Read Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn Online


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 liWhen 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....

Title : Delicate Monsters
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781250063847
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Delicate Monsters Reviews

  • Emily May
    2019-02-04 17:36

    Seriously, the inside of Ms Kuehn's head must be a scary place to live. Here is yet another completely disturbing and engrossing psychological thriller.Kuehn really isn't afraid to "go there". Her characters are twisted, her endings remind me of Courtney Summers books in that she refuses to tie them up neatly, and her exploration of the darkest parts of teenager's minds is both unsettling and addictive. She embraces diversity and she's edgy as fuck... so, when is her next book released again?If I've not made it clear already: this book is dark. Details are not spared and I know some parts of this book may be upsetting for certain readers. The novel portrays sex, abuse, mental illness and a sociopath (well, maybe) with honesty and sometimes graphic description. I appreciated it; some people may not. There are many sick minds in Delicate Monsters, in both senses of the word.If you would like an example of the kind of characters we're dealing with, let's meet Sadie:Hurting other people wasn't all that different, though. That was also a form of taking and she did it all the time. Sometimes she wished she didn't. Sometimes the things she took were unforgivable and she'd give anything to have better control over herself.Then again, sometimes Sadie was bored.And oftentimes, that was more than enough.While the story revolves around a mystery of sorts, the biggest mysteries are of the psychological kind, as was also true in Kuehn's Charm & Strange. The three main characters are Sadie, Emerson and Miles, and the mystery is mostly a character study that takes you deep inside their minds, memories, and the shared pieces of their pasts that tie them all together.What dark secrets does Sadie know about Emerson? Where does Emerson's overwhelming sense of guilt stem from? Why does Miles believe he can see the future? Can he?These three characters are so distinct and well-drawn. For a relatively short book to have three different perspectives, you need an extremely talented author to make all three voices strong and memorable. That was apparently no problem for Kuehn. All of them held my attention and there was none of that usual disappointment you get when a less interesting perspective arrives.I issued the warning before, but I will reiterate: if you need your endings tied up neatly with everything resolved, this book will likely leave you feeling frustrated. Fortunately for me, I enjoyed this fascinating psychological exploration so much that I didn't mind.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  • LolaReviewer
    2019-02-07 14:50

    3 1/2 stars.Well, I honestly did not expect this result. Which can certainly be viewed as a good thing. But, really, did someone tear off the last few pages of my copy? How could it end like that? I'm still in a state of bewilderment.Nevertheless, Delicate Monsters was a thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat! The chapters were short, there were many of them and none missed to end in a note that will make you want to read the next chapter right away. I swear, there were so many things I needed to do yesterday, but I just NEEDED to finish this book more…A year ago, I attempted the reading of Charm & Strange by this very same author, but it didn’t appeal to me. However, I believe it to be a case of ‘‘it’s not you, it’s me,’’ since, to be honest, I expected too much. Actually, I thought there would be some gay romance included and my not being satisfied in that department, I left the book 1/10 read.But I think it’s time to give it another chance. Delicate Monsters convinced me of that. When I started this story, I didn’t surmise it would be this intense. It wasn’t gory or weird to an extreme level. It was mysterious and atmospheric andthe characters felt so real.Sadie, the main character, was an anti-heroine. If you like those, then your plate will be served! Then there was Miles who was waifish and suffered, mentally, of inner voices, demons… it wasn’t not exactly one hundred percent clear. And I didn’t like how the author gave it a new meaning by using supernatural abilities. I say ‘‘new’’ but I mean new to me, since it felt like they (supernatural abilities) appeared all of the sudden.Emerson was… peculiar? Illegal? He certainly did commit unethical acts. But honestly, he, himself, felt and was seen by Sadie as a FAR worst person than I thought him to truly be. But that’s a personal opinion. You may despise him.This was a romance-free novel. Sure, love was one of the themes, among others, but do we actually get to witness a blossoming love relationship between two characters? And the answer is no. It mattered not to me, for I was focused on other matters; more important ones.I haven’t seen this book around much, but I think that it should get more attention than it does right now.

  • Kristin (KC)
    2019-01-20 19:47

    :::3 Stars, I think?:::Compelling, but bizarre.
This book is not an easy one to rate, nor was it an easy one to read. Labeling this as “edgy” is too delicate a description. This goes beyond that. The content of this story is so disturbing, I cringed through most of it and felt flat out uncomfortable with the rest.That’s not to say discomfort is a bad thing. I find great value in any story powerful enough to ignite intense emotions even if my gut is twisting. In fact, I’ve read many deranged books that I’ve loved and will no doubt read again. This story centers around mental illness, disturbing sexual desires, violent behavior, and is executed in a graphic, vivid nature--elements I am not squeamish towards in fiction. But I think what pulls Delicate Monsters into a less enjoyable category for me is the fact that I just couldn't find a way to appreciate the story. This book seemed to have no other point but to shine a very revealing light on the disturbing behavior and sickening thoughts of three very fucked up teens who never seem to march forward. I didn't feel the plot moved with solid purpose. Yes, it told quite a vivid story, but offered no reasons or justifications, and finished without an ounce of satisfaction. There was a certain air of mystery, but it was a pretty light coating and there weren't many significant rise-and-falls in the plot. It all felt like a steady stream of sick, sickish, SICK-ERY. The only saving grace was that this was told on a third person perspective so we aren't thrown directly into these dark and twisted minds…although it came pretty close. I was relieved when it was over. BUT—and this is an important but—this author’s exquisite writing made it all okay! It was like walking upon a gigantic spider web—you in no way want to get caught in it, but you can’t help the intense wonder and awe you feel while examining its delicate intricacy; its boundless perfection. Although this book isn't meant to offer much redemption, if you dig deeply enough you may be able to spot some hints of it. There is no doubt Stephanie Kuehn is an immensely talented and skillful writer. Her damaged characters are flawless in their own right, and that's something I can always appreciate. And whether I like it or not, I’m going to remember this one. Book Stats:▪  Genre/Category: Thriller/Mystery▪  Steam Caliber: Fairly graphic▪ Romance: Twisted▪  Characters: Damaged. Very well developed▪  Plot: Follows the journey of three deranged teens.▪ Writing: Flawless▪ POV: 3rd Person ▪  Cliffhanger: None/Standalone▪  HEA? (view spoiler)[Nothing about this book is happy (hide spoiler)]*Arc kindly provided in exchange for an honest review*["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    2019-02-11 15:54

    Find all of my reviews at:“Nothing’s wrong with being bad. It’s like being honest or crying at the end of a sad movie. Sometimes it just happens.”I was attempting to avoid human contact yesterday by reading this on the elevator on the way to work when a co-worker (one of the few I don’t want to punch in the throat and one who is an avid reader as well) asked what was I reading. Of course, the title wasn’t enough info for her and I found myself stumped at what Delicate Monsters should be shelved as. I couldn’t really call it anything other than Young Adult, but even uttering those words had me thinking . . . . The story here claims to be about Sadie Su who has returned to her hometown after being gone for years . . . “Why are you here?”“I got kicked out of boarding school. Third one in four years. Only thing left is the public alternative.”“That’s it?”“I tried to kill somebody.”I know what you’re thinking . . . . That’s what I was thinking too. Especially when I was introduced to Emerson who knew Sadie from when he was a kid and appeared to be more than a bit shell-shocked when he heard she was back in town. But then I got to know Emerson better . . . . I also got to meet his brother Miles and his mother who had been accused of Munchausen by Proxy and Sadie’s mother and by the time I was done I wanted to call the author on the phone in order to ask . . . . I’m going on record and saying I recommend this to NO ONE. Wait, that’s a lie. I recommended it to one person already (bet you’ll never guess who). She’s the only exception, though, because . . . . . This book has everything you’d never want to read about: mean girls and bullying to the point of attempted suicide, actual suicide, mental illness, sexual assault, and on and on and on. I’m not going to be responsible for anyone getting triggered, so don’t read it. As for me and Mitchell? This was our idea of a good time. But we also know how to tackle books like this . . . . If you're asking yourself "where does she find shit like this?!?!?!?!" the answer this time is the 100 Must-Read Books With Unlikeable Women (or in this case "Unlikeable Everyones"). I've already had much luck with many on that list and I will definitely keep reading more of these in the future.

  • Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤
    2019-01-30 16:39

    Oh how I disliked this. Be good. Be patient.It whispered, You're going to shine.It whispered, Just you wait and see.If not for the fact that this was an ARC I would have left my review from above, but since it is in fact an ARC, I feel I owe everyone an explanation. I think there were multiple reasons I didn't like this book. For starters, one of our main characters, Sadie, had no sense of remorse. And, while that's fine in a a lot of stories with me, for some reason it rubbed me the wrong way this time. It's not so much that I hated her-I didn't. No, I very rarely fault a character for being who they are. I think it's more that all she wanted was demoralization of character and chaos...and I guess I just wasn't in the mood for that.But that's not even really a blip on the radar for me. She was actually my favorite character (if it's possible to have one) aside from Miles. If it had only been a story centered around Sadie, I truly believe I might have given this a 3 or 4-maybe. It's somewhat interesting to be inside the mind of someone so well and truly messed up in the head. But, on top of psycho Sadie we have, oh Lord what's the word? We have....let's just say secretive Emerson, to play coy. He was the reason I was repulsed and I just couldn't find anything about him to like. So, on top of all of his idiosyncrasies and his lack of protectiveness for his sick brother, we had Sadie and a hardly lucid Miles. I can't say much lest I give the plot away, but let me be clear: I don't mind a messed up story every now and again, but this story was very clearly not written in any way, shape, or form for me. I had nothing and no one to connect to, and the degradation of both humans and animals alike in this story (okay, let's face it, MOSTLY animals) was too much. I am an animal lover and when multiple animal situations arise in a horror-type story, I don't take kindly to it-especially when there's no need. Maybe none of this would have bothered me if the plot was interesting at all, but as it was, it did. One thing I absolutely have to say before I end this mini-review is a bit of praise for this author: I absolutely adored her writing style. It was very addicting and I could see loving her other works if only because of her writing. I have been advised from one of my best friends for months that Charm and Strange is absolutely amazing and I would fall in love with the main character, and I just haven't had the time to pick it up. But after seeing the wonderful writing in this story, I'm even more excited to read it, now (I'm pushing aside the bizarre and disturbing incidences from this novel to move forward). Perhaps any other time this would have worked for me, minus the animal things. Or perhaps not. I just have to take it as it is and realize that not every thriller will be a four star for me, no matter my prior winning streak. So, I'll take this as it is, and I'll tell people that they might even like it. If you are one that likes to read something outside the box that will both horrify and surprise you, this is likely the book for you. If not, then you'd likely be taking a large chance you won't like it if you decide to read it. Either way, it's just not for me. *ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* For more of my reviews, please visit:

  • Faye, la Patata
    2019-02-11 19:44

    Have you ever read something that was mindfucking your brain - but not realizing that it was actually mindfucking your brain - and then when you get to the end, you realized you have just been epically mindfucked, and you're like, "DID THIS BOOK JUST MINDFUCKED ME?" And then you say, "YES. IT. DID."And you wouldn't even mind.Because this is Khuen's book in a nutshell. If there's a Master who is so good at toying with our minds in the subtlest and explosive way possible, I have no doubt that Kuehn would be that author. LEGIT DEAL HERE, FOLKS. L-E-G-I-T.I don't even know how to describe this book. This book is all sorts of amazing, disturbing, dark, and fascinating altogether. I know Kuehn's previous books centered on mystery, and I know her previous books Charm and Strange and Complicit were also mindfucks, so I expected no less from this one and even braced myself. But by gods, even though I had that invisible barrier around my heart, mind and soul, she was still able to creep into my core and wring my insides into oblivion.And I was like, "How? How does she do it?! How could she keep surprising and toying with my feelings for three books in a row?!? How could she keep writing these refreshing, amazing stories and not run out of twists and ways to blow my mind?!?! WHY IS SHE SO BLOODY GOOD?!?!"I had thought I knew the characters here. They are written so, so well that you would become intimate with them, to the point that you wouldn't even notice how the narrative changes ever so slowly to reveal their twisted and dark personas inside, and when you do, it's such an epic epiphany that I guarantee you would run to your friends or to a social media tool just to ask, "gaiz help did what I think that happened just fricking happened?! IS MY MIND PLAYING TRICKS ON ME?!" <--- which I totally did. Ask Hannah and Giselle, who I forced... err... asked to enlighten my newly mindfucked brain.Long story short: if you love unreliable narrators, this is your dream book. We have three different perspectives that were written in an absolutely compelling way. At the beginning, you'd think that the story would be the usual kind of see: new girl in town with a secret, lonely boy with dark issues, and the golden kid who seems ever-so perfect in the eyes of his peers, only for us to realize gradually there is more than what meets the eye. Things will get strange. Freaky stuff will slowly reveal themselves. And you will bask in their ambiance because this is what Kuehn does best.I didn't even care that the book ended in a very open manner. I mean, yes, I may have screamed and then tried to rip my head apart trying to understand what the hell just happened, BUT IT WAS STILL SO GOOD AND FITTING FOR THE KIND OF STORY IT WAS. It may seem very unconventional, but we need more stories like this, to be honest - the kind that compels you to think, to read between the lines, and to go beyond the usual means of storytelling. Mindfuck or otherwise.

  • Aimee (Aimee, Always)
    2019-02-16 18:51

    "Being strong doesn't necessarily mean not being scared."Stephanie Kuehn, dear readers, is crazy--in an awesome crazy-brilliant kind of way. She doesn't shy away from all the nitty gritty scenes--on the contrary, she even dives into them further. She'll make you feel squeamish about the book's graphic details in the way that she isn't at all squeamish to write about as an author. That takes serious skill, my friends.If I had to describe this book in just a single word, it would definitely be maddening. I could say it's dark, scary, or maybe even just fuck (because I'm eloquent like that), but maddening seems to be the perfect term for me. The things that happened in this book made me a bit paranoid, see. It'll just mess with your brain and make you think things like:Who can I trust?Is s/he telling the truth?What the heck is going to happen next?!SOMEONE TELL ME SOMETHING REAL!This is probably because the book's narrated by THREE unreliable main characters. All three of them have incredibly different, easy-to-differentiate personalities, and you're never sure of what their true intentions really are."Disturbed. I'm a disturbed person. That's what I am."These characters think dark things, and they are dark characters. You're going to bite your nails and shudder with every move they make, and every line they speak."Nothing's wrong with being bad. It's like being honest or crying at the end of a sad movie. Sometimes it just happens."This book's also incredibly HONEST. It tackled bullying, fetishes, mental illness, suicide--all of those things that happen in real life that some authors don't want to delve into. But Kuehn did it, and she did it well. Fabulously, even.And that ending, y'all! I was not expecting it at all (but it's the PERFECT ending). There wasn't a particular moment where I went, "Holy shit!"--it was more of a gradual change for me. I slowly realized things as the characters did, and my eyes were extremely wide by the time the book ended.The only reason, really, that I didn't give this book a higher rating was because of the writing style. It was so hard for me to get into, and I have to admit that my eyelids drooped a few times while reading. A friend of mine told me that it's just because I was a Kuehn virgin before Delicate Monsters popped my cherry, so maybe it's just an "it's not you, it's me" thing.Overall, I still highly recommend this book if you want to get into the dirty world of Sadie, Miles and Emerson, and to see the world in a different light... *insert an evil laugh here*actual rating: 3.5 starsDeadly Darlings | The Social Potato | The Book Geek | Twitter | Instagram

