Teen Book Review: Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Berube

*I received an ARC of this title by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions here are mine.*
Deirdre is missing. Her sister Skye, age 16, was supposed to be watching her the night she disappeared. Instead, Skye wakes from an unnatural sleep to find her sister vanished, her parents beside themselves, and a vague feeling of unease pooling in her stomach. Soon, the police are involved, asking questions and sweeping the woods behind their new house where Deirdre was known to play. What they don’t know, and what Skye is starting to suspect, is that there is something already out there that also likes to play. And what seems like a very dark game has already begun…

HERE THERE ARE MONSTERS by Amelinda Berube hits the shelves August 1, 2019. The story starts out with a slow burn that picks up after the first few chapters. It features an engagingly unreliable narrator, a few laugh out loud moments, and a tense and compelling plot. It also includes a satisfying tension, providing just enough mystery with the right elements dropped in as the story unfolds.

I have to be honest, there were things I really, really liked about this book and things I thought were “meh.” The first few chapters were slow to build, with readers left observing the muted feelings of a protagonist we’d never met as she reacts to the disappearance of a sister we’d never met. I found it difficult to form an attachment to either sister in those first few chapters.

And while I enjoyed following Skye as she tried to solve the puzzle with the help and hindrance of her “friends,” I sometimes found myself frustrated at the narrator’s caginess, and the constant sense of having needed information within the narrator’s grasp dangled just out of sight. In some cases, this enhanced the tension, in others, it fizzled a bit, creating distance between character and reader.

A slow burn that is ultimately compelling…but may leave you feeling like you have no idea what actually happened at the end of it all. If you like thick, psychological tension and don’t mind nebulous endings, you might want to give it a try.

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