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Creatures

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  197 ratings  ·  98 reviews
On the eve of Evangeline’s wedding, a dead whale is trapped in theharbor of Winter Island, the groom may be lost at sea, and Evie’smostly 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 SouthernCalifornia.

Evie grew up with her
...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Algonquin Books
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  • Creatures by Crissy Van Meter
    Creatures
    by
    Release date: Jan 07, 2020
    “Wiry, rhythmic, and wrenchingly beautiful, CREATURES plumbs the sea-struck heart of a family fractured by longing and grief.” —Leni Zumas, ...more

    Format: Print book

    Giveaway ends in: a

    Availability: 10 copies available, 2040 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Jan 15 - Jan 31, 2020

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 3.80  · 
    Rating details
     ·  197 ratings  ·  98 reviews


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    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 ...more
    Shelley
    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, well, 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
    ...more
    Maddison
    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
    ...more
    Janelle | She Reads with Cats
    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
    ...more
    Maria Zuppardi
    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!
    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
    ...more
    Jillian
    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
    ...more
    April
    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.
    Jackie
    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!
    Karen M
    Sep 22, 2019 rated it liked it
    Shelves: fiction, own, first-reads
    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
    ...more
    Nicole Aquilina
    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 abandons
    ...more
    Angela
    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
    ...more
    Seven Jane
    Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Dream-like and lyrical, Creatures by debut author Crissy Van Meter is a story that ebbs and flows like the tide—delicate, inevitable, and mesmerizing.

    On the eve of Evie’s wedding, a storm has washed a dead whale into the harbor 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 starting point for a story that weaves through past, present,
    ...more
    Beverly
    Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it
    thoughts coming shortly
    Amy
    Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    This book proves to me that I don’t have to be drawn to any of the characters to love a piece of work. The writing is so raw and just so....human. I wish I would have highlighted the sentences that struck me. Will definitely be rereading at some point.
    Leesa
    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.
    Amy (TheSouthernGirlReads)
    This book is not a good fit for me at this time...I am putting it down.

    Lots of family drama...but I'm not sure I want a lot of family drama right now. Parents not acting like parents. Children forced to act like parents....eeeep. No, just no.

    Mom_Loves_Reading
    Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
    A very interesting and intriguing book! Learned some things along the way, too!
    Vicki Parsons
    Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
    A beautiful and sort of brutal little book. The author plays with form just enough to keep it interesting, but not enough to disturb the narrative flow or the impact of her lovely writing. The story explores family dynamics, love, longing, friendship, betrayal and forgiveness, in a non-sentimental, but still really moving manner. The ties between human nature and the natural world are explored in interesting and thoughtful ways.

    I picked up this ARC because of the astonishingly lovely cover, but
    ...more
    Beth
    Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
    Torn between 1 and 2 stars but going with two. I won't say I didn't like it at all but book had no discernable structure in spite of having a chapter listing. Heroine's father was alive, dead then alive again. Getting married, married, getting ready to be married again. Yes, our heroine had absent and neglectful parents. Boohoo. That was the recurring theme. Beautiful cover which hooked me to read but contents did not deliver to the beauty of the cover.
    Maggie Rotter
    Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Creatures by Crissy Van Meter arrrives at a hopeful place after a complicated, emotionally wrenching journey. Each character is well drawn and flawed - some much more than others. Interactions cover several time periods and add layers of understanding right up to the end.
    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)
    Carolyn
    Nov 08, 2019 rated it liked it
    There are some beautiful passages in Creatures, but the way the book is written was more irritating than interesting. The author jumps around in time, in a kind of stream of consciousness jumble of memories and emotions. Not just chapter by chapter but constantly, every paragraph, throughout the whole book. There seemed to be a real time story at the beginning, Evangeline is trying to get ready for her wedding, annoyed by her mother showing up unannounced and distracted that her fiance is out at ...more
    Christopher Berry
    Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
    This is a first time outing for author Crissy Van Meter. It tells the story of Evangeline, a girl who is about to get married to Liam, a sea shore man, who is lost at sea. The story jumps back and forth from her days as a child with a mother who disappears from her life, and a drug and alcohol dependent father.

    Evangeline has to grow up fast, in a world surrounded by the ills of her father’s addiction. Sales of weed (the ever coveted Winter Wonderland), running around with a friend, Rook, who’s
    ...more
    Crystal Zavala
    Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: publisher
    Evangeline "Evie" grew up on Winter Island off the coast of Los Angeles. When she was young, her mother left because she didn't enjoy the island life or being in any type of relationship. Her mom would suddenly show up to visit with no warning and then leave just as quickly. Evie's father raised her, but barely. Her Dad couldn't keep a steady job, drank heavily, grew and sold marijuana, used cocaine, and many times they were homeless. Creatures focuses on Evie's dysfunctional parents and how she ...more
    Lacey Garcia (cozybooknook)
    Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Thank you @algonquinbooks and @crissyvanmeter for gifting me a copy of this book. The book is out 1/7.

    Creatures is about Evie’s rough upbringing. It starts out a few days before her wedding day. It’s all told from Evie’s viewpoint and has a moving timeline. It looks back into her past and jumps ahead to her future. The story here is how she survived her childhood and how it has affected her as an adult.

    Evie grew up with her father on an island not far from the California coast. He never had a
    ...more
    Kim Bakos
    Aug 14, 2019 rated it liked it
    Shelves: giveaways
    Through most of the story, I couldn't wait for it to end, just reading it because I won it and felt obligated to make it through and review. It was pretty depressing - the main character was basically abandoned by her mother, and raised by an alcoholic, drug-using father who was negligent, to say the least. Plus, at the beginning of the story, her fiance is missing at sea a few days before the wedding. The story isn't linear - it skips between the present, the past, and everywhere in between.
    I
    ...more
    Lib
    Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: literary-fiction
    This is the exact kind of heart-wrenching coming-of-age story that I love. How does a person deal with the brokenness of family? With flawed and dysfunctional parents? With loss and grief and growing up way too soon?
    How does a person forgive a lifetime of wrongs, and reconcile herself to continue to love? Within the pages of Creatures, all of these things happen with the help of gorgeous island imagery, and lessons learned from the depths of the ocean and all of her living things.
    This book is
    ...more
    Linda (My Reading Chronicles)
    Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
    I read this book SO damn quick y’all! It’s a fiction book but it read somewhere in between a memoir/diary. I love memoirs and even more so when they’re full of shocking details. You know, live vicariously, and all that. Evie, the main character is waiting for her husband to return from a fishing trip but it’s nerve wracking for her since they have an upcoming wedding and there’s a storm brewing. The book goes back and forth between the past, present and future. The future part threw me off at ...more
    Kristi Anderson Haverhals
    Unexpectedly beautiful

    I only read this for my book group. I found myself falling for this story, these characters. What a gift.
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