Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Creatures” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.60  ·  Rating details ·  2,099 ratings  ·  435 reviews
On the eve of Evangeline’s wedding, a dead whale is trapped in the harbor of Winter Island, the groom may be lost at sea, and Evie’s mostly absent mother has shown up out of the blue. From there, in this mesmerizing, provocative debut, Evie remembers and reckons with her complicated upbringing in this lush, wild land off the coast of Southern California. 

Evie grew up with
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Algonquin Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Creatures, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Jodi Yes, I noticed that too as I own both books. Very odd, but perhaps both bought the rights to use it. It IS a lovely cover!

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,099 ratings  ·  435 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Creatures
Julie Ehlers
Jan 11, 2020 marked it as tossed-aside
Shelves: galleys
You know what, I'm bailing on this one. Creatures is like a mash-up of Mostly Dead Things and Costalegre, neither of which I was a particular fan of. Of course, all three of these novels came out recently, so any similarities among them are no one's fault. But what is this book's fault (or its author's, editor's, publisher's) is that Creatures is dull and dreary, pivoting quickly from its interesting premise into seemingly endless, tedious backstory. Even the author blurbs on the cover can't see ...more
Diane S ☔
Jun 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Beautiful setting, gorgeous prose but a challenging format. Winter Island is where Evie's mother left her and her father. Evie had some security but often her father moved them from place to place on the island. She basically raised herself, often taking care of her father, the man who was supposed to be taking care of her. She manages the best she can, but relationships are difficult.

This story skips around and it is hard to follow at times. It does do a good job showing how the abandonment of
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways, novels
My guess is this will either really resonate with people...or really not. (And if it doesn't resonate, you're lucky. I'm the child of two narcissists--my mother and the narrator's mother could be sisters--I know very, very well what it's like to have desperately needy parents and what it's like to choke down a scream because it's amazingly hard to be the mature one at, say, 10.)

Usually novels that deal with relationships like this leave me ugly crying or unable to finish; a childhood like the o
Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
Evie is worried about her fiance who is late returning from his trip at sea. Liam is employed as a fisherman and spends weeks at a time outside of port. While Evie waits for her upcoming wedding day she reflects back on her dysfunctional childhood and her trust issues with long term relationships. Her parents were both negligent and Evie was forced to raise herself while building an emotional wall to keep out the pain.

Evie’s mother left her family while she was a young child. Her visits were in
The Artisan Geek
Jan 15, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish

Welp. I tried to read this one for a couple of month, but unfortunately it did not grab my attention long enough to make it through.

Reading this for the Belletrist book club - excited!

You can find me on
Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website
If you are not a fan of literary fiction then I would steer clear of this one. This was a very literary read, where (in my opinion), absolutely everything was planned out before hand, even down to how the table of contents were structured on the page. If I had read this in e-galley form, I'm sure some of that formatting would have been lost and thus the peek into how Ms. Van Meter saw the the pieces of this book come together.

There was so much creativity and thought put into the story of Evie, w
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

I'm sorry to give this book such a low rating, but Crissy Van Meter's Creatures just didn't hold me. While I wanted to find literary merit in the way the story was told, I had a difficult time justifying some of the authorial and editorial decisions that were made undoubtedly to push this work more towards the abstract. To me, this story doesn't need to be abstract in order to be "literary." The artfully crafted prose, married with the way the te
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Van Meter's debut novel, which an afterward makes clear is largely autobiographical, is one I initially was resistant to, since I tend to prefer straight-forward, plot heavy novels with clear, chronological time lines - and this was the exact opposite. But dang if it didn't eventually win me over, and I appreciated the craft that went into the gorgeous, shimmering, evocative prose, and the lyrical, dream-like quality of the writing. It also tackles some fairly heavy themes: addiction, abandonmen ...more
Janelle Janson
Thank you so much Algonquin for my free copy.

Crissy Van Meter’s CREATURES is the Belletrist selection for January and I could not be more excited. When I saw the cover I was mesmerized and when I started reading I was captivated. And when I saw that Melissa Broder and Leni Zumas put their stamp of approval on this ravishing debut, I had no doubt I would love it.

