Modern Monsters

Modern Monsters

by Kelley York

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633750029
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 06/02/2015
Series: Entangled Teen Series
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 1,274,160
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Kelley York is the author of Made of Stars and Hushed. She was born and raised in central California, where she still resides with her lovely wife, daughter, and an abundance of pets. Visit her online at: http://www.kelley-york.com, www.yatopia.blogspot.com, or www.fortheloveofcontemporary.blogspot.com

Read an Excerpt

Modern Monsters


By Kelley York, Stacy Abrams, Tara Quigley

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2015 Kelley York
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63375-004-3


CHAPTER 1

Aaron Biggs leans over me to ask, "How's it going, Vic?"

His freckled face and dyed black hair obscure my light. I squint at the page of algebra equations on the cafeteria table, decide they aren't going to make any more sense to me whether or not I pause to see what Aaron wants, and look up at him. "Um. F-fine?"

"Super." He flashes me a grin. "My brother and his buddies rented out a cabin on the lake for a party this Friday. He said it would be cool if I invited a few people."

I'm used to playing receptionist. This invitation is not meant for me, but for my best friend, Brett. I am not important. I am tolerated by association. I am Vic Howard, Brett Mason's Best Friend, so while people don't always care to learn anything about me, they do recognize my face. Being cool to me, they seem to think, is a way to stay cool with Brett. At least Aaron knows my name instead of referring to me as "Hey, you." Of course, that's only because his mom and my mom are also best friends.

Aaron doesn't leave until I've written down his information: address of the party, phone number, and time. He stresses that there will be booze, food, and girls. Plenty of girls. College girls, even. The idea makes my throat dry. I can hardly talk to a girl my own age, let alone one older than me and with undoubtedly a great deal more life experience.

It's Wednesday, meaning I don't even see Brett until tennis practice after school. This also means I'm parking my butt on the bleachers outside the tennis courts and watching for the next two hours while Brett and a handful of others knock balls back and forth while wearing shorts that are way too short for my comfort.

When they're done, Brett slips through the gate, mopping sweat off his forehead and grinning my way. "Yo."

Sometimes when I look at Brett, I still see the chubby, pimple-faced kid with braces and glasses whom I befriended in third grade. Maybe that's why he doesn't impress or intimidate me the way he does everyone else. I knew him back when nobody else wanted to. "P-party invite," I say, short and to the point. Even though Brett has never made fun of my stutter, it's habit to keep sentences short. I hand him the information I took down.

Brett takes it and skims it over. "The lake, huh? Could be fun. Do you want to go?"

"The invite was f-for you."

"And you, by extension. I'm not going if you aren't going." He crams the paper into his duffel bag.

Parties aren't my thing. More often than not, I end up being the loser sitting on the couch and watching Brett mingle and make new friends. Not that I'd want him clinging to my side the whole time — that'd be even lamer — but still ... knowing he likes me to tag along is what convinces me to go to his social outings. No one else may care that I'm around, but Brett does. "Maybe."

Brett plops himself down beside me. "Do you have other plans?"

He always gets me there. "I m-might ..."

"You don't." He laughs. "Come on. It's something different, yeah? Not some lame kegger while soand-so's parents are out of town where we'll get yelled at for breathing on anything."

It is something different ... except I don't like different. Brett nudges me with an elbow — once, then again when I roll my eyes and don't answer right away, and a third time, until: "Fine, I'll go."

"That's my boy." He claps me on the back, shoulders his duffel bag, and jerks his chin toward the parking lot. "Now let's get out of here."

Friday after school, Brett and I head to his place so he can get showered and dressed, all while lecturing me about the importance of wearing something nice and "at least run a brush through your damned hair, Vic," because my dark curls look unruly no matter what I try. Then we swing by my house so I can drop off my stuff and get changed. We're planning on grabbing a bite to eat on our way to the lake. I'm thinking the combination of a bunch of drunk people and a large body of water is a really bad idea, but what do I know? Don't be a buzzkill, Brett would say.

Mom is in the kitchen nursing a cup of coffee. As I'm heading out the door, I stop to tell her, "Going to the movies, then I'm s-staying at Brett's tonight. Be home tomorrow." This is more of a formality than anything. Mom doesn't care where I am if I say I'm with Brett. She assumes anyone with a 4.0 grade point average must be a good kid. A good influence. Ha. Since it's just Mom and me and she doesn't really care what I do as long as she thinks I'm not getting into trouble, I pretty much have free rein to do whatever.

