What they say:At sixteen Nash thought that the fight to become Head Girl of prestigious boarding school Bathory would be the biggest battle she’d face. Until her brother’s disappearance leads to Nash being trapped at the school over Christmas with Bathory’s assorted misfits. As a blizzard rages outside, strange things are afoot in the school’s hallways, and legends of the mysterious Beast of Bathory – a big cat rumoured to room the moors outside the school – run wild. Yet when the girls’ Matron goes missing it’s clear that something altogether darker is to blame – and that they’ll have to stick together if they hope to survive.
‘It’s so good, I’d recommend it to people I don’t like’ – Kevin Brooks on Pretty Bad Things
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review!
What I say: Beyond the usual boarding school stories (which I love btw) I had very few expectations of what was going to happen in Monster. BUT I honestly wouldn't have predicted the many twists and turns CJ Skuse incorporates into this clever YA story.
I liked the mixture of mystery thriller combined with teenage school banter. Nash's witty sarcasm made me smile and I appreciated the nod to school houses, prefects, head girl wars and school politics. I really liked Maggie the queen of one-liners.
The setting was a little confusing at times because the boarding school set up meant that it could have been set many years ago (if smart phones were around of course) or today. Having been to a school with the old-fashioned house system, uniforms and prefects, this actually seemed pretty normal to me. We even had rumours of our own monster (ours was a ghost).
The mystery element took several unexpected turns - There were several times where the events were so unexpectedly bonkers I couldn't believe this was actually happening - so obviously I really enjoyed it! The pacing is quick and it covers many topics ranging from first crushes, urban legends, loss, survival, friendship and murder - I kept thinking of Ralph, Piggy and Lord of the Flies combined with Enid Blyton stories...