Evangeline or “Evie” grew up on an island off the coast of Southern California. Her mom left her early on and seldom returned so her fat
The Nerd Daily
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Seven Jane

Dream-like and lyrical, Creatures by debut author Crissy Van Meter is a story that ebbs and flows like the tide—delicate, inevitable, and mesmerising.

On the eve of Evie’s wedding, a storm has washed a dead whale into the harbour of Winter Island, a fictional and feral island off the Southern Californian coast. While her fiancé may be lost at sea, the storm has brought home Evie’s long-wandering mother. This pivotal moment serves as the
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So pretty, evocative, alive. Just the sort of book I love and want to read/reread. Beauty on a sentence level, raw emotion and clicked-on senses, immersive. This book feels like being afloat and letting the ocean take you (and take you) while telling you its story in storms and sun. I loved and loved it. A lot.
Dec 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you to Thomas Allen & Sons for the review copy!

I think literary fiction is either a hit or miss for many people, and for me, this was kind of a miss. I wasn't exactly enchanted by the story, or its characters, which is too bad because I really wanted to like this!
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: belletrist-books
The writing was so captivating!

The story itself was a little bit confusing but overall I loved the flowery prose and fell in love with the characters too. They all had such difficult lives but the story was told so well.
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Algonquin Books for having me in this book tour for Creatures by Crissy Van Meter.

Set in a beautiful island off the coast of Southern California in a lush wild lands of Winter Island is the heart breaking story of Evie. In a series of unfortunate events occur in the eve of Evie's wedding with a dead whale trapped in the harbor, her fiancee late from returning from his trip out at sea, and her estranged mother shows up to complicate matters.

As all these issues are crashing down at
Jul 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Got an advanced readers copy of this book at a library conference. It’s beautifully written style-wise but leaves a lot to be desired in terms of character development. It’s not really a plot-driven novel, so without the strong character work, it just kind of lags. The lyricism is beautiful, though, and the way the author ties in the whales and the weather. And the cover is absolutely gorgeous. But just an okay book overall.
Renee Godding
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
Review to come.
Karen M
Sep 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, first-reads, own
The descriptions in this book are lovely but that’s the descriptions of the surroundings. There was no in depth character descriptions that I could wrap my mind around.

Other than the main character having had long dark hair the only other thing I knew about her was an overwhelming sense of inadequacy. She wasn’t as beautiful as her Mother or as adventurous as her best friend. She definitely wasn’t as crazy as her Father. I do know she loved and was betrayed by them all and this book is filled no
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Thanks to Algonquin and Netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed the story at first and found the writing to be beautiful. The cover is stunning. The story follows a young woman, Evangeline, who grew upon an island not far from Los Angeles. Her mother left her and her father when she was a kid and she was raised by an alcoholic dad. She does research on the sea and the creatures in it which is infused in the story. She is about to get married. That is about the gi
Matthew Noe
Sep 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
I just wanted it to end. So I ended it by refusing to finish it.

(Advanced copy picked up at ALA 19)
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Despite the sometimes crude and messy writing I found this book to be very unique, moving, and so beautiful at times! Very lyrical with some wonderful poetic sentences. I love how the author focused so much on nature, weather and sea creatures to tell a very human story.
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
beautiful, lyrical, haunting, and bittersweet.
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
I’m giving one of January 2020’s buzziest books only 3 stars because even at only 240 pages, it was too long. Oh the sadness. Oh the longing. Oh the abandonment issues and the alcoholism and its attendant dysfunction. I get it. The prose is fine. She can write. I enjoyed some of the ocean stuff. And the metaphors. Yes, I get it. Please stop beating me over the head with it now. I was ready for this book to be over around page 180. But I powered through to the end and you know what? I found out t ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. It’s a very interesting... kinda weird book!
Jessica McCann
Mar 25, 2020 added it
Recommends it for: literary and experimental fiction fans
This slim novel has some of the best sensory description I’ve read. The author engages all five senses of the reader throughout the story, creating a powerful sense of place. I could feel the sea-salt on my skin, taste the vodka on my tongue, smell the marijuana in the air. For that, I would assign 5 stars.