Mom halfway twists around to smile vacantly. "That's good. Tell him I said hello." No further questions. Not that I expected any. Brett is outside, honking, so I leave without a good-bye.

Not counting the hour-long stop for dinner at a restaurant, the trip only takes about forty minutes. There are something close to thirty cars crammed haphazardly together outside the lake house already, because Brett insisted on showing up fashionably late. Everyone else has probably been here a good hour or two. Brett parks close to the end where it isn't as crowded. Even from here, I can make out the sound of music blaring, along with the shouts and cheers of people splashing around in the lake on the far side of the house. I should not have eaten that greasy cheeseburger and fries at the diner, because my stomach is in knots.

The lake houses are two stories separated by a stretch of beach, so the noise from a party isn't likely to bother the neighbors. I looked this place up online last night (I like having a good idea of what I'm getting into before an outing) so I know they're pricy rentals. I know it has four guest rooms upstairs, two bathrooms, its own kitchen, and a hot tub out back. Shrubs line the walkway to the front door.

Brett leads me inside. It's one of the rare instances where I get to see him out of his element, because here he isn't Mr. Popular with everyone. (Yet. We'll see what happens by the end of the night.) Out of the sea of faces, I recognize maybe half. The rest must be friends of Aaron's big brother, students of the local colleges. The people who are familiar to me aren't people I've ever talked to much, anyway. Nearly everyone in the immediate vicinity is older than us, with the exception of Aaron, who just so happens to be making his way over from beside the patio doors with two plastic cups in hand.

"Glad you could make it!" He shoves a beer into Brett's hand and one into mine. "Got food in the kitchen with the keg. There's a chick in there mixing drinks, too."

Brett doesn't smile, but he looks around with an appraising nod that suggests he approves. He leaves my side and drapes his free arm around Aaron's shoulders despite being a good three inches shorter, and casts a look my way as though to ask if I'm coming. I don't particularly care for Aaron, nor do I want to trail on Brett's heels all night, so I shake my head mutely. Brett shrugs and they drift away from me. Brett is saying, "Why don't you introduce me to a few people?"

I give it twenty minutes before he's either making out with someone or getting into deep conversations about the merits of whatever college these people go to versus some of the colleges on his (or rather, his dad's) wish list.

Where does that leave me? Standing just inside the front door with a beer in my hand. I hate beer. It tastes like battery acid. Not that I've ever tasted battery acid, but it's what I suspect battery acid would taste like. I try a sip anyway, like maybe I've forgotten and tricked myself into thinking it tastes horrible.

Nope. Still battery acid.

I don't want to abandon my cup just yet, so I wander through the house, observing the various clusters of people talking, dancing, shoving their tongues in each other's mouths, mingling, having fun — everything I am not a part of. I'm in my own little bubble, unacknowledged by everyone.

In the kitchen, I discreetly dump my beer out in the sink and toss the cup into the trash. Before I can get far, someone spots me drink-less and shoves another red plastic cup into my hand. At least this one doesn't smell like piss in plastic. I'm pretty sure this drink consists of orange juice and vodka, with a little umbrella poking out to make it look fancier than it is.

The throng of people and the steady rumble of various conversations going on at once is making me claustrophobic. I make my way out back, which is much better. The air is cool and sharp and smells of water and sand. Paper lanterns hang from the trees, providing a dim but helpful glow to the stretch of rocky beach the house rests on.

There is no sign of Brett, which means he's still inside somewhere. I don't really care about finding him just yet. As long as he's having fun, then whatever. I'm not going to be the dude who puppies around after his best friend because he can't function socially on his own. If that means sitting here until he comes looking for me? Cool. That's sort of how these things go. Brett wants me to come with him, even in groups, but I never know how to interact. We've gone to the movies, bowling alleys, laser tag, arcades, and just hanging out at Brett's place with his friends from school or his tennis group. Some of them are nice enough guys; I just prefer to keep to the sidelines, out of the way.

