No Beauties or Monsters

Delacorte. Dec. 2021. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781524714802.
Gr 9 Up–Seventeen-year-old Rylie is reluctant to move back to the military base in Twentynine Palms with her mother, brother, and stepfamily. Especially since the last time she left, after the accident that killed her father, her grandpa cut all ties with her and her family. Things steadily worsen upon her arrival, as Rylie learns one of her old friends has vanished into the Mojave Desert, and the disappearance may be tied to her grandfather And something may be wrong with Rylie herself: she begins to lose large chunks of time and is being followed by coyotes. Could these incidents be connected? Rylie is determined to find the truth, no matter the cost. With the novel’s focus on plot rather than character development, Rylie, an unreliable narrator, struggles to disentangle the layers of mystery around her, one thread after another. The beautiful and deadly desert setting provides an eerie backdrop to Rylie’s struggle, while rock climbing and bouldering metaphors are scattered throughout to underscore the main theme of fighting through despair and failure. The mixture of genres—realistic fiction and mystery, with elements of sci-fi—slowly merge together to create a shocking but still believable ending. Although race isn’t mentioned, the wide cast of characters includes a range of people of various diversity and ability: vision disability; Jewish, Latinx, and Mi’kmaq heritage; and an LGBTQIA+ relationship.
VERDICT This genre-bending work will appeal to longtime lovers of mystery as well as those new to the genre.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing