Buddy Review | Only a Monster – Vanessa Len

If you’ve been on any social media that has to do with books there’s a big chance you’ve heard about Only a Monster. This book releases on February 22nd, but we want to talk about this book today, because we were lucky and had the chance to read an e-arc! So keep on reading to find out more about this book and what we thought!

Buddy Review | Only a Monster – Vanessa Len

With the sweeping romance of Passenger and the dark fantasy edge of This Savage Song, this standout YA contemporary fantasy debut from Vanessa Len, is the first in a planned trilogy.
It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place.
But she soon learns the truth. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down.
As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story . . .
. . . she is not the hero.

Only a Monster by Vanessa Len
Published by HarperTeen on 22/02/2022
Pages: 416


Candyce Only a Monster has two different covers and I have to say the UK cover catches my attention just a little more. I’ve seen what the hardcover looks like and I really think I need this one on my shelf. That being said the US cover has elements I like and really think fit the story as well.

Isabelle There are two different covers out there, a USA one and a UK one. I’m not sure which one I like more to be honest! And it might be because I don’t exactly love either of them haha. They’re not bad covers, they both have a couple elements I like, but overall just not favorites. I do like the details on both, and the taglines are great. The cover might not make me pick up the book right away but the title would catch my eye for sure!

“Olivers see. Hunts hide. Nowaks live. Patels bind. Portellis open. Hathaways leash. Nightingales Take. Mtawalis keep. Argents sway. Alis seal. Griffiths reveal. But only the Lius remember.”


Candyce Only a Monster caught my attention, because the main character finds out her family are monsters including her! That’s definitely a different take than the main character being the hero of the story. Add time travel to the story and this book definitely had my attention.

As I was reading I definitely had certain theories and expectations. What I really loved is that I wasn’t right at all. That made Only a Monster such a pleasant surprise. I feel for this reason that I really can’t discuss much of the plot. If you know a lot going in I think it will make the story a lot less exciting and it won’t jump out at you as much. Only a Monster is definitely one that will most likely end up on my favorites of 2022 list!

The world in this book is really interesting. It takes day in the modern world, but with a bit of a twist. There’s magic and families that have different “powers”and I loved learning about this. There were rules and politics and I was just so intrigued. I also loved that the time travel aspect of this book had rules and it wasn’t really random. I felt that it made this story even more exciting and unpredictable. I’m really curious to see how the choices of our main character at the end of this story influence what will happen in the next book.

This book also has an amazing cast of characters. I do feel like our main character Joan was kept in the dark a bit too much when it came to family. This definitely made her question herself quite often and to want to prove something. Joan started off really naive, but I loved how she got stronger and wiser throughout this story. Of course, she’s still naive in some ways, but I have a feeling her character is going to be an interesting one to follow. There is also a little romance in this book, but I loved that it didn’t take over the whole plot of the book even if there is a little love triangle. I have a preference in the end, but we’ll just have to wait in see.

All in all, Only a Monster was an amazing start to a new series and I can’t wait to see how it continues.

“I mean it,” she said. “You’re dead.”
He gave her his familiar solemn smile, the one that he’d given her all the time at the house. “Aren’t we all,” he said. “Somewhere on the timeline.”

Isabelle This book really took me by surprise! I requested it on Netgalley because I liked the title and the tag line. And after seeing it had something to do with time travel I knew it might be something I’d enjoy. But I have to admit, I figured it would just be a me-book but it probably wouldn’t blow up. After reading it though… This better be the next big thing because it’s amazing and I need everyone to read it!

I don’t want to say too much about the storyline as I think it’s best to experience it for yourself. There were some great twists I didn’t see coming and I appreciate that so much. During our buddyread we texted each other multiple times about the direction the book was going in and that we just weren’t expecting it at all. I really liked were to story took us and I was yelling out loud when I read the ending! And I was immediately reminded about the downside of reading eARC’s haha, now I have to wait so long for the sequel.

We get a really exciting magic system in this book. I loved that there were clear rules and those rules made it harder for the characters to do what they needed to do. The system also raises some moral questions which made the book darker and just exactly what I was hoping for with a title like this. We read about ‘monsters’ and our main character is questioning whether she is one all throughout the story.

That brings us to the characters. I loved reading about Joan. She was a bit naive at first but I loved her development. As I said, she questioned her morality all throughout the story and I really liked that journey for her. She kept insisting she wasn’t a monster but at the same time wondering if her decisions proved otherwise. The side characters were great too, I still don’t really know who to trust haha. I have a suspicion we can’t trust someone and I can’t wait to see if I’m right in the sequel. Hopefully Joan ends up with my favorite romantically speaking but I’m afraid the author is going to go a different route.

All in all I really liked this book if you couldn’t tell already. It’s definitely a book I would love to have on my shelves and I’m already looking forward to the sequel. I have high hopes for it!

Only a Monster is definitely a book we both won’t be forgetting at all. The only downside of reading an e-arc is that you have to wait longer to get the next book, haha. Is Only a Monster on your TBR? Will you be picking this one up? Let us know in the comments!

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