My drink stays in hand while I people-watch. I spot Aaron's brother stripped down to his boxers, conversing loudly with a handful of people with lake water lapping at their legs. One guy I remember seeing at school floats around on a pink raft, tethered to the shore so he doesn't drunkenly drift away. A couple near the back door are arguing. By some miracle, despite their slurred speech, they're being quiet enough not to attract too much attention. A girl behind me is throwing up in the bushes.

My stomach rolls in sympathetic nausea at the sound of her heaving. A quick look around tells me that either none of her friends are here, or they don't care that she's spewing her guts all by herself. I weigh my options: go inside and pretend I didn't see anything, or help her before she falls over and passes out. Possibly in the same bushes she's getting sick on.

In the end, it isn't really a question. Maybe I'd like to turn my head the other way, but I'm already setting my drink down and coming up behind where the girl is bent over, hands on her knees, long blond hair a tangled mess around her face. She's taking small breaths, shallow and quick, and whimpering. I squint. Now that I'm getting a better look, I recognize her from school.

"C-Callie?"

Callie Wheeler moved to town in the middle of last year. I knew her only because Brett and I have both shared classes with her at some point or another. She jerks her head around in my direction so fast she nearly falls over, and I catch her by the elbows. Her gaze floats across my face. She's probably trying to place my name. Most people don't pay enough attention to know it. Just as she opens her mouth to say something, I see the color drain from her face. I help turn her back around just in time for her to throw up again, and I rub awkward circles across her back, unsure what else to do. Only when she's done does she straighten up and slump against me. I hold on to her arm and place the other hand on her hip to turn her around to head for the house. Such is the joy of getting here late; everyone else is already plastered.

Callie wobbles on her feet, eyes closed to slits so small I doubt she can see where we're going. "Who're you 'gain?" she mumbles.

I have to hold on to her waist to make sure she doesn't stumble coming over the threshold of the back door. "Uh. V-Vic. Vic Howard?" Why do I feel the need to make it a question? As though I'm asking, I'm Vic, is that okay? "I'm a f-friend of Brett Mason's. We've had classes together."

"Oh," says Callie, and her eyelids droop and then close as we reach the steps that lead to the second floor. I'm left to haul her up them one at a time because she isn't lifting her feet much.

Given we aren't in someone's permanent home, I'm not worried about which room I take her to. I figure the first bedroom I come to on the left will do fine. Callie groans as I lay her down on the bed — on her side, in case she throws up again — and tug over a small wastebasket in hopes that she'll use it instead of, say, the floor. I lift her legs up onto the mattress.

When I straighten up to pull away, she paws at my arm. "Don't ... don't call my dad ..."

"I won't, I promise. But I'm g-going to leave you here, okay? Try to sleep."

Callie rolls her red and blurry eyes up to look at me. She manages a smile before shifting further onto her stomach, flopping her head against the pillow, and passing out almost instantly. She's going to be in for it with her parents if she stays here all night, I'll bet, but that isn't my problem. She's safe and she's comfortable. I've done my part.

Heading back to the party, I stop halfway down the stairs where I have a better view of the people lingering in the living room and near the back door. Callie isn't the only one passed out: the couch is occupied by a couple pawing at each other and a guy slouched back against the cushions, surrounded in plastic cups like he came here for no purpose other than to get as drunk as he could as fast as he could.

I'm searching for anyone who might go to my school and who might be a friend of Callie's so I can let them know to check on her. I see plenty of people I know, but I don't remember seeing Callie ever hanging out with any of them. Hell, even if I did spot one of her friends, I probably wouldn't know it. I see Chris Christopher (yeah, that's really his name) passing a joint around to Helen Barkley and Robbie Kurtis. Patrick Maloney, one of Aaron's best friends, bumps into me as I come down the stairs while he's going up, along with Eric and Jacob. Probably in search of a free bathroom or something, or to scope out the rooms to bring girls to later. Nobody looks twice at me.

The smell of weed is so strong at the bottom of the stairs that it almost makes me gag. I don't feel much like going out back again, so I wade through the crowd to the front door and squeeze outside.

It's amazing how much quieter it is from the front porch. The party is a world away, nothing but distant sounds of splashing and shouting, and I try to decide if there's something wrong with me that I'm incapable of mingling and having a good time like everyone else here. Like Brett. I've never "lived it up" at a party. I've never hooked up with a girl. I've never gotten so drunk that I threw up in the bushes. Given how much fun everyone seems to be having ... am I missing out?

