only a monster book cover black with red swirls


Only A Monster

– Vanessa Len –

Monsters #1

Harper Teen

Published 22 February 2022


Only A Monster is AMAZING!!! Seriously. So good. By the first quarter of the book all but two of the characters we have met have been gloriously, brutally murdered. (Not lying!). It’s dark but funny, placed so well within the world that has been created and yet we get to journey across time. It’s unique and delicious.

Here’s what I loved:

Australia author. Debut (holy wow!!). Paranormal. Monsters (not like strange creature monsters, more like scary people monsters who do bad things). Monster slayers. Time travel. Humour. Star-crossed love. History. An almost love triangle that just doesn’t go there. And did I mention monsters?

Joan spends every summer with her mother’s family in London. She knows they’re a little strange but they’re family. She also loves the time she spends volunteering at the historic Holland House. Doesn’t hurt that her co-worker Nick is gorgeous, charming and, maybe, as into her as she is him. But when she accidentally travels herself a day into the future, Joan realises that her family isn’t just a little strange, they are gifted with the ability to steal time from others and use it to time travel. And that makes them, and her, monsters. And, it turns out that Nick, a legendary monster slayer, will do everything in his power to wipe out monsters for good.

I’m going to be putting this book in our school library’s paranormal collection and I just know that I won’t be able to keep it on the shelf. It is fabulous and perfect for readers who enjoyed the work of Cassandra Clare and Alexandra Bracken.

There is something very deliciously dark about this book. Maybe it’s the amount of bloodshed and death. Maybe the underlying theme. Maybe it’s that our protagonist is not the hero of this story. And yet, she is so the hero. Joan rebells against what being a monster is, but when Nick draws the battle lines, Joan jumps in to do anything and everything she can to save her family. She teams up with Aaron. Son of one of the legendary monster house family leaders. Also, son of the guy who tried to kill Joan (lots of people trying to kill Joan in this book.) I thought maybe, maybe their partnership might turn into a love story, but the book doesn’t go there. Instead, the romance is saved for a historic, love of the ages connection between Nick and Joan and it’s surprising, fated and epic.

This book surprised me in so many ways. It feels nostalgic and fresh and new all at the same time. It’s fun but serious. And the twists at the end were awesome. Epic but also the little moments and connections with incredible characters are what makes this book shine.

I can’t wait to see where Vanessa Len takes this series. I will definitely be along for the ride.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

More information

Category: Young adult fiction.

Genre: Paranormal

Themes: Monsters, time travel, history, family, death, murder, legends, romance.

Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.

Advisory: Coarse language, f*** (14), sh**(6), bit** (1). Strong violence, death, injury, murder, bloodshed, torture.

Representation: English-Chinese main character. Heterosexual main relationship, homosexual side relationships, LGBT side characters.

Published: 22 February 2022 by HarperTeen

Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook. 416 pages.

ISBN: 9780063024649

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