Readers are taken deep inside the mind of the main character and narrator, Evangeline, with an engaging stream-of-consciousness writing style that starts off strong. Unfortunately, for me, the
Angela (Scentofapage)
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
I will admit that this was a total cover pick for me. I requested an early copy of this book since I thought that the cover looked fun and probably had a good under the sea adventure in it. Boy, was I wrong.

This story is set on Winter Island and follows the main character Evie who grows up with an alcoholic/drug addicted father. Evie's mother takes off when she is just a small child and frequently pops in and out of Evie's life over the years. The story follows Evie from a young child in to adu
Mai Nguyễn
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps because I am living in Jakarta, a city filled with traffic and skyscrapers, I treasure the beautiful nature painted by the lyrical writing of Crissy Van Meter in CREATURES. I could taste the sea in the air surrounding me and smell the sea from each page of this book.

Crissy Van Meter's prose is vivid and powerful, and while reading her novel, I saw myself in the life of Evie, in her complex relationship with her parents and in her struggle to overcome the pain of her past so that she can
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Favorite book of 2020 so far. Beautifully written. Overflowing with sadness, forgiveness and hope.
Nicole   yaaas or nahs books
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
{ @algonquinbooks #partner }⁣⁣
Creatures by @crissyvanmeter is unlike any book I have read before. The writing is raw and in your face. Nothing is sugar coated or sweetened to soften the blow. At 256 pages, it’s a quick read that packs a big punch. It’s weird though. Like really weird, but in a good thought provoking way. ⁣⁣
Evie spends her life waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is a story of her heart-wrenching life growing up with an alcoholic, drug addicted father and a mother who ab
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of thoes books that you embrace after finishing it, so beautiful and heartbreaking.

It's the eve of her wedding, Evangeline's groom may be lost at sea, her mostly absent mother shows up out of nowhere and a dead whale is trapped on the harbour. Welcome to Winter Island! A somewhat mystical place where Evie has spent most of her life. In Creatures we float back to parts of her childhood getting a picture of what her youth was like, her unconventional, addict father being her primary c
Aimee Dars
Thanks so much to Algonquin Books for inviting me to participate in the 𝘊𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦𝘴 by Crissy Van Meter book tour. The paperback edition of this stunning book was just released last month.

As Evangeline enters the final weekend before her Winter Island wedding, she faces more than the typical anxieties associated with a new bride. Liam, her fiancé, a fisherman, doesn’t return when expected, and she fears he might be lost at see. The decaying corpse of a whale has gotten trapped in the island’s bay,
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Northwest Akron B...: September: Creatures, by Crissy Van Meter 3 4 Sep 15, 2020 10:48AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Wham! George & Me
  • Say Say Say
  • A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers, #2)
  • We Wish You Luck
  • The Reckless Oath We Made
  • A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns
  • Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times
  • Unfamiliar Fishes
  • Gravity Is the Thing
  • The Wives
  • Toil & Trouble
  • The Last Light Breaking: Living Among Alaska's Inupiat
  • Very Nice
  • Winter Tales (The Original Sinners, #8.7)
  • 君に届け 30 (Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, #30)
  • The Gone Dead
  • Sins of the Fathers (J.P. Beaumont #24)
  • Olive, Again
See similar books…
Crissy Van Meter is a writer based in Los Angeles.

She teaches creative writing at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. She is the founder of the literary project Five Quarterly, and the managing editor for Nouvella Books. She serves on the board of directors for the literary non-profit Novelly.

Her debut novel Creatures is out now from Algonquin Books.

Articles featuring this book

Every new year ushers in a brand-new class of debut authors to discover. And the beginning of 2020 has plenty of fresh new voices to add to...
106 likes · 44 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“The things that broke us:
The harshness of the earth, and love.”
“I can't remember if I told him I loved him, too, but our lives crashed together, and even when he was gone, I could feel him deep inside my bones.” 1 likes
More quotes…