We got here two hours ago. Brett could be out in ten minutes or five hours. There's never any telling with him. It depends entirely on if he found something to entertain him: a conversation he enjoys or a girl he can flirt with. I have little else to do but utilize the abundance of games on my phone to entertain myself.

It's another two hours before Brett texts me:

you ok? where are you?

I respond, and in a few moments he emerges from the house with a smile. He's been drinking, but Brett never gets sloppy drunk, just happy drunk. Kudos to him.

He tosses me his car keys. "Ready to get going?"

They hit my knuckles and then the ground when I attempt to catch them. "Yeah. Meet anyone?"

"Nobody worth calling later." Brett crams his hands into his pockets and heads for the car. I grab the keys from the dirt and follow. Driving is always exciting. I've had my license for a year, but Mom doesn't have money to help me buy a car, and even after saving all summer I'd only ended up with enough cash for something I'd be humiliated to be seen in. Getting behind the wheel of Brett's semi-new hybrid is always awesome. Although I had planned to stay at his place, he informs me that he has things to do bright and early in the morning so we might as well drop me off at my house.

While Brett dozes in the passenger's seat, I focus on getting us home in one piece, letting my mind wander. This is my car. I'm driving home from a party I was invited to, not because of who my best friend is but because people wanted me there. I have the windows down and my sunglasses on, smiling at anyone we meet because I'm not self-conscious that my hair is a mess or I'm too tall, too skinny, too dorky, or too not worth looking twice at. When I get home, I'll have a bunch of texts waiting for me:

