monstersMonsters:  A Love Story by Liz Kay

Publisher:  G.P. Putman’s Sons

Format:  Audiobook | Narrator:  Allyson Ryan

Genre:  fiction, romance  

Order link: Amazon | Penguin

Reviewed by:  Alisa

What to expect:  A funny and poignant debut novel about the ways we love, even when we’re not at our best.

Plot: Stacey Lane feels like a monster. Tommy DeMarco might be one.

Since her husband died eight months ago, Stacey’s been a certified mess—a poet who can’t write anymore, a good mother who feels like she’s failing her kids. She’s been trying to redefine herself, to find new boundaries.

Tommy has no respect for boundaries. A surprisingly well-read A-list Hollywood star, Tommy’s fallen in love with Stacey’s novel-in-verse, a feminist reimagining of Frankenstein, no less. His passion for the book, and eventually its author, will set their lives on a collision course. They’ll make a movie, make each other crazy, and make love—but only in secret. 

As Stacey travels between her humdrum life in the suburbs of Omaha and the glamorous but fleeting escape Tommy offers, what begins as a distracting affair starts to pick up weight. It’s a weight that unbalances Stacey’s already unsteady life, but offers new depth to Tommy’s. About desire, love, grief, parenthood, sexual politics, and gender, Monsters: A Love Story is a witty portrait of a relationship gone off the rails, and two people who are made for each other—even if they’re not so sure they see it that way.

Review: You have to suspend a bit of reality for the set up of this book.  Once you set that aside, you have a unique, character driven story. Tommy is a self absorbed playboy but he’s oddly charming. Stacey gets caught up in this charm and starts sleeping with him. The story goes back and forth between her trips to LA which include a lot of drinking and wild times with Tommy and then back home to the routine of a single mom. Stacey’s a mess and she knows that. Getting involved with Tommy is a bad idea and she knows that too but she can’t seem to stop herself. 

I wasn’t sure for the first half of the book if I was reading a love story or the story of how a woman lets a man completely screw her life up. As the story goes on though, you realize Tommy’s actually the less messed up of the two. I really liked him despite his flaws. I could

totally see how Stacey ended up falling for him and he made me laugh out loud more than once. Stacey I wanted to shake a few times.  She was really clueless and selfish on more than one occasion.  At the same time there were many moments I could identify with her.  I understood her insecurities in relation to Tommy and I especially understood her in those moments where she questioned her own role as a mother.   I think though, the fact that the characters were so flawed, is what stood out to me.  It was a nice change to see characters that had problems just like most of us do.  Love often isn’t easy.  Parenting is hard.  And coming to grips with one’s own fears can be a painful journey.

I thought that the narrator was pretty good. I didn’t like how she did two of the side characters (Daniel and Sara) but the main two characters and all the other sides were good.  There were a lot of voices for this story and I think that overall it was done really well.

This was really different and I like that in a book. The story drew me in pretty quickly and by the last 20% or so I couldn’t put it down.  This is a debut by this author and I will definitely look for more stories by her in the future.

What you might not like:  This is more love story than romance novel and both MC’s have some flaws.  

What I loved:  The witty and humorous way the story is told.  

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