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Bent Heavens

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  199 ratings  ·  76 reviews
Liv Fleming's father went missing more than two years ago, not long after he claimed to have been abducted by aliens. Liv has long accepted that he's dead, though that doesn't mean she has given up their traditions. Every Sunday, she and her lifelong friend Doug Monk trudge through the woods to check the traps Lee left behind, traps he set to catch the aliens he so ...more
Hardcover, 291 pages
Published February 25th 2020 by Henry Holt & Company
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Jennifer <spoiler>Yes there is a romantic relationship and, yes, there is a sex scene almost two-thirds of the way through the book in Chapter…more<spoiler>Yes there is a romantic relationship and, yes, there is a sex scene almost two-thirds of the way through the book in Chapter 20.</spoiler>(less)
Chris Yes, there are swear words in this book. Up to and including F***.

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✨Brithanie Faith✨
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
4/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I, too feel as though I've been abducted by aliens after reading this novel. I'm still not entirely sure what I just read, but it was pretty great nonetheless!

If you're looking to dip your toe into young adult sci-fi/horror then this might be the book for you! The horror aspects of this were pretty mild, but at times it was definitely unsettling.

Aliens- and conspiracies- and inner conflict aside, Bent Heavens also
This is going to blow a lot of readers' brains. It is part alien story, part story about conspiracy theories, part story about the power of the media, part story about growing up without much in rural Iowa, and part story about family. It's by turns heartening and heartbreaking, and it's a story featuring a main character who is unlikable and angry and violent...and also one full of compassion, discovering a moral compass, and wrestling with unbelievable grief and frustration, taking it out ...more
"She widened her eyes as much as she could and took it all in, because shed seen worse, participated in worse, was worse.

I'm amending my star rating from 4 to 5 stars because I just cannot stop thinking about this book.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

For so long, Ive been on the lookout for a YA horror that truly terrifies me, and I think Ive found it. Thats not to say author Daniel Kraus doesnt make a few plays toward YA traditions in Bent Heavens, but after reading it, I certainly feel as though Ive been through a hellish, insanity-inducing nightmare and barely made it back with my mind intact.

Our story stars Liv Fleming, whose father Lee went missing more than two
Tracy Robinson
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
YES!!! What a great read.

Family. Sacrifice. Suffering. Conspiracy. All of these things craft the main threads throughout Bent Heavens. This book was my first experience reading Kraus work. Prior to this I had only watched The Shape of Water, a collaboration with Guillermo del Toro that was also released as a novel. I even have two more Kraus books waiting in the wings, and after reading this one, I will be digging in sooner rather than later.

As the synopsis notes, we follow the MC, Liv, as she
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I don't know how much I can emphasize that, despite the ages of the characters, despite the parent trouble and the bully trouble and the general teen angst, this book is not YA.

It's brutal, dark, and depressing.

I also need to tell you that it's not E.T. Remember E.T.? Find the ugly/cute big-eyed alien, have compassion, try to save it?


I'm not going to spoil it for you. I'll just say that, in this case, E.T. should have stayed home.

It's a well written book and the author clearly didn't even
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Well, this is something I probably wouldnt have looked at if I didnt get the email from the publisher. Its being marketed as YA and Im not sure how because its quite graphic.

I liked Liv. Shes struggling with grief and doesnt quite know how to deal with it, so shes lashing out and pretty much being a dick. Her relationship with Doug is interesting and I feel like a lot of that is what kept me reading. There are a few other characters, but this story is 100% focused on Liv.

Plot wise, it was
Tracy (The Pages In-Between)
My Review- Thank you Henry Holt Books For Young Readers for gifting me an E-ARC of this book in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 Stars. It is out today to buy at your favorite retailers!

I was so excited to see something new and fresh in the YA world! I love Alien stories, and I really enjoyed this one. Dont let the fact that this is YA fool you though. It is pretty damn intense, and dark. I am not an avid horror reader, but this was the perfect
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
3.0 Stars
The premise of this novel was so incredibly intriguing that I had to check out this novel for myself. However, the synopsis was almost bit misleading because I did not get the story that I expected. Its hard to say more without giving away spoilers, but I know that this book is going to be divisive among readers. 

In many ways the story reminded me of the authors previous work, The Shape of Water. I liked that one, but I did not love it. I feel similar about Bent Heavens. The writing was
Carolyn Stover
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Liv Flemings father went missing two years ago, after claiming to have been abducted by aliens. What Liv does and becomes because of this made this book so hard to read, mainly because of the brutality but its also filled with grief, love, belonging and not belonging, hope and hopelessness. At times I had to take a break from this book. Surprising twists and turns near the end kept me from putting this book down. Ill be thinking about this for a long time. So, Im still thinking about Livs story. ...more

I've read one Daniel Kraus book before, The Shape of Water, so I had some hint of what I'd be in for. I thought it would be interesting to see what his YA is like. I buddy read with a friend who ended up DNF-ing the book because of all the body horror, and I completely understand that choice. I also find it unpleasant reading those parts and have stopped reading other books for similar reasons. If you're really averse to disgusting and physically horrific scenes, you may
Mar 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: A bloody, scary good time, skillfully written and paced, Bent Heavens kept me flipping pages, even though I had some issues with a few elements.

