The last few days have been crazy busy with snow days, household chores, birthday parties, and distractions. My regular blogging schedule was majorly disruppted, but hopefully I'll be getting back to it in the next few days.
Title: The Monsters of Templeton
Author: Lauren Groff
Publisher: Voice (Hyperion) 2008
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 5/5 stars
Reading Challenges: YA; 2011: YA or YA Not; Support Your Local Library: A to Z Authors: G
"The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace, the fifty-foot corpse of a monster surfaced in Lake Glimmerglass."
So begins The Monsters of Templeton, a novel spanning two centuries: part a contemporary story of a girl's search for her father, part historical novel, and part ghost story, this spellbinding novel is at its core a tale of how one town holds the secrets of a family.
In the wake of a wildly disastrous affair with her married archaeology professor, Willie Upton arrives on the doorstep of her ancestral home in Templeton, New York, where her hippie-turned-born-again-Baptist mom, Vi, still lives. Willie expects to be able to hide in the place that has been home to her family for generations, but the monster's death changes the fabric of the quiet, picture-perfect town her ancestors founded. Even further, Willie learns that the story her mother had always told her about her father has all been a lie: he wasn't the random man from a free-love commune that Vi had led her to imagine, but someone else entirely. Someone from this very town.
As Willie puts her archaeological skills to work digging for the truth about her lineage, she discovers that the secrets of her family run deep. Through letters, editorials, and journal entries, the dead rise up to tell their sides of the story as dark mysteries come to light, past and present blur, old stories are finally put to rest, and the shocking truth about more than one monster is revealed.
I've recently started reading young adult fiction, and I must say I am surprised at the good quality. I picked this book up based off of recommendations from lost of book bloggers. The beginning of the book was a bit confusing. I really couldn't tell if I liked it or not. Thirty pages in, I really started to get into the story.
The story has everything: monsters (both supernatural and human), a paternity mystery, family relations, and historical research. The various elements wove together to form a layered story that really kept my attention. The characters (likable or not) were complex. I didn't find a single one-dimensional character in the bunch (and that's saying a lot considering there are a lot of characters).
I won't spoil the ending, but let me say it's a biggie. The ending did a nice job of wrapping up all the story lines. I especially loved the ending to the "monster's" story. This will definitely go on my favorites list for 2011.