Welcome readers! Do you have a favourite season? This time of the year – From September to January is my absolutely favourite!! And with the spooky season just around the corner, Small Town Monsters by Diana Rodriguez Wallach makes for a perfect read!
Content Warnings: mind control and demonic possession, allusions to characters killing/ sacrificing themselves
The Conjuring meets The Vow! This terrifying paperback original tells the unputdownable story of a girl, a dark angel, and the cult hellbent on taking over her small, coastal town.
Vera Martinez wants nothing more than to escape Roaring Creek and her parents’ reputation as demonologists. Not to mention she’s the family outcast, lacking her parents’ innate abilities, and is terrified of the occult things lurking in their basement.
Maxwell Oliver is supposed to be enjoying the summer before his senior year, spending his days thinking about parties and friends. Instead he’s taking care of his little sister while his mom slowly becomes someone he doesn’t recognize. Soon he suspects that what he thought was grief over his father’s death might be something more…sinister.
When Maxwell and Vera join forces, they come face to face with deeply disturbing true stories of cults, death worship, and the very nature that drives people to evil.
Book Title: Small Town Monsters
Author: Diana Rodriguez Wallach
Publisher: Underlined Paperbacks by Penguin Random House
Release Date: 7th September, 2021
Genre: Horror | Young Adult | Paranormal Fantasy
Vera Martinez’s parents are famous demonologists who travel around the world, helping people. Due to her parents’ profession, Vera has been an outcast throughout her life and wishes to escape Roaring Creek.
Maxwell Oliver doesn’t believe in ghosts but when his mother starts acting different, he begins to question everything he has ever known. Having already lost his father in a tragic accident, he must reach out to Vera, whom he has always shunned and made fun of, in order to save his family.
But without any special powers, Vera contemplates how to help Max in the absence of her parents.
Alternating between Vera and Max’s POV, this gripping piece of work had me hooked from the very beginning. The chilling small-town setting with a demonic cult had me on edge throughout the book. With demonic possession, cursed objects, a creepy cult and a bit of romance, this book has all the ingredients for a perfect YA thriller. I loved the writing; it is detailed and almost as atmospheric as watching a horror movie.
The characters are well written. The development of friendship and romance between the MCs is gradual and doesn’t overpower the story. With a swearing priest, an adorable little sibling and an aunt who likes to stress-cooks, the side characters add depth and humor to the story. Overall, I would totally recommend this paranormal thriller to kick start the witchy season!
Inspired from The Conjuring, this contemporary tale is a fitting tribute to the original Warrens family.
I’d like to thank the Underlined Paperbacks and TBR and beyond tours for having me as a part this book tour and providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. You can check out the tour schedule here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Diana Rodriguez Wallach is a multi-published author of young adult novels. Her most recent, Small Town Monsters, is a YA Latinx horror novel that will publish in Fall 2021 through Random House’s Underlined imprint. Additionally, Diana is the author of the Anastasia Phoenix Series (Entangled Publishing), a trilogy of young adult spy thrillers. The first book in the series, Proof of Lies, has been optioned for film and was chosen as a finalist for the 2018 International Thriller Awards for Best Young Adult Novel. Additionally, Bustle listed her as one of the “Top Nine Latinx Authors to Read for Women’s History Month 2017,” and Paste named Proof of Lies one of the “Top 10 Best Young Adult Books for March 2017.” Diana is also the author of three Latina young adult novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books). Amor and Summer Secrets placed second at the 2009 International Latino Book Awards for Best Young Adult Novel. Diana also penned a YA Greek-myth inspired short-story collection entitled Mirror, Mirror (Buzz Books).
In 2011, Diana published an essay in Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperCollins), which was the only essay from the anthology selected by Scholastic to be used in its classroom materials. Diana is also featured in the anthology, Latina Authors and Their Muses (Twilight Times Books, 2015).
Diana has taught as a Creative Writing Instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth since 2015, and she has led Creative Writing Workshops in inner-city schools throughout the Philadelphia region for over ten years. She previously wrote as a blogger for Quirk Books, and she currently volunteers with the nonprofit organization Mighty Writers, which promotes writing in urban communities. Diana holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two children.
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