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Review: Small Town Monsters by Diana Rodriguez Wallach (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

Title: Small Town Monsters

Author: Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Publisher: Underlined

Release Date: September 7th, 2021

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Mystery + a dash of Romance

Age Range: YA

Rating: 4/5 Stars ⭐️

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Content Warnings: mind control and demonic possession, allusions to characters killing/ sacrificing themselves

The Conjuring meets The Vow! This terrifying paperback original tells the unputdownable story of a girl, a dark angel, and the cult hellbent on taking over her small, coastal town.

Vera Martinez wants nothing more than to escape Roaring Creek and her parents’ reputation as demonologists. Not to mention she’s the family outcast, lacking her parents’ innate abilities, and is terrified of the occult things lurking in their basement.

Maxwell Oliver is supposed to be enjoying the summer before his senior year, spending his days thinking about parties and friends. Instead he’s taking care of his little sister while his mom slowly becomes someone he doesn’t recognize. Soon he suspects that what he thought was grief over his father’s death might be something more…sinister.

When Maxwell and Vera join forces, they come face to face with deeply disturbing true stories of cults, death worship, and the very nature that drives people to evil.

Underlined is a line of totally addictive romance, thriller, and horror paperback original titles coming to you fast and furious each month. Enjoy everything you want to read the way you want to read it.

The perfect YA Horror story. It’s got a little bit of everything. A mystery you’re dying to know the end of, creepy, eerie, and even has a hint of romance without making it the focus which was perfect for someone like me who can read absolutely anything as long as there’s a little bit of romance.

The story is about Vera Martinez, who’s a sort of loner/ outcast in her little town due to her parents’ demonologist occupation, and her family due to not inheriting her parents’ apparent abilities, and Max Oliver, who believes he needs their help when his mother starts acting strange.

There’s definitely something sinister about this town that is hard to miss but when Max’s mother starts ignoring everything, including her children and their family restaurant, in favor of dedicating all her time to a new group called The Sunshine Crew, he knows something is more than just…wrong. Which is he needs Vera’s help so he can convince her parents to help his mom.

However, since Vera’s parents are out of the country, it’s up to Vera to help not only Max’s mother but the other people in town as well who seem to be facing the same issue. That’s a lot easier said than done since she doesn’t have her parents’ instincts or abilities.

This was such an interesting book and although I’ve read YA horror and mystery before, I’ve never read anything quite like it. The characters were so likable in my opinion, especially considering they’re MCs in a YA book. I loved Vera and I really felt for her. Being ridiculed on all sides and feeling like the world is against you. Being judged by outsiders for having demonologist parents and also being judged by family for not having the abilities her parents have. She has no friends, small town and all, and she can’t wait to get out of town, be a doctor and help people.

When I first started the book I wanted to hate Max. I really did. But when an author gives you a tragic backstory like his while also showing us how he’s not the same from the beginning of the book, it’s impossible to hate the guy. (I’d tell you what the story is but I don’t want to spoil what reading the book is actually like)

The book was perfectly paced and I liked the author’s writing style. I’d go as far as to say that Diana was BORN to write books like this (YA Horror/Mystery/Thrillers with a dash of romance). I would definitely read more by her in the future!

Diana Rodriguez Wallach is a multi-published author of young adult novels. Her most recent, Small Town Monsters, is a YA Latinx horror novel that will publish in Fall 2021 through Random House’s Underlined imprint. Additionally, Diana is the author of the Anastasia Phoenix Series (Entangled Publishing), a trilogy of young adult spy thrillers. The first book in the series, Proof of Lies, has been optioned for film and was chosen as a finalist for the 2018 International Thriller Awards for Best Young AdultNovel. Additionally, Bustle listed her as one of the “Top Nine Latinx Authors to Read for Women’s History Month 2017,” and Paste named Proof of Lies one of the “Top 10 Best Young Adult Books for March 2017.” Diana is also the author of three Latina young adult novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books). Amor and Summer Secrets placed second at the 2009 International Latino Book Awards for Best Young Adult Novel. Diana also penned a YA Greek-myth inspired short-story collection entitled Mirror, Mirror (Buzz Books).

In 2011, Diana published an essay in Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperCollins), which was the only essay from the anthology selected by Scholastic to be used in its classroom materials. Diana is also featured in the anthology, Latina Authors and Their Muses (Twilight Times Books, 2015).

Diana has taught as a Creative Writing Instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth since 2015, and she has led Creative Writing Workshops in inner-city schools throughout the Philadelphia region for over ten years. She previously wrote as a blogger for Quirk Books, and she currently volunteers with the nonprofit organization Mighty Writers, which promotes writing in urban communities. Diana holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two children.

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*US ONLY*, sorry International friends!!

One lucky winner will get a finished copy of Small Town Monsters! Giveaway starts on September 6th and ends on September 13th.

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