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Release Date
April 19, 2022
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Virgil Knox was attacked by a monster.

Of course, no one in Merritt believes him. Not even after he stumbled into the busy town center, bleeding, battered, and bruised, for everyone to see. He’d been drinking, they said. He was hanging out where he wasn’t supposed to, they said. It must’ve been a bear, or a badger, or a gator—definitely no monster.

Virgil doesn’t think it was any of those things. He’s positive it was a monster. But being the new kid in a town where everybody knows everybody is hard enough as it is without being the kid who’s afraid of monsters, so he tries to keep a low profile.

Except he knows the monster is still out there. And if he isn’t careful, Virgil’s afraid it’ll come back to finish him off, or worse—that he’ll become one himself.

Editor review

1 review
(Updated: April 30, 2022)
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What worked: Engaging horror tale of a teen who insists he was bitten by a monster and the fall-out that follows. I'm a huge fan of Hutchinson's books. This novel addresses sensitive topics like homophobia, disorder eating, gaslighting, and self-harm. But mostly it's a story that addresses the trauma of sexual assault.

Provocative at times, this story weaves in subtle horror in a small Florida town and the culture of silence. Sixteen-year-old Virgil is new in town. He insists he was attacked one night by a monster after partying. The descriptions are vivid throughout. Virgil not only feels the ridicule of the town's disbelief but the internal fear he might be changing into a monster.

What works is the subtle and psychological trauma Virgil goes through after the attack. He's the laughing stock of his high school. At first, I thought the 'monster' was in fact a metaphor for being assaulted and the trauma a victim feels after being abused. Virgil's anguish from no one in town, including his father and grandparents, believing him to later trying to find out what had happened to him rang true.

Suspenseful, evocative, and page-turning. I read this book in less than a day. I had to know if indeed the monster might in fact be real. Also, I wanted to know who was Virgil's real friends. The struggles Virgil goes through with the sudden move to Merritt and trying to fit into the small Southern town are very realistic. I also loved how Virgil found a home in his high school theater class.

Compelling tale of a teen coming to grips with a horrific act committed against him, while trying to navigate life in a small Southern town.
Good Points
1. Engaging
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