  • Giselle
    2019-01-30 19:36

    I have loved every book by Stephanie Kuehn so far, and this one is no exception. Her books are so… bizarre and unique and wonderfully compelling. You feel as if you're being played with, as if the book is making sure you're never quite certain of what's happening, except for the fact that it's terrible and disturbing and wholly messed up!In Delicate Monsters we've get ourselves 3 perspectives, and while I fear this would be a bit much - multiple perspectives can be so tricky - it ended up being the perfect choice for this story. Each perspective is very much distinct, with voices you could not confuse for another even if you tried. We meet Sadie first who we quickly learn is trouble. She's angry and bored with everything in life and likes to pass the time by being corrupt and just plain vicious. She's candid and rude and, personally, I found her interesting and quite entertaining - though I would never want to befriend the likes of her. Then we have Emerson who starts out as a pretty normal, likeable guy… until you get to know his darker side. And it's a really deranged side, let me tell you. The third is Miles. You can tell he's different from the start. He's a sickly person who seems a bit mentally unstable with his talks of seeing the future and stuff. He intrigued me from the beginning, though; you can't help but want to know what the hell is wrong with him.Like in her previous books, Kuehn has added a good dose of mystery that moves along quite nicely, unraveling at just the perfect moments. You can't ever really trust what you think you know. The more you learn about these characters, the clearer the real story gets - clearer and more horrific. It's the kind of book that will work for some and not others, though. It's a novel that's miles outside the box. It's strange and eccentric and makes you feel uneasy throughout. Me, I think it's brilliant. I loved this explicit look at potential psychopathic behaviour and the bold, unflinching nature of the plot. I was not, however, a big fan of the ending. Don't get me wrong, though, it's kind of the perfect ending for what this novel is trying to be, but I was left rather rattled and worried - not the kind of resolution I expected, particularly with the whole visions thing. It's the kind of ending where the author's telling you "you KNOW what happens now, don't you? Huh!? Huh!?" In a way that's cryptic, while also being so final. Or maybe I'm just in denial. Complicit, remains my favorite Kuehn book so far, but all three novels are so unusual and brilliant, but evil to its reader.. wonderfully evil! This one is the story of three messed up individuals whose lives intertwine in appalling ways. Kuehn is the kind of author you must experience at least once. Those who love her books will undoubtedly become forever fans. --An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads

  • Steph Sinclair
    2019-02-13 19:33

    I'm not really sure how I feel about this book yet. I'll have to think on it.

  • Rashika (is tired)
    2019-02-06 22:35

    ***This review has also been posted on The Social PotatoHOLY FUCKING CRAPOMGI DONT EVEN KNOW WHAT I FEEL RIGHT NOW.WHAT IS THIS BOOK?WHAT IS LIFE?DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME? I AM WRITING THIS IN ALL CAPS. MY EMOTIONS ARE A MESS.A couple days later, I am no longer as much of a mess. I feel slightly more normal and am more capable of putting together my thoughts regarding this piece of work.BUT SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE FUCK?This was my first novel by Kuehn and I KNOW I am coming back for more.I think what really interests me about this novel is how it is totally a 'mind-fuck' novel but not in a way that completely twists your mind into a pretzel. The mind-fuckery is more toned down in a way that makes it so that you don’t even see it coming and when it does, you’re just left standing there, in the rain, all by yourself, contemplating life and what this book has made of it.This book is the also looks at mental illnesses in a very interesting manner. It’s not the lighter, fluffier ways of dealing with mental illness that I am used to. This book looks at the dark and depressing side of mental illnesses.One of the best things about this book is the characters and the detail Kuehn puts into developing their characters (or rather unfolding their fucked-up-ness.)My only real complaint is that while I did enjoy the vague bits in the novel, I also thought the novel could be a little too vague at some points. To the point where it had me questioning what was going on in the novel, but not in a good way.This is a beautifully, well written book that I would definitely recommend to those who are fans of mind-fuck books that will leave them questioning everything they read.

  • Morris
    2019-02-15 14:55

    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.

  • Rachel Hartman
    2019-02-15 22:45

    This is out today! I'm not usually a big fan of realistic fiction, but Kuehn dives unflinchingly into the minds of her characters in a way I really admire. I read a draft of this (and I'm told the final book isn't that different), so it's been a while and the details are blurry. But I remember being utterly enthralled and horrified. Wonderful and disturbing. I would follow Kuehn's prose anywhere, even off a cliff, and she brings us very close to the edge here.

  • Sue (Hollywood News Source)
    2019-02-12 15:55

    “They had it all wrong, of course. Bravery wasn't required to conquer fear. Indifference was.” Actual Rating: It’s more of a 3.5 to 3.8I should’ve taken the title as a literal expectation for this book. Delicate Monsters is filled with characters you’re not supposed to like. They are those people who doesn’t deserve redemption. They are not good, not a necessary evil, but they are evil nonetheless. Compared to Kuehn’s previous works, her third novel is certainly a mature follow up. It focuses on a disturbed teen who claims he could see the future, a guy who has a disconcerting desire for something else, and an unapologetic girl who craves notoriety. As expected, you can expect Kuehn’s books to be lyrical and filled with surprising twists, that transcend the borders of wtfuckery scale.Overall, I’ll read anything Stephanie Kuehn writes. She has a distinct, unique way of crafting her story-line and characters. However, if you’re planning to pick up any of her work, please proceed with caution. Her stories usually tackle hard hitting topics that could be triggering for you such as self-harm, destructive teens, sexual assault, abuse, suicide and more.

  • Silk
    2019-01-28 20:34

    Here's a completely messed up and gritty psychological thriller.Reading this book was a rather weird experience because the first half of the book didn't particularly pique my attention or interest at all but then something happened and before I knew it I couldn't put the book down. The story mainly revolves around the interactions of the three main characters, Sadie, Emerson and his younger brother Miles, and they each have their own disturbances. They're self-destructive and twisted in their own ways. How they're tied to each other and how that affects them is yet another dark disturbance. There's a lot about human nature and it didn't sugar coat that subject at all.The characters were also surprisingly memorable and well build for a quite short book. They'll stick with me for sure. Its writing was blunt yet well done and perfectly fitting what the characters were going through. The ending wasn't done neatly and that could frustrate some readers but I was genuinely satisfied with it.