thanks for coming tonight, man! and it was great meeting you, let's hang out next weekend.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Modern Monsters by Kelley York, Stacy Abrams, Tara Quigley. Copyright © 2015 Kelley York. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Modern Monsters 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because it was on sale for $0.99 and I like to have books to read in between in series I may be working on and was I pleasantly surprised. I couldn't put it down! The author pulled you into the story completely. It made me laugh, it made me cry. It made me angry and it made me smile. Her choice to write it from the perspective of the accused was different and refreshing. I have never read a book by this author but I definitely look for other books that she has written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was not initially sure whether or not this was the book for me, but I am now certain that I made the right choice by purchasing it. The story is both well written and incredibly difficult to dismiss. I enjoyed every second of reading it, and would reccommed it to anyone who enjoys YA novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
VoluptuousBDiva More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review when I signed up to host the book tour. I made no guarantee of a favorable review. A truly emotional ride that left me in total shock as the revelation of who truly committed the heinous crime. Vic is a quiet young man who is a loner with just one friend. Brett is popular, outgoing and going places and Vic's best friend. One night they attend a party and from that night on actions that are put in motion quickly change everyone's lives. the story line and characters are well developed and once you start to read this book you won't want to put it down. I was so invested in the story that I read it in one day. I applaud Kelley York's writting abilities and look forward to reading more from such an outstanding and gifted writer.
Sheri_B1975 More than 1 year ago
Originally posted on my blog: Tangled Up In Books I received a copy of this book, from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. In no way did this sway either my review or my rating. Thought provoking. My brain is just a tornado of thoughts right now. Like the fact that I can't believe I had doubts that I would even like this book before I started it. It was an impulse request, one which I'm obviously now glad that I made. But still, when dealing with tough subjects, like the ones in this book, they need to be done just right for me. I don't like them made light of nor do I want them to be overly dramatic either. It didn't take but just a few pages for me to become captivated by this book and these characters. The writing was nothing short of beautiful. I liked the fact that it was entirely in Vic's point of view. It was different spending the entire book with the accused instead of the victim. It felt fresh and new and most importantly natural. I can be very difficult to please most especially when it comes to the teenage male voice. I've struggled in the past with authors who just can't quite capture it and make it feel natural and real. All I felt was real as I read Modern Monsters. There were things that I thought were easy to predict, like Vic's family secret. But there were also things that completely shocked me and I never expected, like the true events of the night of the party. Vic's character is instantly likable, lovable even. He's the quiet loner type of guy with a bit of a stutter, mostly when he's nervous or anxious. He's awkward and clumsy but mostly he's just this very sweet and gentle soul. I felt all of the ups and downs he went through deeply as he struggled to clear his name. I think knowing the kind and gentle person he is in a way made this hard to read and see all the people who turn on him and the things that they put him through. I kept wishing I could just shout, "he didn't do it!" I was very surprised by the romance that developed in the book. I wasn't really expecting it, but once it slowly started to spark it was almost like a relief. A bright spot through all the deep and heaviness that surrounds the rest of the book. I say it was a bright spot but not once did it ever overshadow the main storyline or make it seem like it was being downplayed. It gave moments of happiness and hope in a story that was otherwise tragic and sad. Hope because finally someone was putting their trust and faith in Vic. It warmed my heart. I was also very pleased with all the directions that this book was taken. I mean, the end was both happy and just gutting. It wasn't an easy end that I'd accept with a smile and then wrap it up with a neat little blow. It was the type of ending that left me thinking there was no way that I could possibly have read that right. But you know what? I'm totally okay with that. That's what made it so real. That's what left me with my emotions feeling slightly raw. This book was so good. I could not put it down. I finished it in one sitting and thoughts about it still rattle around in my head. The writing and storyline were fresh, intense and exciting. If you like emotional books that deal with tough subjects then I really, really recommend this one. It's one that I would have no problem picking up and rereading and probably even will one of these days. Thanks to Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book!!
mamelotti96 More than 1 year ago
I received an e-copy from the publisher via Netgalley, but in no way does that have an impact on my opinions.  Modern Monsters covers the topic of rape. There are many books out on the shelf that tell the story of a rape from the victim's point of view, but there are not too many that tell the story from the point of view from the wrongly accused suspect. Modern Monsters does just that.  Meet Victor Howard, Vic to most people. He talks with a stutter, and could be classified as a loner. He does have one really close friend, Brett. Brett has always protected Victor, and is more like a brother to him than a friend. He always has Vic tag along to parties, dinners, and plan old hangouts at the house. The party scene isn't Vic's scene at all, and he knows that he is the designated driver for Brett so he has to go and stay. Friday night starts out as any other Friday night party, but by Monday evening everything Vic thought he knew gets turned upside down.  As I mentioned before, Modern Monsters was written from the point of view of the person who is wrongly accused of raping a girl. In this case, Vic is our narrator and prime suspect in the rape of Callie Wheeler. However, Vic knows that he wasn't involved what-so-ever, but he was also the last person people saw with her that night. It also doesn't help that he is quiet and a loner, which rubs people the wrong way making him an easy scapegoat. Meanwhile, his mom is becoming more and more distant and cold towards him. Vic has no idea why and longs for the motherly love that Brett's mom has given him. Then he finds out the truth about his father. I'm going to say there are a few implied comments made that make you realize what happened between him and Vic's mom, but it still hits you hard when Vic's mom finally tells him what happened and what he is. While of these conflicting emotions are running through Vic's and our heads, Vic and Autumn are determined to find out who is the real rapist. The more and more time they spend together the more those romantic feelings fly.  