My Review of Diana Rodriguez Wallach’s New YA Horror, Small Town Monsters

A few months ago, I released a photo of a pair of Chuck Taylors one of my students had personalized for me with hand-painted graphics of my young adult book cover images on the side panels. They were roundly applauded, and I even got a few messages from fellow young adult authors interested in obtaining a pair of their own, complete with images of their book covers on the sides.

One of those authors was the talented Diana Rodriguez Wallach who, in addition to being a creative writing professor and a busy mom of two lovely children, is also the author of seven young adult novels. Her latest treat is loaded with a healthy dose of delicious YA horror. That’s why I want to wish a happy book birthday to Diana today!

That’s right, SMALL TOWN MONSTERS (Underlined) just released today and I can promise you’ll want to head down to your local, independent bookstore to pick up a copy as soon as possible.

From the Back Cover:

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.

I was fortunate enough to receive an early look at this novel, and I couldn’t put it down if my life depended on it. From the opening page, the tragic lore that haunts the streets of Roaring Creek, Connecticut begins to slowly seep into the story and, with it, comes that building sense of dread and cautious anticipation that is the hallmark of all great horror stories. Throughout the novel, Diana Rodriguez Wallach displays a masterful grip on her third person narrator, adeptly bouncing back and forth between the lives of her two main characters, Vera and Max, while slowly and deliciously revealing both their troubled pasts and their growing obsession with each other. The closer they get to each other, the farther they find themselves thrust into a world from which they don’t belong, a world that is hopelessly marred by death, darkness, and the merciless clutches of evil. Small Town Monsters is a headlong dive into the world of the occult armed with more terrifying twists and turns than a roller coaster ride through the actual Pet Sematary. If you’re a fan of YA horror, you will definitely love Diana Rodriguez Wallach’s latest novel for teens. *****


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