Monster by C.J. Skuse

Received from NetGalley for review.

DNF @ 45%

I’m having a rubbish time with review books right now; we’re not gelling on any level. Now, as with previous books Monster is not really a bad book – it’s a somewhat entertaining little read with a lot of promise – but it wasn’t working for me, and I am definitely in the mind-set that life is too short to finish books I’m not enjoying.

Monster tells the story of Natasha (Nash), a boarding school student whose main ambition in life is to become Head Girl. Interspersed with this is a missing brother, first love, and being stranded at her school over Christmas whilst a strange beast stalks the school and the surrounding village. All of this is fairly entertaining and a little bit harrowing in theory, and I can imagine younger readers really enjoying it. For me, however, it reads too juvenile, too safe. I’m not sure whether it picks up in second half, but for me the first half was enough to establish that I didn’t want to finish the book. I’ve made notes on what I did read properly, and why it didn’t work for me, below:

– Nash is supposed to be around sixteen, but she reads a lot younger, and she seems very immature, which she probably is, which I suppose makes her fairly believable. I’m clutching at straws, I know.
– The ‘beast’ didn’t make me feel anything, not even with people going missing and strange body parts appearing in the woods be the school. Nothing about it was scary.
– The entire story was never menacing enough; I think there was a lot of potential wasted as there was a lot of opportunity for a really creep story – old boarding school in the moors, mysterious beast that is a local legend, sightings of said beast, being stranded in winter. Buckets of potential wasted to become a whiny pre-teen piece of fluff.
– The relationships between the girls in the school are all quite catty and judgemental which made me sad. There were some solid friendships between the girls, but also a lot of unnecessary competition and judgement.
– Nash’s first love scenario is very cliché and a little bit vomit inducing, and seems to jump out at the reader from nowhere.

Evidently Monster was not for me, but I hope others find enjoyment from it.

Read: September 26th 2015

2/5 stars

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