Title: Girls & Monsters
Author: Anne Michaud
Rating: 3 / 5 (average)
Release Date: 30 April 2013
This dark but uplifting collection of five Young Adult novellas includes:
Death Song: Liz is in love with Joe, but the monster of the lake has other plans for them.
Black Dog: Scarlet is engaged in a struggle for her sanity, but according to the voice in her head, she may be too late.
A Blue Story: When Katherine’s beloved dog goes missing, she fears her strange new neighbor might be involved.
Dust Bunnies: Christiane faces her childhood arachnophobia and ends up confronting even greater fears in this test of sisterhood.
We Left at Night: Brooke and her family must abandon their home and their lives to make it out of a disease-plagued town overrun by zombies.
Girls & Monsters is for everyone who has ever been brave enough to confront their childhood fears…and lived to tell about it. (goodreads.com)
Since this book is five separate short stories/novellas, I’ll write my review this way, also. The rating of this review is an average of all five stories.
I don’t want to say too much about each story, because they’re pretty short and I’m trying not to have spoilers in this review, but just in case, here’s my big warning for **SPOILERS**. You’ve been warned.
Death Song: I love when mermaids aren’t the perfect Disney-esque creatures I’ve grown to hate. The only thing I wished was for more characterization. I wanted to feel more for Joe and Liz, but everything felt superficial. But the touches about the mermaid being linked to all water, even being able to use the pipes in buildings to get into bathrooms, was nice. 3 / 5
Black Dog: This one was so confusing for me. I had no idea what was going on the entire time. Scarlet is haunted by a voice in her head, she goes on a trip to England, meets a boy, but the dog she’s seeing isn’t having all of that. Scarlet is terrified that the schizophrenia that her aunt was diagnosed with previously is hereditary, and the ending was a bit… weird. I kept wondering whether the ending was all in Scarlet’s head, like she was wishing it would happen, or if it had actually happened. Or if the whole trip to England was one whole death-trip (a la Christopher Pike’s Road to Nowhere). Definitely bizarre, but pretty good. 3 / 5
A Blue Story: Definitely disgusted me (at least, the big reveal did). I really don’t know how to feel about this story. Stories with pets are always horrible (especially when Bad Things happen to the pets–cutesy romances are all yays for me), but I was hoping for a HEA, at least for the dog. Katherine gets a job working at the local pet store, but quits on her first (second?) day. Her boss, Matt, helps her out with investigating the new, creepy neighbor, and I just want to know why. Why, Matt? I didn’t get it. Of course, the big reveal was horrible in a horrifying sort of way, but what made it more horrible is that you just don’t know. You don’t know. Two weeks go by between Katherine’s dog going missing and the ending scene, so the reader is left wondering just what the heck happened in those two weeks. And the last few paragraphs of Katherine moving into her new dorm at college? Left me with a feeling of “Oh, God, no.” 4 / 5, if only for the “NO” ending.
Dust Bunnies: Spiders. I. Hate. Spiders. This one sent me for such a tailspin. Turned creepy, dog-sized spiders into fluffy companions. NO, and not in a good way. I just couldn’t with this one. Arachniphobia too great for me. 2.5 / 5
We Left At Night: Zombies! Oh, yay, zombies. A slightly different take, as we don’t actually see much of the zombies and they seem more like the infected from The Crazies, but then they act like vampires and I was like, buzh? The entire story takes place during one evening. It’s a little confusing (the narrator is doing homework at one point, even though school has been closed for a week). This seems to be a slow-moving virus. The actions of the military are very weird, sporatically showing up and disappearing as needed. As much as I like zombies, this one was just too off-the-wall for me. 2 / 5
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via netgalley in exchange for a fair review. All opinions are mine and were not influenced by either the author or the publisher.