The Blair Witch Project meets Imaginary Girls in this story of codependent sisterhood, the struggle to claim one’s own space, and the power of secrets
Sixteen-year-old Skye is done playing the knight in shining armor for her insufferable younger sister, Deirdre. Moving across the country seems like the perfect chance to start over.
In their isolated new neighborhood, Skye manages to fit in, but Deirdre withdraws from everyone, becoming fixated on the swampy woods behind their house and building monstrous sculptures out of sticks and bones.
Then Deirdre disappears.
And when something awful comes scratching at Skye’s window in the middle of the night, claiming she’s the only one who can save Deirdre, Skye knows she will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.
Review: 4 Stars
For some reason I wasn’t very excited for Here There Are Monsters. I have had an ARC for months and kept putting off reading it. I’ve been on a fantasy kick lately and this title seemed more like a cross between horror and paranormal and for some reason I didn’t expect much from it. I have just wanted to read books set in fantasy worlds instead. As the publication date started creeping up I decided it was finally time to read it. Right from the beginning I was hooked. The writing is very attention grabbing and the book started off with Deirdre going missing. This book sunk its teeth into me and I found myself tearing right through it.
Monsters were way more interesting to Deirdre than animals, even talking ones.
This book is about two sisters named Deirdre and Skye, and it is told from Skye’s first person point of view. Deirdre still likes to create fantasy worlds and in these worlds Skye is always the Queen of Swords who protects her. When the family moves to try and give the girls a fresh start Skye tries to make new friends, but Deirdre is playing the same games and acting more strange than ever before. Skye is torn between being there for her sister and making new friends, but once her sister goes missing she feels like she made the wrong choice.
Riding to her rescue was my job before I ever had to do it in real life.
This book had me completely hooked for the first half. The character development was done incredibly well. I could easily relate to Skye as I have a sister and during high school we grew apart a little, but I would also do absolutely anything for her. Skye’s desire to protect her sister was something I could relate to very strongly, and I feel like that fact made this story so powerful for me. The sibling relationship in this story is incredibly complicated, but so well done and so relatable for anyone who grew up with a sibling. The first half of the story focuses on Deirdre going missing, but also flashbacks on how the family had gotten to this point. That part of the story was incredible, but I had some issues with the second half of the book.
I am not going to think of what closure might mean for Deirdre. She’s still out there somewhere. One way or another, she’s coming home. Fuck closure. We won’t need it.
The second half of the story is when the paranormal aspects enter the book and I have to admit, it takes some suspension of belief. While I did really enjoy it and the stories behind it all, I had a hard time feeling like it was real or even possible. I think that maybe it could have used a little more descriptions or maybe if the paranormal creatures didn’t talk I would have found them more creepy or real. Despite having this issue I still absolutely loved the book.
“She wasn’t always like that. Not with me. She was… she could be magic. You know? She could halfway convince you anything was real because she believed it so hard.”
Overall I am really impressed. I didn’t really expect to devour this book so fast or to relate so easily to the main character. I love Amelinda Berube’s writing and am so impressed by this story. I loved reading the acknowledgements and learning that this story was based on the woods behind her house, because I felt like the woods were a vital part of this story and the fact that they came from life was so cool to hear. I think that the ending was absolutely perfect for this book and would highly recommend this as a great fall read. I haven’t read Amelinda Berube’s other novel The Dark Beneath the Ice, but after reading this one I moved her other title higher up my TBR list.
You can’t just walk away when someone needs a hero.