Author: Kelley York
Released: June 2nd 2015
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Length: 352 pages
Source: Publisher for review
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…
Modern Monsters was a very pleasant surprise for me, a fairly short and exciting novel that can be read in one sitting. It’s very tightly written and compulsively readable and it gives us a convincing male voice, something we don’t get nearly often enough in YA fiction. Vic is not your average hero, YA or otherwise. He is a loner, a shy, antisocial boy with a stutter. He only has one friend, the very popular Brett, whose future is vastly different from Vic’s. Vic is used to being dragged around by his best friend and then abandoned in a corner when there are more shiny toys to play with. So when he follows Brett to yet another party and ends up sitting outside alone, he accepts it as just another fact of life.
Vic’s inherent kindness won’t allow him to turn his head from someone in pain, so when he sees a drunk girl throwing up in the bushes, he helps her to a room where she can sleep it off. He even worries about her over the weekend, and with good reason. Monday brings the news that the girl was raped, and the only person she actually remembers approaching her is Vic.
Vic is a character who jumps right off the page, with all his pain and insecurities. We watch him as he tries to defend himself, abandoned by everyone but Brett. Our hearts break with him as his mother turns her back on him, easily convinced that he’s a rapist and not the boy she raised to respect everyone, especially women.
Even while we follow Vic, we see Callie in the background and we witness the strength of her spirit in face of such a mindless, brutal attack. I loved how she refused to be a rape victim, choosing instead to face her schoolmates and retake control of her life.
Although it seems strange, romance was the highlight of this book, but it never became more important than Vic’s journey to find his own strength. Callie’s accusations, his mother’s distrust, police investigation, Autumn’s romantic interest and his best friends support all served to make him realize his own worth and stand on his own two feet. Modern Monsters may be heartbreaking at times, but the feeling it leaves you with is overwhelmingly positive.
The message this novel unobtrusively tries to convey is a worthy one, and a decent reward for the few hours you’ll spend reading the book. Modern Monsters is clearly the work of an experienced author whose work I’ll keep an eye out for in the future.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.