So, as you can probably tell the plot is quite complex, and that is no different with the characters. I believe the biggest change in character was Vic. We meet him when he's basically Brett's shadow. He clings to and worships the ground Brett walks on. And why not? Brett is heading to Ivy League schools, athletic, and is popular among all of his peers and strangers. Basically, everything Vic can only dream about. However, by the end of the book, after everything has taken place with the case, his mom, his dad, etc, we see him be able to walk on his own two feet. He can make his own decisions without double checking with Brett or anyone else. He knows he doesn't have to walk in any more shadows. You can't help but feel proud of him by the end of the novel.  Being falsely accused of rape can ruin one's life, and Kelley York does an amazing job in writing the traumatic experience from the innocent suspect's view. Modern Monsters is a heart-wrenching and unpredictable story of a boy wrongly accused for raping a girl at a party. You will feel all the emotions that all the characters are experiencing as they try to figure out who is the real suspect. The ending took me so off guard that I am still in shock who the real rapist was. York keeps your mind racing the whole time as you yourself try to solve the case. 
teengraceland More than 1 year ago
3 1/4 stars. So I came into this book with very high expectations because of the topic of this book: rape. When you target such incredibly sensitive topics, authors need to be extra careful they way they approach the situation. Needless to say I was excited and nervous. My original thoughts on the book were high. The beginning was really interesting, especially with the characterization of the main character, Vic. Vic is a very shy guy with a stutter, which intrigued me because that usually isn't a typical character you find in YA. The story progressed and the setup for the story and rape occurred, setting my expectations really high. That's right, my hopes were crushed. Unfortunately it didn't take the direction I wanted it to. The focus of the rape didn't stay where I wanted it to. The way the synopsis is setup, you would think a lot of the story's focus would be on clearing Vic's name. Nope. There were several irrelevant sideplots. Despite this, there was still some good. The section before the very end made up for what the book lacked. There was a plot twist that I did not see coming at all, and I enjoyed that. But then the end disappointed me, so there's that. Overall, I liked it some and it was definitely a quick read, but I felt that it could have gone so much better. There were so many better directions this book could have taken, especially with a subject like this.
KikiD870 More than 1 year ago
One of the first things that struck me about Modern Montsers was the voice, that of a teenage male and something that there is not enough of in YA literature.  And that voice was convincing and empathetic. Vic is not the stereotypical YA hero and I LOVED that.  His best friend is one of the more popular guys, but he is not.  He has a stutter and, largely because of that, he is rather socially awkward.  He isn't portrayed as the shy, socially awkward guy who is secretly a brilliant guy either.  Instead, he barely scrapes by academically.  But what he is is loyal and kind, unable to turn his back on anyone that needs help.  Unfortunately, this can also get him in trouble... and it does. His heart is in the right place and he has the best of intentions when he sees a classmate at a party, drunk and sick.  He helps her and finds a place for her to sleep it off.  Later, she is attacked and his face is all she remembers.  One thing leads to another, and he is suspected of attacking her.  His own mother believes the worst of him, leading to an interesting subplot.  His best friend's family takes him in, the father defending him, when his own mother can barely look at him.  Then he finds an ally in the most unlikely of places... Callie's best friend Autumn. I love Autumn and her role in the story.  She is intelligent and she thinks for herself.  She is skeptical and thoughtful and loyal and she sees beyond the surface, really looking to discover who people are for themselves, not for what others make them out to be. The interesting thing is that there are almost two main plots in the book.  The mystery of what happened to Callie and the romance.  Neither one overshadowed the other; both of them equally integral to the story and character progression.  The romance was beautiful, often funny, and always sweet.  And the mystery parts of it were twisting and turning.  The story there was intriguing, and all too realistically probable. There were moments when I just wanted to jump into my book and alternately hug on Vic and throttle his mom and others for how they treated this genuinely nice guy.  The story line was gritty and real, and extremely well handled. My Recommendation:  In it's own way, this book was beautiful.  Yes, there were story lines of betrayal and assault and neglect, but the emotions behnd it all were what made it beautiful.  There were themes of emotional neglect, peer pressure and pressure from family, themes of bullying and acceptance, friendship and loss.  And all of these things were woven together to create a wonderful story!
ItsPortiasBooks More than 1 year ago
I received this ARC from Entangled Teen through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book faces a really tough, sensitive subject.  I really, really loved Vic's character. He really grew so much through the course of the story, while facing incredibly hard to deal with issues. You really feel so bad for him, and whats worse, is knowing that things like this can happen in real life, and have happened.  What I also loved about this book was the fierce loyalty that the friends had for one another. Whether between Callie and Autumn, Vic and Brett, or Vic and Autumn, it was refreshing to see that kind of commitment to one another and protectiveness that they all seemed to have for each other.  his book is also a large reminder that you may never really know what people are capable of, no matter how they appear. But it also reminds you that sometimes it is possible to love someone and still hate them, and that sometimes happiness can be found in dark times.  The reason I didn't give 5 stars is mostly because I immediately knew who to blame. I don't know why, or maybe its just to good guesser in me, but I knew. Immediately. But I cant pin point a specific thing that made me feel that way. But as with and book with an unknown bad guy, you try to figure out or build an opinion about who it is. So guessing it from the beginning took away some of the air of mystery and the shock factor for me. But for someone who doesn't try to figure it out, it would definitely be surprising and sad. So I advise going in without trying to figure it out.  Overall, this book was very well written and dealt with the issues in a great way, and from a great perspective.