  • Hannah (fullybookedreviews)
    2019-02-17 20:28

    Sarcastic as all hell, with bitterness masking some very real truths. From the very opening pages, I knew this was going to be a mindfuck, pardon my French. (We really need a classier word for mindfuck, my friends, but it perfectly encapsulates what I’m trying to express, so for now, mindfuck it is.) According to the pamphlets the park owners handed out – only after admission was paid, of course – a volcanic explosion was the cause of petrification, a great magma burst freezing the giants like gods on a mountain and preserving them through the ages so that one day high school students could wander in pairs among the ferns and collect information with which to complete their class projects. BURN.If you’ve read a Stephanie Kuehn book before, you’ll know what to expect. If you haven’t, well, think a YA version of Gillian Flynn. Yeah. But boy oh boy, does this tale descend into madness. The story is told from three perspectives – Emerson, his brother Miles, and classmate Sadie. While Sadie appears to be the most obviously sadistic/screwed-up, by the end of the novel, you’re not entirely sure whether anyone was okay in the head at all.“Do you think you got jumped by those guys because there’s something wrong with you? Or because there’s something wrong with them?” What I admire about Kuehn’s books is that she manages to delve into the darker aspects of mental illness and unhealthy family structures without ever stigmatizing them or passing a judgment. There was a terrible injustice, he thought, in being an introvert who was afraid to be alone. Of course, as with all the author’s books, you can’t go into detail in reviews without spoiling the book for others. It’s really all about the journey, particularly when considering the psychological nature of the book. Her father, Sadie had realized somewhere on that trip, was not a happy person. But he wasn’t trying to be happy and his not trying meant that he wasn’t dissatisfied. What I can say is the following:1. You think you know who the perpetrators and the victims are. You are wrong. In some ways, everyone is both a perpetrator and a victim.2. The author explores some very uncomfortable truths about human nature, and suffering. And the darker things that we feel but don’t necessarily want to admit to out loud. 3. The extent of the sins of the various characters is never explicitly laid out. While we certainly get an idea, they are never outlined neatly for the reader. In other words, I’m not sure what the defining crime was. But maybe that’s the point – death by a thousand cuts.4. In fact, this novel is a lot more ambigious than the author’s previous two. This is particularly emphasized with the abrupt ending. There is no proper closure – we have an idea of what’s about to happen, but it’s left to the reader to decide. Frustrating, yes, but I think it fits in with the feel of the book.Floating candles had to be one of the worst party decorations ever invented, what with their fake romantic pretension and atmospheric contrivance. In terms of general tackiness, they ranked right up there with wind puppets and those bags of Jordan almonds that got handed out at weddings. This is not an enjoyable book. A good one, yes – Stephanie Kuehn is an incredibly gifted author, with a talent for making us look at the truths of life that we’d prefer to remain buried. Nobody is likeable here – Sadie is downright mean and sociopathic, Emerson’s affable persona rapidly unravels to reveal disturbing depths, and truths are revealed about Mile’s continual ailments that lessened my sympathy for him, which culminated in outright horror at an action he takes at the end of the book. Highly disturbing. More so for the fact that we can sometimes identify parts of ourselves within these characters, the ugly thoughts and feelings that we suppress and hope never see the light of day. And mental illness isn’t the only issue contained in this book, althought we know it’s the overarching one. There’s also some insightful commentary on racism, poverty, and sexuality.And the prose, oh the precise, perfect prose.Beneath the glitzy wine industry and quaint tourism pooled a dark futility, a cruel sort of helplessness. It lurked in corners. It oozed from hormones. I’m still digesting how I feel about it. In the end, I think I’m sad for everybody.She’d had her shine.And now, somewhere, somehow, for a heart she’d never know, to light a sky she’d never see, someone else was preparing for theirs. But don’t let this put you off the book. If the quotes I’ve included here are enough to pique your interest, then I highly recommend you pick this book up. It’s like, we all have this place in the world. Somewhere we can run on our hamster wheels and be comfortable. There are TV shows to watch. Books to read. Music to listen to. People to spend time with, maybe even fuck every now and then. There’s something and someone for everyone. So we can go through life and protect ourselves from discomfort, from having our beliefs challenged, and blissfully ignore the rest of the big bad world that’s out there. It’s what most of us do. Hell, no one really wants to take a stand or answer any call to action if they don’t have to. We just say we do to feel better about ourselves. For most people, though, life is about finding their hamster wheel and running on it. It gives the illusion of progress. *** ARC received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from uncorrected proof and may change prior to publication.

  • Beatrix
    2019-02-17 15:31

    *This review is posted on Way Too Hot Books.*The things that we love tell us what we are. – St. Thomas AquinasThis book is weird as fuck. There’s no other way of putting it. Psychological thriller at its finest. Honestly, I’m not even sure what is this that I’d read, how to categorize it. It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure. Is it for teens? Honestly, I don’t know. Just because characters are teens, does not make a book YA. Yes, sure things are not that graphically described, but sometimes that vagueness makes it even more eerie. But there are some people who find comfort in discomfort. In knocking people out of their hamster wheels and setting them free onto the four-lane highway of reality. Look at Sartre. Look at Kierkegaard. Remember what he said? ‘The crowd is untruth.’ Kierkegaard knew. And people like that, like us, we’re the ones the hamsters should fear. Because other people’s fear, it kind of gets us off.The title says Delicate Monsters, but trust me, there’s nothing delicate about this book. Characters are the exact opposite of delicate. They’re flawed, disturbed, and utterly fascinating. We have Sadie, who was expelled from boarding school because she tried to kill her classmate. You can see right away, we’re working with crazy here. Then there’s Emerson, who seems pretty normal at first, but boy is he gonna prove you wrong. And finally, we have Miles, Emerson’s younger brother, who always seems to be getting sick. Makes you wonder, what’s wrong with him?! Well, by the end you find out, and it ain’t pretty. There was only so much ruin the mind could rationalize. There was only so much badness that could be suppressed for so long. His guilt, on its own, was utterly meaningless - just a showy type of magic that changed nothing because changing nothing was the endgame all along. The novel is incredibly well-written; it’s really short, but the story moves slowly, and everything sort of creeps up on you. When I started reading, things seemed normal, and I thought well, this is okay, nothing that disturbing thus far. But, really soon, characters begin to show their true colors. And whether or not you enjoy their ‘colors’ remains the biggest question. Sometimes to end things, you had to go back to the beginning.

  • Drew
    2019-02-20 14:52

    I don't think I entirely "get" Kuehn's books. Charm & Strange was too weird for me, and though I liked Delicate Monsters better, it was still pretty bizarre.This book is about three messed up teens who are different kinds of monsters, and I don't use that word lightly. I mean, these characters were awful - borderline sociopathic and just nasty in the way that they thought:She puffed harder on her cigarette, enjoying the burn on her windpipe and the hope that she was giving someone somewhere cancer.But that kind of just made them even more interesting to read about.Delicate Monsters was a character study with a loose focus on the plot. It dove into the minds of Sadie Su, Emerson, and Miles. I thought the switching of narratives flowed really well and it was an incredibly interesting psychological exploration.She didn’t lie. She told him the honest truth about himself.“Bad,” she told him brightly. “You’re a bad person.”After not being a fan of Charm & Strange, I decided to pick up another Kuehn novel because I couldn't help admiring her gritty and addictive writing. Her books are unlike anything I've read, and I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing. I've said this before: I think they're for a very specific type of audience - those who like the dark and malicious - so I'd hesitate to recommend them.Things got so intense that at one point I thought, "Is this really a YA book?" Not that I think it should have been in the adult genre instead - in fact I hate when people say "that was too violent" or "too sexy" for teens to read, as if they have any right to constrict a person's reading material. But with Kuehn, she really goes there and isn't afraid to cross lines YA authors normally hold back from.Such an odd, intriguing little book.

