managing to do so from a seldom examined side.  Without lessening the traumatic impact of the rape on the victim, she examines the side of the person accused of the rape.  How does it feel going through the system?  What if you are innocent?  Is there a specific profile that can make it easier to identify rapists?  All of those questions are tackled, while also including a subplot that shows the consequences on the family, past and present, of a rape victim.  It is a crime and violation that goes much further than devastating one life, and it was handled with unflinching reality.

The main character, Vic, is thoroughly developed and has multiple layers that are slowly revealed throughout the course of the book.  The various relationships in his life were also solidly established with every secondary character being more than a one-dimensional “prop”.  My only issue with the characters is that at times the dialogue was stilted and not very realistic.  It was jarring and pulled me out of the story quite a few times.

As far as plot, it is a difficult one to read, as it should be.  All of what I wrote above is true and makes it a worthwhile read.  In fact, I’m impressed that it took such difficult subjects and made them resound on a reading level that any middle grader could understand.  I just wish the conclusion were not quite so predictable.  That took away from the suspense, which ultimately led to there being a bit less of an emotional impact than there otherwise would have been.

Overall, in spite of the couple of things I did not enjoy, I still recommend “Modern Monsters”, especially to those with 7th-9th graders in their lives.  If you read it together it will make an excellent starting point for very important, but difficult, conversations.

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


Content Warning:

Language, Violence, Mild Sexual Situations, Discussion of Rape (nothing graphic), Underage Drinking