Modern Monsters by Kelly York
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published: 02 June 2015, Entangled Teen
Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours
Confession: I was originally scheduled to post a review but my review copy never reached me. I have no idea why. Nevertheless, I present you, Modern Monsters! ❤
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…
She rounds a corner. Instead of going into a classroom, she walks out the double doors leading to the quad, maybe heading for the library or the gym. I jog to catch up, reaching out to touch her shoulder. “Hey—”
The next thing I know, the sky is above me and I’m hitting the ground as my legs are knocked out from under me. I see stars. In broad daylight. Concussion: minor brain injury that may occur when one’s head strikes an object. Ow.
The girl’s face comes into view as I’m blinking the white from my vision. “You following me, jackass?” she snarls. “I know who you are. You’ve got some fucking nerve.”
I push myself up to sit, scooting back on the concrete to avoid getting struck again in the event she lashes out. “N-no—I mean, y-yes. I j-just wanted—”
“Wanted to what? I’ve got nothing to say to you.”
“I…I saw you at Callie’s l-locker…”
“If I had my way, they would have thrown your sorry ass in jail already. You realize they’re getting a restraining order against you.”
“Better not let me see you in the parking lot, ’cause you’d better believe I’ll mow you down.”
“I didn’t touch her!”
The heat of my voice startles me. I’m not a yeller. I keep quiet, under the radar. But those words felt like they were going to burst out of my ribs if I didn’t say them. Callie’s friend is watching me with a smouldering glare.
“Right. She just made it up, then.”
“N-no. I didn’t say…say that.” Once I’m sure she isn’t going to use some weird karate move to put me on the ground again, I pick myself up. “I’m just saying it w-wasn’t m-me.”
She squints, looking me over. Studying me. I’d feel less exposed lying naked on a silver tray in biology being sliced open in the name of science. “Why were you following me?”
Why was I? What, exactly, did I want to ask? What did I want to say? I rub the back of my neck, ducking my head. “I wanted to s-see if you could deliver a m-message.”
“Uh-huh. What kind of message?”
“T-tell her…I d-didn’t do it. I swear on my life. And…” The guilt. It comes out of nowhere and slides its slivers into my lungs, making my chest tight. “Tell her I’m sorry.”
She folds her arms, gaze steely. “Sorry for what?”
“For not keeping her safe.” That’s what it comes down to. No, I didn’t rape Callie Wheeler, but I feel like it was my fault it happened. The number of things I could have—should have—done to prevent it seems staggering. The weight of my guilt makes it hard to breathe.
Once upon a time, Kelley York was born in central California. And it’s there she she still resides with her wife, step-daughter, and way too many pets. Kelley is a sucker for dark fiction. She loves writing twisted characters, tragic happenings, and bittersweet endings that leave you wondering and crying. Character development takes center stage in her books because the bounds of a person’s character and the workings of their mind are limitless.
The floor is yours: Kelley York
Romance Around Plot VS Plot Around Romance
If you’ve read any of my books, you’ll know romance often takes a back seat to the rest of the plot. In all of my books, you could take out the romantic aspect, and still have a coherent story. Archer would still kill people and come to realize he’s probably making some bad life choices, Vince would still lose his foster mom and battle his depression alongside his friends, London would still fake having a boyfriend so no one finds out she’s gay…
This is a conscious decision on my part. Romance-oriented plots can be great! The first romance plot that hits me is, of course, Twilight. Because without the romance, there really wouldn’t have been a story. The story was their romance. There are entire genres dedicated to romance being the single most important aspect of the book. Compare it to something like Harry Potter or Hunger Games, where the romance can be stripped out, and you’d still have plot.
But that’s not what I write. In fact, here’s an admission: romance is really, really difficult for me.
Which is kind of dumb because I’m really a hopeless romantic at heart, but I’m not great at expressing it in words. I can envision characters professing love for one another, having heated moments of passion, moving heaven and earth to be with each other. Then I go to write it and it’s like, “HOW DOES WORDS?!?!”
So while editing Modern Monsters, when I got my first round of edits and one of the notes was: “Let’s beef up the romance!” my first thought was, “Nope. Not going to happen. I’m incapable. Failure.”
It was a good exercise for me, though…after I stopped flailing uselessly. Especially since I have a book in the works that I’m struggling through because it is one of those romance-oriented stories. I’m not a fan of the insta-love trope in my own books. I’m more of a slow burn writer, letting things come across subtly and slowly. Because slow burn and subtle—for me—gives me some of the most fun scenes to write.
What kind of tropes do you love or hate in your YA novels? Is there something you used to like but has played itself out?