  • Liz Barnsley
    2019-02-01 20:30

    Oh where to begin.I'm sat here with my mouth open wondering what the heck just happened.Yep this one has that power.I'm not sure how to describe the central plot so I won't bother trying - but never, ever in my life have I met such a bunch of completely screwed up characters. For different reasons, for a myriad of choices they have made, for whatever reasons come to light during the reading of this one, these guys are SCREWED.In "Delicate Monsters" Stephanie Kuehn once more takes on mental illness as a central theme, giving us a character piece that pulls no punches and peels layer after layer away from her main protagonists until they are laid bare before us - with a terrifically practical touch to the prose, she tells it how it is, there is no attempt to necessarily give us redeeming features, although there is a kind of redemptive feel throughout. I find this author unique in her ambience - this is now my third novel from her (Complicity and Charm and Strange having come before it) and with each one she has stopped me in my tracks for very different reasons. I've come out the other side of all her novels feeling emotionally wrung out and completely mentally exhausted - in the very best way possible. Because these are stories where you feel all the feelings. The writing is sublime, dark and unrelenting but utterly delicious, I am hard put to explain why that is, it just simply IS. Delicate Monsters is a powerhouse of a novel, with an ending that will shock you and drive you utterly crazy and a beginning and a middle that do much the same thing. What just happened? You tell me. Whatever it was it was completely brilliant.Highly Recommended.Happy Reading Folks!

  • CW (Read Think Ponder)
    2019-02-05 14:34

    Delicate Monsters is a psychological thriller that does not tiptoe around the perversion of human nature. On the contrary, Delicate Monsters is a psychological thriller that stares into the darkness face-on with wide, curious eyes, takes it and explores it layer by layer. There are some authors that imply the wickedness of their characters leaving you to imagine the extent of their depravity. And then there are some, like Stephanie Kuehn, who bare it all - mind, thoughts, intentions, behaviours, everything - and will still find ways to surprise you. There isn't a place Kuehn will not venture, and the results are unflinching, graphic, and at times disturbing. Her writing and its subject matter will make you uncomfortable and squirm, but it is what makes her novels so effective and powerful.With its cast of characters, each as twisted, complex and broken as they come, paired with the unreliable narration and an inherently psychological narrative, this book is largely character driven. Taking on three character perspectives, the story follows Sadie, Emerson, and Miles, each with their own demons and afflictions. As the characters are teenagers, it explores their psychological transgressions on a micro and then macro level. By necessity, this novel is filled with teenage angst, sex, lust, selfishness, abuse and violence, and devil-may-care characters that will chill your core.There is no prudence in these characters nor are there any attempts to be - this book is unapologetic in it portrayal of troubled, fractured people, shattered by their past and now broken by the absence of the futures. The characters we see in Delicate Monsters are, at its beginning, in a dead-end - it is what they do that makes this book compelling.For some books, the energy or force of its story is growth. In Delicate Monsters, it is regression that propels the story forward. With the story's progression, the narrative follows a slow descent into the moonless spaces of the characters' psyche. Appearances are, indeed, deceiving in this story; surfaces are illusions of the depths underneath. Delicate Monsters asks the penetrating questions people are too often afraid to ask others and, more importantly, ask themselves. It examines how people can have the capacity to encapsulate with all the sin, pain, and wrongness in the world and still be human.And yet, it goes deeper than that. Kuehn sears a haunting image of the power of the human mind. How we forget the things that we shouldn't, how we can get lost in our consciousness, and how our minds are very much our own but at the same time are sometimes as unfamiliar as the strangers we see on a daily basis. It illuminates on the layers of unintended deception and repression in attempts of self-preservation, and how delusions and avoidance of pain and truth can have gradual and devastating effects. How universes exist within our consciousness, and how, for some, nightmare is a reality; for others, reality is a nightmare. As Zizek said, fantasy realized is a nightmare.Words like absolution and forgiveness and redemption would never apply to someone like him. Those terms were just abstractions. Names for what other people called the moments between darkness.Of course, with its heavy-handed themes and psychological-orientated analysis, mental illnesses and disorders are present in the novel. Though it is never explicitly stated what each character may suffer, rather than giving labels and diagnoses weight, the book's attention is given to more important and relevant things: histories, traumas, environments, relationships, and consequences of each. After all, Delicate Monsters is not an examination of what mental illnesses the characters suffer, but what can potentially maim a person so much that they become who they are.It may be psychological thriller, but Delicate Monsters is also part tragedy. Not tragedy of the ideological and political kind that steels your resolve and reinvigorates your will to do bad things because of bad times, but a tragedy of the human condition. It is not that those with mental illnesses should be pitied; it is the outrage and heartbreaking reality that the events that transpire in the book are within the realm of possibility, that actions can cause such a profound ripple effect that take incalculable time to manifest. Great pain stems from painful pasts. Delicate Monsters sheds light on these issues with surprising sensitivity given the grimness and severity of its themes.Delicate Monsters is not for the faint of heart. It is a dark book, a heavy book, with not much of a higher moral or point to the story and has content that may disturb and upset. There are, though, its messages which are eye-opening and sobering in a twisted way. Kuehn's proficiency in writing excellent, thorough and vigorous character studies shine through in Delicate Monsters, and is a distinct highlight of the book. Even with its open-ended ending - which befitted the nature of the novel - Delicate Monsters is a fascinating, chilling and unique piece of storytelling that engages you and makes you think, and shows how sometimes broken things cannot be mended, try as we might, and how that in itself is a tragedy.Rating: 4/5-Review can also be found on my book blog, Read, Think, Ponder!

  • Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
    2019-01-26 16:50

    See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I got from the publisher via NetGalley. Diversity Rating: 3 – Closer to Reality Racial-Ethnic: 4 (Sadie is half-Chinese, Emerson’s crush May is unspecified POC)QUILTBAG: 0 (may be someone, but not a main character; my memory is fuzzy)Disability: 1 (off-screen character has Tourette’s, two characters are sociopaths)Intersectionality: 3 (Emerson and Miles’s family is not too well off)MAJOR WARNING for anyone triggered by cat death/animal death: you’re not going to like this novel because there are a LOT of dead animals. Also sexual abuse.Stephanie Kuehn’s novels are so smart they might make even the most intelligent men and women of the world feel a little dumb. I have faith in my own intellect and still questioned if I really got this novel. That happened some with her sophomore novel Complicit too and also in her debut Charm & Strange in spades, so I knew what I was in for. Still, wow. Delicate Monsters is a novel both unlike Kuehn’s previous work and unlike any other YA novel out there right now as we dive into the heads of two sociopaths and a sickly young boy who has suffered from torment by both of them.Writing sociopaths that readers understand and even sympathize with isn’t easy, but Kuehn does it so easily it might make other writers a bit envious. So many killers are diagnosed or thought of as sociopath to the point where we immediately put someone with that word attached to them in one specific box, but when we do that, we forget sociopathy is a mental illness not unlike depression, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia. With Sadie and Emerson, we even get two different examples of it. Sadie is open about it and well-known for her behavior; Emerson hides it behind closed doors and more subtle acts.In comparison, Miles is almost a non-entity because of how compelling Sadie and Emerson are, but as someone who has had to deal with both of them and a young boy with issues of his own, he provides a touch of normalcy. It’s almost ironic since he’s convinced he knows the future and something terrible will happen to him, but it’s true. With all their small touches, these three strange people all feel like people that actually exist, not just characters on a page.Honestly, strange is the word of the novel. It could easily be titled Strange Monsters instead.However, the over-the-top darkness of it all makes me wonder if all the animal death and horrible things done to human beings (ahem, LOOKING AT YOU, EMERSON) is really that necessary to make a point. With some of this stuff, we get enough to make a point and then we get even more of it whether or not we want it. I read the novel all in one sitting, so someone with a strong stomach like me can handle the gratuitousness of it all, but it’ll make a lot of readers need to put it down for a while–or even for good.If this review seems a little lackluster, it’s because there’s really no describing Delicate Monsters to someone. This novel is an experience all its own someone just has to dive into on their own. It’s strange and twisted and will make you uncomfortable and make you question what it was all about in the first place, but it’s a brilliant exploration of three well-drawn characters you may very well know. Stephanie Kuehn’s novels are a must for readers who love the dark stuff–and since her next novel The Pragmatist earned her the 2015 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship, it’ll probably be very good.

