Hidden Monster by Amanda Strong
Series: Monsters Among Us #1
Published by Clean Teen Publishing
Published on: November 4, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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For seventeen-year-old Samantha Campbell, running back woods trails usually means freedom from her less-than-perfect life. That is, until the day a morning run turns into a living nightmare. When Samantha wakes up to find herself bound to a dirty, pinstriped mattress, she realizes she’s anything but free. With a masked abductor repeatedly injecting her arm with an unknown substance while holding her captive, Samantha tries in vain to find out what he wants, but he refuses to speak. Until the day he breaks his silence and his twisted words are worse than what she’d imagined. He promises her one day she will fall in love with him but the best part will be that she won't know who he is... until it's too late.
Finding herself freed from captivity, with her captor still at large, Samantha is on guard against everything and everyone around her. Unfortunately, walling up her heart proves difficult when eighteen-year-old Blake Knightley moves in next door. When Samantha starts experiencing strange changes within her, she realizes her captor may have left her more damaged than she originally thought. Now she must turn to Blake for help in order to unearth the truth behind the monster who started this all... or risk experiencing worse things than just falling in love.
Once in awhile I pick a books based on it’s cover, as long as it’s a genre I read. This cover did it for me and didn’t sit in my tbr pile for long. This book is true YA and some of it is a bit hard to take, and a bit almost silly at times. However, having said that, I ended up really liking most of the book and found it to be pretty unusual for the YA genre.
Within the first couple of pages, the heroine, seventeen year old Samantha, is abducted, injected with some sort of substance, and held for weeks in a cabin. She does escape, but is forever changed due to her ordeal. She’s not only been changed mentally due to being held, but soon manifests physical changes. Changes that she can not control, and ones that she must hide from everyone. She meets her new neighbor, Blake, and is smitten. He definitely wants her and not her beautiful sisters, but due to her best friend wanting him, she backs off from him. Her ex-boyfriend wants her back and the rest of her high school just thinks she’s weird after her ordeal. It’s definitely not a love triangle though.
Samantha was braver than I ever would be. Faced with having to attend a Halloween dance with wings of her own(yes, I said wings), instead of staying home, she goes as a fairy. And I should say here that she is in fact, not a fairy. Since the blurb doesn’t tell what she has morphed into, I am not telling-spoilers and all that. Samantha’s other best friend is Mack and he is pretty much in the book as much as Blake. He’s a nice guy, but even he has his own secrets. Blake has even bigger secrets than all of them. And it’s not long before Samantha notices that Blake, while new to town, seems to have a connection to Mack. Kory is introduced as a fellow teenager that moved away years ago to get leukemia treatments, but now is back and cured.
This book is very readable, the writing was good, and I enjoyed most of the characters and Samantha’s new powers. I did think that what she shifts into was unique-even if pretty unbelievable. There’s a back story that takes it to the science fiction realm, so that was unique as well. You really have to suspend any sort of reality here and just let the story involve you-if you think too much you may not enjoy this as much as I did, by not letting any of my HUH? thoughts bog me down while reading. As far as the mystery of who abducted her-I was pretty sure I knew who it was early on, and I was right. That didn’t take anything away from the story as I still didn’t know the why’s to anything. I didn’t enjoy one aspect of the story at all, and that comes towards the end of the book. I thought it was a bit contrived and used to explain things that really needed a better explanation. That was my biggest HUH?? moment.
This is a series and the second one is already available. Sooner or later, I know I will be reading that one as well. That’s because although being unbelievable at times, it still held my attention and I needed to know what was happening. Good characters and it being so unique also helped! Recommended to young adult readers.