Thursday, June 4, 2015

Modern Monsters by Kelley York with excerpt, review and #giveaway #YoungAdult @elixing @entangledteen

Welcome to our stop on the blog tour for Modern Monsters by Kelley York. Get absorbed into the excerpt, read our review, and enter the giveaway. Thanks for stopping by today.

Modern Monsters
by Kelley York
YA contemporary mystery
Paperback/eBook, 352 pages
Release Date: 06/02/15
Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
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 did it. Suddenly, Invisible Vic is painfully visible, on trial both literally, with the police, and figuratively, with the angry and judgmental 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 that night, they realize that while the truth can set him free, it can also shatter everything he thought he knew about his life…

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Oh. The front door.

I pause, listening. Mom’s footsteps. Answering the door and saying worriedly, “Hello? Is everything okay?”

There’s an undercurrent to her voice that draws me from bed to poke my head into the hall. Beyond Mom stand two police officers, a man and a woman, and their eyes immediately move from her to me.

“We’re looking for Victor Howard. Is he home?” the lady asks.

“Victor is…” Mom turns, eyes wide and worried as she looks at me. “He’s right there. What’s going on? What is this about?”

The male responds, “Just have a few questions for him, is all.”

It takes effort to force myself slowly out of my room and down the hall. My chest is tight. “U-um, I’m V-Vic.” Stupidly, I offer my hand out to them, unsure what else to do. They glance at each other. Neither of them takes my hand.

“I’m Detective Sherrigan and this is Detective Carter, Waverly Police Department,” the man says. “We came to ask you about a party you were seen at Friday night.”

My insides are mush and my legs are jelly. I slowly lower my hand, watching Mom from my peripheral. As she steps aside to let the officers in and shut the door, her eyes are so wide that I’m expecting them to fall out of her head. Oh. The explaining I’m going to have to do after this will be amazing.

“Okay,” I say, wringing my hands together. “I-I was th-there.”

Sherrigan writes this down in his notepad. Carter remains poised, hands folded in front of her and expression grim. “Do you know a Callie Wheeler?”

My spine stiffens. “Is she okay?”

“Is that a yes?”

“Y-yes. I know her. S-sort of.”

While Sherrigan is portly and looks like he’d be a nice guy any other day of the week, Carter is the sort of cop you don’t want to mess with. Short. Hair pulled back into a serious bun, ruby-red lipstick that makes her look like she just tore out the throat of her enemies with her teeth. She doesn’t look impressed by me in the least. “Care to tell us what happened with Callie at the party that night?”

“I was at the p-party and she was, was, um, th-throwing up outside.” The words are coming harder, catching in my throat, tripping over my tongue. My hands are cold, clammy, made worse by my inability to get the words out as quickly as I want to. I can picture them in my head, but they’re getting lost somewhere in translation. “S-s-so, I…I…”

“Spit it out, son,” Carter says.

I breathe deeply. Try to start over. One sentence at a time. “I…took her upstairs. B-because, um, she was…drunk. Put h-her to bed and…and…that w-was it.” I look between the two of them, increasingly unsure if honesty is the best response right now. “Is she okay?”

“No, Victor, she’s not okay.” Carter dips her chin and peers over the top of her sunglasses. “She was raped.”

“Raped,” I repeat, because the word doesn’t have any meaning right away. It takes a second to process it, to digest it, comprehend its meaning. Rape. Any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.

The word flow stops all together. I stare dumbly at the detectives.

I should have stayed with her. I should have—I don’t know. I should have done something more than what I did. I had just thought…she would be safe there in that room.

“I’m afraid I don’t follow.” Mom’s voice is a few octaves higher than usual. It happens when she’s anxious. “Is that all you came to ask him? Obviously he doesn’t know anything about this.”

Sherrigan turns to her, but I don’t think his eyes ever really leave me. “Ma’am, your son is being accused of raping Callie Wheeler.”

Rating: 4
Cover comment: In a strange way, this cover works. Each picture helps complete a picture of Vic's life. And that one black panel, well, that one can hold the true monsters who don't want to reveal their faces.
Book source: I received a complimentary copy.

Modern Monsters by Kelley York is a thought provoking story featuring a different perspective about a rape case--from the pov of the accused. Refreshing, well written, consistently paced, the characters from Vic to Autumn to Callie really got to me and touched me. I was absorbed into their tale, into Callie's horror, Vic's nightmare, and Autumn's grim determination to avenge her friend. Yes, a young woman was raped at a party, and as horrible as that is, there are also other victims in this senseless crime.

Vic has a strong voice and is easily understood and sympathetic. He is the classic loner, befriended by a popular student, Brett, and accepted by his family as well. Though Vic had enjoyed a pleasant childhood being raised by his single mother, as he grew older he noticed a disconnect between them and her pulling away from her parental duties. Being a parent also means being able to love your children, yet his mom doesn't seem capable. Not anymore. When Vic is taken in for questioning and his mother doesn't show her support, it is heartbreaking to watch him realize just how lacking her feelings for him are. He already feels like a loner with his stutter, he's lanky and uncomfortable in his own body. Oh, the wonderful teen years.

The story itself is a powerful one as Autumn tries to figure out who raped her best friend, Callie fights to bring normalcy back into her life, and Vic grapples with a quick to judge student population, a prying reporter, no support at home, and the mystery of his father's identity. While this is a story centered around an individual accused of rape, it is also a mystery as the accused tries to discover who the real culprit(s) is. For a loner, Vic is a really nice guy with a huge heart. I really liked how he memorized words from the dictionary, remembering the right ones to express a certain scene or emotion. His insight, introspective and candid, moved me in many parts. Autumn is also a great addition as is Callie when we do get to see her. For the most part, a lot of the guys in this story aren't very trustworthy or likable. Brett is but we do see cracks in his near perfect facade. Thank goodness Vic has his boss at the convenience store to watch his back and offer a sane bit of advice.

For such a powerful portrait of the victim of a sex crime, we see the domino effect of a false memory and its effects on those involved and surrounding the victim and the accused. And then there is the mystery, the figuring out of the who/what/when/where/why and the gathering of evidence and motive. As Vic and Autumn get closer to a solution and grow closer to each other, there is an unraveling for the guilty and a reckoning for a young man and his mother. Yes, inside some of our pretty houses lurk some monsters in this modern age. They can look like me and you. When we bother to scratch the surface, we discover friend from foe. Vic discovers this and more in Modern Monsters, a gripping YA novel, and one of my favorites for 2015.

About the Author
"I like unicorns and cats and games...and stuff..." - quality author quote by Kelley

Kelley York was born in central California, where she still resides with her lovely wife, step-daughter, and way too many cats, while fantasizing about moving to England or Ireland. (Or, really, anyplace secluded.) She has a fascination with bells and animals and Disney. Her life goal is to find a real unicorn. Or to at least write about them. She occupies her spare time with video gamesdesigning covers, playing on Tumblr, and watching anime.

Kelley is a sucker for dark fiction. She loves writing twisted characters, tragic happenings, and bittersweet endings that leave you wondering and crying. She strives to make character development take center stage in her books because the bounds of a person's character and the workings of their mind are limitless.

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