  • Stephanie
    2019-01-20 15:44

    Read more reviews at Inspiring Insomnia.I don’t usually pay much attention to titles, but “Delicate Monsters” intrigued me. What exactly is a “delicate monster?” After reading Stephanie Kuehn’s latest novel, I did some Googling and expected to find that the phrase is from a song or a poem or another book, and I wanted to see how it was originally used to get some additional insight into Kuehn’s ideas about her story. But it looks like it’s an original phrase that she created, so I will try to interpret it myself. I think the “delicate monsters” in this story are people who have some form of mental illness and who do horrible things. In hindsight, that seems evident, but the beauty of these “delicate monsters” is that Kuehn writes them in such a way that we are able to feel some varying degrees of sympathy for them.The first and most clear-cut monster is Sadie Su. I’ll go ahead and diagnose Sadie as a sociopath. She’s cruel for no other reason than that she can be, she throws rocks at cars for fun, and she’s just generally scary. One little scene that highlighted Sadie’s mental illness more clearly than even some of the more outwardly cruel behavior she exhibits is when urinates on herself while walking in her house in her nightgown. Why? Because she likes the feel of the warmth on her legs. This freaked me out for a couple of reasons. One, because it demonstrates how disconnected she is from “normal” human behavior, and two, because it reminded me of a certain scene from The Exorcist.Emerson is our next monster. He’s Sadie’s former childhood friend and current classmate. Initially, he seems OK. But then he commits a sick act which would be bad enough on its own, but is made worse because of the way he is unable to understand the wrongness of his actions. We also learn, through Sadie, about his sadistic acts as a child, and by that point, I began to view Emerson as even scarier than Sadie.Miles is Emerson’s younger brother. He might not be a monster, unless you consider his possible ability to predict impending, horrible violence as monstrous. He’s odd and awkward and, not surprisingly, he’s tormented and bullied at school. He’s tortured by the visions in his head and unfortunately, his brother is too self-absorbed to care.Sadie connects with these two brothers in very different ways. She decides to have her unique brand of “fun” with Emerson, and I can’t say that I minded. He deserved to be on the receiving end of Sadie’s torturing. But Miles has a very different effect on Sadie. Something about his strangeness helped to level off her sociopathic tendencies, if only in her interactions with Miles.I had certain expectations going into this book, based on Kuehn’s previous two novels, Charm and Strange and Complicit, both of which were very, very good. They both dealt with mental illness and had unreliable narrators and knock-your-socks-off endings. Delicate Monsters differs primarily in its lack of an unreliable narrator, and I kept waiting for someone to get exposed. But I like how Kuehn took a different and unexpected path here. There IS a shocking ending, and it’s one that at the beginning of the book would have seemed unbelievable, but with Kuehn’s careful development of her characters throughout the story, it works, and it’s very powerful.One of my favorite things about all of Kuehn’s books is how she is completely unafraid to show the ugliness of her characters. As a reader, this can be a brutal experience, but it’s real, and it’s honest, and it’s true to life.Note: This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher.

  • Claire (Book Blog Bird)
    2019-02-14 17:48

    3.5 starsI was given a copy of Delicate Monsters in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to St Martins Griffin and Netgalley. A copy of this review is also on my blog: www.bookblogbird.weebly.comThis was not a comfortable read. Bizarre and compelling, but definitely not comfortable.Delicate Monsters is written from three perspectives: those of Sadie, Emerson and Miles, three disturbed teenagers whose lives intersect and whose fates seem intertwined. Sadie Su has just been kicked out of boarding school for almost killing a fellow student. She returns to her family’s vineyard in Sonoma and enrolls at the local high school where she meets Emerson, a boy she used to know as a child, and his brother Miles.Sadie is a psychopath. Completely emotionally detached from those around her, she doesn’t care what people think about her, she has no empathy whatsoever, she almost killed a fellow student at her old school, she has no trouble lying to get what she wants and doesn’t feel remorse, shame or guilt. Sadie wandered out to the main road and waited for cars to pass so that she could throw rocks at them.She does have some small redemption at the end, but other than this she is terrifying and her emotional vacuum meant that I didn’t connect with her as a character. I was always curious to see what she’d do next, but ultimately she could have lived or died and I wouldn’t have cared either way. Actually, scrub that: I just wanted her to die so that the world could be rid of such a horrible person!Emerson displays very disturbing tendencies as well. Arguably, his behaviour resulted in some part from the death of his father but not every child who loses a parent does the kinds of things he did. When he was ten, he cut the legs off a frog and masturbated as he watched it die on the ground. As an older teen, he gets the girl he is seeing to lay on the floor and pretend to be dead so he can do the same thing. He drink drives, he’s racist and he doesn’t care that his brother is being beaten by the school’s homophobic bullies. Like Sadie, I was torn between not caring what happened to him and wanting him to meet a sticky end.Delicate Monsters left me wondering if the author has something against the townspeople of Sonoma. Seriously, there’s only one person in the whole book who seems to have any redeeming features - May - and at times it just seems like she’s there to act as a foil to the unpleasantness of all the other characters! Even poor Miles, who suffers under the weight of the visions he sees and is bullied mercilessly, saw visions of the Boston marathon bombing and the Japanese tsunami and let it all play out without attempting to warn anyone. People kept dying and people kept suffering, even when he knew about it ahead of time.Delicate Monsters plays out kind of like a soap opera, or The Jeremy Kyle Show. The writing is more graceful, but you still get the sense of watching awful people doing horrible things and you can’t quite bring yourself to look away. It’s completely compelling and leaves you wanting to take a shower afterwards. I have to say, I didn’t enjoy reading Delicate Monsters (and I have a feeling that was the author’s intention) but I didn’t seem to be able to put it down either. I’d recommend this book for anyone who likes their YA very dark indeed.

  • Tina
    2019-02-13 17:28

    What happens when you take three self-destructive, morally grey people and force them to interact with each other? A high stakes psychological thriller from Stephanie Kuehn, potentially her best work yet.What I enjoy the most about turning to a Stephanie Kuehn novel is that I'm always given the sense that she is in control of this story. It's a strange thing to mention over and over; but there are some books with extraneous details, some books when I'm crossing things out in my head as I'm reading (and wondering what the point of X and X truly is). This will never happen with a Kuehn novel. She's a wordsmith through and through, and she keeps her novels taut with tension and her writing tight so that the thriller elements are well and truly highlighted.For her other novels, I've read reviews suggesting that some plot elements are predictable. Well, not so for me, and particularly not at all for this novel. I think this is where the fact that Kuehn used a third person perspective came in handy. Furthermore, instead of one unreliable perspective, we now have three. All those elements together make the past and future events that much more unpredictable. Still, even knowing that these PoVs are unreliable doesn't stop you from caring about the characters -- or if not about them, at least what they will do or what lays in store for them. Kuehn excels at making their voices not only distinct but also compelling (definitely didn't expect to ever feel empathetic towards a sociopath but wow, what.). I also think that these additional perspectives allowed for greater character complexity in the side cast, as each character has something different to say about, say, Mr. Su or Mrs. Tate. This is why I say that Delicate Monsters may be Kuehn's best work yet. The pacing is just as fast as her other novels, and the climax action-packed and full of tension and the best sort of satisfying character and plot reveals.... and now we've got added character complexity and unpredictability. Delicate monsters, indeed.Another thing that I really appreciate about Kuehn's novels is that she's handling very real issues. Her books aren't all about mentally ill characters - there's criticism on race, parenting, class, etc. But, most of all, she gives mentally ill people a voice. Whenever I've read a sociopathic character, it's generally been in the form of a villain. What easier way to create a villain than someone who doesn't care about harming other people, right? Taking on the challenge of creating a compelling, 3D sociopathic character is hard -- and yet, Kuehn does this with ease. Her books are so, so discussable - and not just for their take on mental health but also on other issues.I can only hope that a writer as talented as Kuehn will always have a place for her stories to be published. I'll certainly be coming back for more.Blog | Pinterest | Twitter | Booktube | Booklikes | Instagram | Google+ | Tumblr

  • Miranda Lynn
    2019-02-17 17:32

    Um...what the fuck was that?!Weird book, guys. Weird weird book.At first, I was very much captivated by it. It was gritty and edgy and I love those things. But once I got further into it, the less and less I liked it. There was too much graphic violence, especially the kind concerning animals (which is usually an instant deal-breaker and DNF for me, but for some reason, I decided to plow on in this case). The whole thing just felt like the author was trying too hard. It seemed purposefully strange, the characters purposefully as odd as the author could think to make them...for seemingly no reason at all. Two of the three main characters are complete and total sociopaths with pretty much no redeeming qualities. I just could not relate or connect to this book at all. And it was so graphic (in every way possible — sex, violence, language, themes) that I have a very hard time accepting that this is supposed to be a Young Adult book. I'm all for there being absolutely zero book censorship, but sometimes you just have to admit that some things are a little too inappropriate for certain ages. I'm 23 years old and I could barely handle this. In fact, now that I've finished it, I still feel kind of dirty inside for having read it all the way through. So I'm not so sure that I would recommend a 15-year-old picking this up. In my opinion, this is absolutely an adult novel, regardless of the characters' ages, so I'd definitely keep that in mind if you're considering reading this one.Honestly...this novel kind of scarred me. I've been very much wanting to read Keuhn's other novel Charm & Strange, but after having experienced Delicate Monsters, I'm really not sure that I ever want to read anything by her ever again. This book was very fucked up. If you like that sort of thing, this will be an instant favorite. But it was a bit too melodramatic, insane, and heartless for me.

  • Liviania
    2019-02-07 19:50

    DELICATE MONSTERS is a singular experience. It's dark as hell, a look into some very twisted minds. Sadie Su has just come back to town. She's a vicious girl who likes people who do bad things, who seriously injured a boy to make him not like her. Emerson Tate, her much poorer neighbor, dislikes that she has come back since she knows that he's a psychopath. Meanwhile, his younger brother Miles is suffering homophobic bullying and the effects of an idiopathic illness. All three exchange narration duties, their pasts, presents, and futures intertwined.Plenty of DELICATE MONSTERS is hard to read because of the accurate depiction of human viciousness. There's homophobic language, as previously mentioned, that escalates. There are references to past racist statements made by Emerson, thrown in his face by Sadie when he starts dating a black girl. There's violence inflicted on animals and children. There's sexual assault. This is not a novel for the delicate.I'm sure many will dislike the characters. Emerson appears to be the golden boy, but he does some awful things. At the same time, his thoughts are fascinating. I particularly liked Sadie, who is just plain strange. She doesn't do the things most people would do, but her actions make sense for who she is. Miles contrasts them both as the innocent one who doesn't deserve what's happening to him. At the same time, he has a dark side too. All three narrators are capable of violence.DELICATE MONSTERS is one of those books where it is hard to categorize your reaction. It's the sort of story most authors don't tackle. Stephanie Kuehn has the talent to pull it off, but most authors don't. I was slightly disappointed by the end, which could use a touch more resolution. There's a moment of catharsis, but I felt that only Sadie's story was complete.

  • Kirsten Hubbard
    2019-01-26 21:27

    my dear friend & author crush stephanie kuehn isn't afraid to venture into the darkest, most psychologically twisted places -- and DELICATE MONSTERS goes farther than ever. three characters, each equally compelling. I am so excited for june.

  • Emilie
    2019-02-20 14:34

    Another Stephanie Kuehn book?!

  • Jen La Duca
    2019-02-01 16:53

    Delicate Monsters was the first of Stephanie Kuehn’s books that I received in the form of an ARC from NetGalley but it turned out to be the last of her books that I read. When I decide to read a book by a new (to me) author I always go back and look at their other books too. When I read the synopsis of Complicit and Charm and Strange I just knew I had to read them! I ended up buying all three books in print, even though I already had a digital galley of this one. This is what happens when I have cover love, and I have some seriously deep cover love for Kuehn’s novels! As I’ve stated in my previous reviews, I love all her books, they’re fantastic. If I had to rank them in order I’d say that Complicit is my favorite, then Charm and Strange, and then Delicate Monsters. Don’t get me wrong though, there was nothing about this book that I didn’t love. I only rank it slightly lower than the others because I typically prefer psychological thrillers which are told through the POV of a single unreliable narrator, in Delicate Monsters we have three narrators and they aren’t necessarily unreliable.Sadie Su is a cruel seventeen year old who doesn’t seem to care about anyone nor have appropriate feelings for things in general. She’s just moved back to the California wine country where she grew up after being expelled from numerous boarding schools. She’s definitely one of the oddest characters I’ve ever read about and even though she’s mean and cruel, I kinda liked her and enjoyed reading the chapters from her POV. Emerson is an eighteen year old boy who comes from a very poor family yet they live in a very rich town. His goals in life seem simple; hang with his friends, get the girl he likes to be his girlfriend, and continue playing basketball. When he discovers that Sadie has moved back to town after all these years he realizes he now has a new life goal, avoid Sadie Su at all costs. You see, Emerson and Sadie used to hang out at her families vineyard when they were younger and Sadie knows all of Emerson’s secrets, secrets he’d never want getting out. I really liked Emerson at first and found it really interesting that he was able to integrate himself with all of these rich kids without hiding who he was or where he came from. Then there’s Miles, Emerson’s fifteen year old brother who seems to get sick all of the time yet nobody can explain why. Miles also believes he can see the future but his visions only show him impending doom and he’s stuck trying to figure out what it means and how to stop it. He’s relentlessly bullied and tormented at school, a constant loner. Miles was a bit of an enigma for me, I wasn’t sure if I truly “liked” him as a character but found his “visions” really fascinating and I loved trying to figure out if they were real or all in his head.There’s really no way to describe the plot of Delicate Monsters because to do so would involve spoilers and there’s no fun it that! What I can say is that this is a story about secrets, dark and dirty secrets that some of our characters don’t want anyone finding out, ever. I loved the amount of mysteries that were woven within this story, there were so many secrets to try and figure out and uncover and it really kept me turning the pages. What did Sadie do to get herself expelled from so many boarding schools? Why exactly is Emerson so hell bent on avoiding Sadie? What did he do when they were younger that was so bad he doesn’t want anyone finding out? And why has Sadie kept this secret to herself all these years? Why does Miles get so sick when no doctor can find anything wrong with him? Can he really see the future or is he actually mentally unstable? If his vision of an imminent tragic event is true, can he stop it from happening? This book will have your head spinning trying to figure it all out!If you know anything about Stephanie Kuehn’s novels then you know you’re in for a total mindfuck when you read them. In my opinion she’s the best, like seriously, she’s the queen of mindfucking your brain. I knew this going in. I’ve read her other books and was totally prepared. I thought to myself, this time I will see it coming. I’ll read between the lines & figure out the secrets of this novel before Kuehn wants me to. Ummm ya, so that’s not how it went at all! I really thought I was figuring it out too, I started seeing how all the pieces could come together to reveal this grand design and I thought “oooh this is gonna be good”. But what do I know? Clearly nothing because while I was busy “figuring out” what I thought was going on Kuehn was busy laying out her perfect web to trap me. When I finally realized what was going on my brain was like “what just happened?? no seriously…….. what the fuck just happened?!?!?!” I have no clue how she does it, NO FREAKIN CLUE PEOPLE! But she does it, every single time and that’s why she’s the queen :)I highly recommend Delicate Monsters (or any of Kuehn’s three books) for readers who love to get swept away into the darker side of human nature. If you fancy stories that are extremely dark and disturbing yet pull you in and fascinate you at the same time, then this is the book for you. If you love writing that mesmerizes and captivates you while also making you feel somewhat uncomfortable, then this is the book for you. If you enjoy deep, twisted character studies and endings that are left slightly open, then this is definitely the book for you. If you don’t love, like or even enjoy most of the things I’ve just mentioned then run, don’t walk, cause this isn’t the book for you ;)A huge thank you to the publishers, St. Martin’s Griffin and to NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary, advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!This review was originally posted on My So-Called Book Reviews

