Me and the lovely book reviewer Emma over at HowlingReviews on Twitter decided to do a review swap. We both read Monster by CJ Skuse and then she is posting my review over on her blog and I'm posting her review on my blog!
At sixteen Nash thought that the fight to become Head Girl of prestigious boarding school Bathory would be the biggest battle she’d face. Until her brother’s disappearance leads to Nash being trapped at the school over Christmas with Bathory’s assorted misfits.
As a blizzard rages outside, strange things are afoot in the school’s hallways, and legends of the mysterious Beast of Bathory – a big cat rumoured to room the moors outside the school – run wild.
Yet when the girls’ Matron goes missing it’s clear that something altogether darker is to blame – and that they’ll have to stick together if they hope to survive.
This amazing thriller by C J Skuse is one constant rollercoaster that will keep you guessing until the very final pages.
Skuse writes in a perfect YA fashion, she knows her heroine and Nash has the right combination of determination and naivety to make her flawed, but her open mind is eventually what gives her strength.
Skuse manages to blend the everyday struggles of a teenager, love, grades and friendships, with the fear and shock of a thriller novel. Extra to the plot, Nash’s brother, Seb is also missing, which through the first person narrative, adds an extra level of unplaceable fear and anger.
The girls in this book were overly catty towards each other, though they do spend every waking hour in each other’s company, without mobiles or an internet connection, so I can appreciate that probably made them a bit stir crazy. The character development for the students is progressive and even sometimes regressive but they pull together when they most need each other.
My only disappointment with this book is that the Beast didn’t play as big a part as I’d anticipated. I felt that it really could have added more to the plot. In a way I can appreciate what Skuse was trying to achieve. She showed that the object of our fear is not infact fearful but the people we surround ourselves with that can be the true terror.
Overall, I was shocked by this book not once but twice on a plot twist that reveals itself in two steps. Skuse has created an interesting subversion on the typical thriller that doesn’t give anything away!