First of all, look at this gorgeous cover. This is a true representation of Abel (Hero).
Saffron Kent is a new to me author, but I was pleasantly surprised with this debut author and book (at least to me). Gods & Monsters is considered an ‘unconventional’ coming of age book. It encompasses Evie and Abel as they traverse young adulthood from age 12-19 (Evie) and 14-21 (Abel). They are two people who feel an immediate connection with each other, but are unsure what these feelings mean and what to do about them. They need to battle many different issues in their tiny town of Prophetstown, Iowa to grow this childhood romance into real life romance and love.
Saffron did a phenomenal job of entwining the story of Adam and Eve as it relates to Evie, Abel and the families of their tiny town. Prophetstown is very backwards and set in their ways. Ms. Kent didn’t hold any punches when she decided to talk about some heavy topics. These include: Nature vs nurture, social stigma, the right to love, religion influence, as well as when the parent comes from an authoritarian mindset using negative reinforcements of behaviors that they don’t feel are right. Nature vs nurture is examined throughout Gods & Monsters. Is the child a product of their environment or is the environment a product of the child? Simply said, is the child formed from the environment or from the parents?
As with some cities/small towns, there are always gossips and folklore/tales that are being spread among the gossips and different generations.
“There are two things that define this town: our church, the tallest and oldest building, and the legend. The legend of David Adams and Delilah Evans.”
Evangeline Elizabeth Hart is a longtime resident. Even at the age of 12 she is a free spirit. She tries to ‘fit in’ with her surroundings, but she has always been a tad different. She loves her father with her whole heart and even though her mom is strict, she still respects her (since that is what every good little girl/boy should do). Her favorite place in the whole world is her treehouse. Her father built it and painted it for her. It’s her little sanctuary from the world when her mom is having a bad day or the busybodies of the town are gossiping and interfering in her life too much.
One day, she and her best friend, Sky, are returning from the treehouse when they notice a truck pulling up into the only other house on their road across the street. Peter Adams is the first to get out. Peter, although he is nice to Evie, he is well disliked from the community, because of his last name. Next, the passenger door opens and out steps,
“’A tall boy with loose and wrinkled clothes.’…’His hair’s all messy, touching his eyebrows. It flickers in the wind that suddenly seems to have picked up. It’s blond.’…’a dirty sort of blond.’”
Evie is called into the house by her mother as this point, but just before going inside she turns around.
“I turn back and find him standing at the same spot. He’s only an outline from here. An outline with golden hair and black t-shirt, and a backpack against the orange sky.”
Poor Abel is an orphan at age fourteen and is taken in by his Uncle Peter Adams. As mentioned earlier, the Adams name is a blemish on the pristine Prophetstown society. Imagine yourself at fourteen, going to live with a relative who really doesn’t want you, but takes you in anyway. You are in a town that despises you, because of your last name and who your parents were. The one redeeming thing is that the first thing you see is a blonde haired, blue eyed girl in a dress with dusty legs and feet, whose hair is loose and tumbling, blowing all over the place. Yep, our dear Abel was hooked. Big problem though is her mother (like the rest of the town) hate him and instruct the little girl to not talk, look or engage him in anyway. Somehow, they find each other at the treehouse and the rest is history.
Remember that legend of David and Delilah? The legend goes that David and Delilah fall in love and get pregnant. The town was going to separate both by locking them up and sending them away. They took it upon themselves to create their own future and run away together. Big deal, right? Wrong, you see Delilah was David and Peter’s first cousin. Due to all the bias’s and stigma’s in the town, this was considered immoral and sick.
“And that baby? People called it an abomination. The devil’s spawn. They said only monsters could be created from a love like David and Delilah’s.”
Fast forward fifteen years…that baby has returned home. You need to read this book to see if history repeats itself? Does Evie and Abel become those scorned from society or do they change society?
Overall, this was a FANTASTIC book. The middle section took me on a journey that I didn’t see coming. Let’s just say that it took their relationship on a completely different trajectory that I was expecting. Despite this, I still loved her writing style, character interaction’s and depth of the characters. Gods and Monsters is a little on the long side, but pacing and storyline were well executed. Saffron Kent has earned a continued reader in me and I can’t wait to read about Sky (possibly).
“Our kind of love. A love that is the stuff of legend. A love that people will write stories about years after we’re gone.”
“Abel Adams is not a god. He’s not a monster, either. He’s human. He is what others made him.”
“He was a boy who loved, with everything that he was.”
“The minute you turn eighteen, I’m picking you up, throwing you over my shoulder and driving you down to the nearest courthouse so you can say I do.”
“’One day I’m gonna kiss you in front of the whole world and if they don’t like it then f@ck them.’ I read the frustration in his tone, the suppressed anger, and it hurts my heart. No none should be made to hide their love. No one. It’s too pure, too beautiful to ever keep hidden. I caress his pulsing jaw. ‘Okay. Kiss me at our wedding, then. In front of the whole world,’”
5 “Treehouse Fun” stars