  • Bailey
    2019-01-22 20:35

    The things that we love tell us what we are.-St. Thomas AquinasRating: 4.5/5 STARSI think that I can safely say that I'm in shock over Delicate Monsters; I literally have no idea what to say. I suppose that I shouldn't be surprised that Stephanie Kuehn wrote another stunningly prodigious novel that managed to leave me speechless, an occurrence that rarely happens. However, I will try my best to form coherent sentences as I attempt to describe Kuehn's gripping new release. Delicate Monsters is equally dark, mysterious, eerie, and bizarre. Throughout the book, we gradually get to know three deeply troubled individuals: Sadie Su, Emerson Tate, and Miles Tate. Sadie is an agitator who loves to create trouble, inflicting suffering and pain upon whoever crosses her path. She's an unfiltered manipulator who doesn't listen to anyone. Emerson is almost like the "golden boy" of this story. He loves his mother, is a decent basketball player, and is a seemingly overall good teen, but he possesses a darkness within himself that's hidden and buried deep beneath his skin. No one has any idea about who he really is or exactly what he did during his childhood, except Sadie. Miles, my personal favorite, is small, sickly, and frightened. Under constant bullying, Miles is always alone; no one would protect him even if they wanted to. Together, these unsettling individuals create three separate perspectives that intertwine and unfold before your very eyes into something terribly distressing. This psychological contemporary kept me engaged; I never wanted to put it down. The further into the story I got, the darker it became, an aspect that I truly loved about Delicate Monsters. Nothing was held back. I was shocked time and time again by unveiled revelations. Mysteries were built upon mysteries until they all came tumbling down, releasing an avalanche of despair on my heart. I do have to warn you, now, that this book is not for the weak of heart. It's gritty and consuming. It also delves into mental illnesses and social issues that are sometimes hard to deal with.Kuehn's characters are undoubtedly enthralling and uniquely distinct. They have layers that are slowly pealed back, chapter by chapter, so that we can see who they truly are little by little. You think that you know them, but you don't. It's unimaginable to even fathom the depths of their souls. Mixing up who they are is impossible because the author does such a fantastic job of inserting an exceptional sharpness to each one of them. Her writing is also dreadfully beautiful. Kuehn is not afraid to think outside the box. She is willing to tell a story like no other, no matter how traumatic or disturbing it is.I have to admit, I've been having a hard time accepting the ending to Delicate Monsters, but I'm slowly coming to terms with it. It definitely fits the story, but I'm left with an ever wondering mind. However, I highly recommend this book to YA psychological fans everywhere! It's beautiful, memorable, addicting, and haunting. Please note that I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher, St. Martin's Griffin, in exchange for an honest review. All of my opinions are my own and were in no way influenced.You can see reviews like this one and more at

  • Rachmi
    2019-02-15 17:28

    ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.4.5 starsIn case you don't know, Delicate Monsters is Stephanie Kuehn's third book. I've read two of them. One thing for sure they have unusual stories and characters. The characters may be young, they are teenagers. Goodreads put them under Young Adult books but they are unlike most of YA books out there. Reading them like fresh air for me. And this book is just like that.First of all, I love the writing. It's beautiful, sometimes in a weird-eerie way and sometimes in a good way. But it's beautiful nonetheless. Here are for the example:There was more yelling, but over the music, Sadie couldn’t tell if it was happy yelling, like cheering, or the sound of a witch hunt starting up.His wings were long clipped, his soul long scarred, and what he’d left in that bunker for her to find -those birds that couldn’t fly; those words he couldn’t say- was the very best he could do.The future, his future, was almost here. He couldn’t deny that.Duty to harm, the wind whispered.You know what you have to do, boy.He clapped his hand over his ears.He slipped into the past from which he’d come, but would never understand.But the pace is a bit slow, slower thanCharm & Strange, I think. But once I get over it, I can't stop reading it. The characters.Sadie and Emerson are 17 years old teenagers. But they are unlike most of 17 years old I've read in YA books. Sadie creep me out most of the time and I cannot understand her at all. Emerson is nicer than her, at least at first that was what I think of him, and he's confusing me. I honestly don't know whether I should love them or hate them, while Miles is a weird 15 years old teenager who constantly worries about his illness and his "vision". I feel sorry for him but I can also feel that he is honest when he tells me his story. He can make me believe in him and despise Emerson and Sadie.The similarities of the three of them are they can convince me when they tell their stories. I'm confused, I'm sad and I'm angry for them. But they have more than what they tell. They twist my mind so that I cannot guess or know who is telling the truth. When telling their stories, their mind often feels like overlapping one and another. They jump from one thing to another in a blink of an eye. It's confusing but to me it's a good thing because it makes me more curious of the story. That is how good they are.The story.If you interested to read this book because of the blurb, let me tell you that what's in the book has a lot more than the blurb says. It doesn't mean that the blurb isn't good or misleads the story, far from it. When I read the blurb I thought the story is pretty simple and it is that simple, actually, about three teenagers who have problem with their family, friends and themselves. But it has so much more because they are also deal with their own mind. That is that makes the story feels different. And one thing that I really enjoyed is the characters reveal their story bit by bit. It's like the stories consist in layers. You have to be patient to know and understand it. Reading this book kinda reminds me of Gone Girl which I also love. The mystery is all over the chapter and throughout the story. The more I read it, the more confusing I get, in a good way, though.So if you're looking for unusual story with unusual characters, this one surely is a perfect choice for you!