ONE DESERT TOWN.
For fans of Veronica Mars and Stranger Things comes an all-new YA mystery about a girl whose desperate search for her missing friend unearths dark secrets, preternatural threats, and a truth that could ultimately tear her family, friends, and town apart.
Welcome to Twentynine Palms, where nothing is what it seems.
Rylie hasn’t been back to Twentynine Palms since her dad died. She left a lot of memories out there, buried in the sand of the Mojave Desert. Memories about her dad, her old friends Nathan and Lily, and most of all, her enigmatic grandfather, a man who cut ties with Rylie’s family before he passed away. But her mom’s new work assignment means their family has to move, and now Rylie’s in the one place she never wanted to return to, living in the house of a grandfather she barely knew.
At least her old friends are happy to welcome her home. Well, some of them, anyway. Lily is gone, vanished into the desert. And Twentynine Palms is so much stranger than Rylie remembers. There are whispers around town of a mysterious killer on the loose, but it isn’t just Twentynine Palms that feels off—there’s something wrong with Rylie, too. She’s seeing things she can’t explain. Visions of monstrous creatures that stalk the night.
Somehow, it all seems to be tied to her grandfather and the family cabin he left behind. Rylie wants the truth, but she doesn’t know if she can trust herself. Are the monsters in her head really out there? Or could it be that the deadliest thing in the desert . . . is Rylie herself?
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INTL Tour-wide Giveaway! – 1 winner will receive a signed copy of NO BEAUTIES OR MONSTERS (open US)
– 1 winner will receive a $10 gift card to Book Depository (open internationally)
This ends on November 5th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST.
Tara Goedjen adores anything mysterious. She is the author of THE BREATHLESS (Delacorte Press, Random House Children’s Books) and NO BEAUTIES OR MONSTERS, forthcoming Fall 2021.
Tara wrote her first story at age ten about children who disappeared at midnight, and she’s been writing fiction ever since. Mostly raised in Alabama, she played college tennis in Iowa and then moved to Alaska and Australia before heading back to the continental US.
While completing grad school, Tara worked as a tennis coach, a yoga instructor, a university writing teacher, and as an editor for a publishing house. These days, when she’s not making up stories, she’s probably chasing after two small monsters or hiking through an enchanted wood while dreaming up her next book. Website | Instagram | Twitter
My thoughts: deserts are weird places, liminal places where things can change suddenly. I drove through the desert from California to Nevada once, my aunt was driving and it was strange. I slept most of the way in the van. Couldn’t touch the windows as the glass gets too hot.
I understood Rylie so much in this book, how weird this huge dry place can be. How it can change so quickly, it’s cold at night as the sand and rocks don’t retain heat. But there’s something even stranger at twentyninepalms, a crossing over place, a world similar to ours but also very different. Rylie’s grandfather knew about it and tried to help those who crossed the line. Now it’s her turn to try to solve the disappearances of so many people once and for all. Luckily she has friends to help her, she’s not alone like her grandpa was.
The writing gives you the same sense of woozy dislocation that Rylie feels, you’re there with her in the desert fog and the odd out of place sense her memory loss creates. It’s cleverly done and keeps you guessing at what’s happening and what role different characters play in it. I really liked Owen too, Rylie’s brother and her anchor, he’s very smart and his constant desire to be with her helps keep her sane.
This was a clever, compelling and occasionally confusing (as it needed to be on the way to some answers) book.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.