Ive seen some fantastic reviews for Bent Heavens, and so I went into it with high hopes, knowing this was a thriller/horror story revolving around aliens. And without spoiling things
[Content Warning: Depictions of physical torture, mutilation, (view spoiler)

Okay, listen.

This isn't a nice book.

In fact, it's a pretty damn depressing book.

It's a book that roams the dark and shadowy place that Mufasa warns about. Nothing good can come of chasing it but death and singing hyenas.

Which is why I'm here, on my knees, asking you to chase read it.

Contradiction, thy name is Bent Heavens.

This is my third Daniel Kraus read (well, two
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book messed with me. I won an advanced reader at an event the Greene County Library hosted with Daniel Kraus and as Kraus said, its a mix of ET and torture. The writing throughout is great and at times disturbing. The descriptions of certain characters is cringe inducing and disgusting. If youre up for a little teen and torture, give this one a try. ...more
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight


This is such a wonderfully bizarre book. Dark at times, and absolutely strange, it will leave you stunned in the best of ways. So let's chat about what was great and what was less so!

The Good:

This is absolutely unlike anything else I have read. The unique genre mashup just works, somehow, even though I'll fully admit that I was skeptical.

The ending is perfect. You know how I
Melissa Jacobson
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review


I am screaming, I am shaking. I am quaking. This book ripped me to shreds and it is easily the best book I have read so far in 2020. Daniel Kraus has been a longtime favorite author of mine so when I saw he was writing a book about a possible alien abduction I knew I had to pick it up. Because I am nothing if not an avid lover of science fiction and aliens. I literally have an UFO abducting a cow tattooed on my body
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
The book was slow to build, but then it really took off and even had an unexpected twist. This is the first Daniel Kraus book I have read, but I want to go back and read more. I enjoyed it as an adult, and I will absolutely recommend it to the teens (and some adults) at my library.
Review to come, but what the hell did I just read?
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
ARC review

This was my most anticipated title of 2020 so it's great to be able to read it a full 6 months early. Early reports of this being dark even for Kraus are exaggerated; if you got through the gruesome Scowler you can manage this. It's definitely got all the telltale signs of Kraus - father issues, small-town Iowa, traumatized protagonist, grounded "realistic" setting with one major outlier. However, I found it to feel very empty; while this is no doubt an intentional choice to reflect
Albert Riehle
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was ok

That's the sound of of me being let down again. Daniel Kraus got off to an amazing start with his book Monster Variations and since then, every book of his I've read has been less than stellar. This one, in particular, was a clunker.

The plot was a clunker because you can see where it's going the whole way. I don't accept "but it's a YA book" as an excuse. YA does not equal stupid. Once the "Crossing the Threshold" portion of this book takes place, I think it's obvious to every reader,
Sadie | The Library Lane
*I was sent a finished copy in exchange for an honest review.*

Unfortunately Bent Heavens just wasnt for me. I went into this thinking it was going to be a really cool alien science fiction, but what I got was something completely different. Im really bummed out honestly.

I am going to start with the one thing that I did really like about the book. There were quite a few twists and turns at the end that I was not at all expecting. They definitely kept me on he edge of my seat. The stakes were so
Bang Bang Books
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was ok

I was curious about this because I've never read anything by Kraus but I've been in the same room with him and...

Issues I Had With This Book
* I didn't like the main character. I don't know who she was and she would have these huge violent outbursts-WTF was that? In the beginning, she seemed like she was OCD but it didn't seem to come back although I was skipping around so maybe I missed it? Don't know, don't care.
* Word Choice, Man! This read like an adult book because there was some pretty
Feb 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Liv Flemings father went missing two years ago, not long after he claimed to have been abducted by aliens. Strictly for traditions sake, every Sunday, her and her friend, Doug Monk, trudge through the woods to check the alien traps her father left behind. But one day, Liv decides shes done pretending, and goes out to destroy the traps only to discover the traps have caught something so unhuman it can only be one thing: an actual alien.

After having read the synopsis, I was immediately hooked and
Katie Steele
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
Check out the original review and more on NovelKnight!

This book was provided by the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Bent Heavens is the perfect example of why I advocate for trigger and content warnings on books. If this book had included TWs I might have steered clear, but as it is I didn't. I've had to really think about this review, because my feelings toward this book are very complicated. I think it's a great story, with average writing
Michelle Glatt
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
It has been quite a while since a book has affected me so profoundly to the point that I had to take emotional breaks from it. The last one I remember is Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson.
Daniel Kraus explores grief, loneliness, guilt, revenge, and more through this science fiction/conspiracy/horror tale. What makes this story so unsettling and horrifying is that it illuminates (in an unexpected way) just how completely trauma and loss can shape our thoughts and actions and send otherwise
Cianna Sunshine & Mountains Book Reviews
This author caught my eye because I have "Shape of Water" book on my TBR, and I loved the movie so when I got a chance to read this, I was all in. It looks like a murder mystery, but then we get the added Alien element which at first I wasn't sure about because I'm all for thrillers, but sometimes heavy sci-fi can throw me off.

I enjoyed the levels of government conspiracy, and I will say the violence in this book didn't bother me, probably because I'm used to adult horror and they don't shy away
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
BENT HEAVENS is a fast-paced thriller about a father who, after he claims to be abducted by aliens, goes missing. His daughter and her life-long friend discover a strange being in one of the traps her father set up to catch the aliens who were after him. What comes next is gut-wrenching, and often hard to read.

It was painful to read the torture scenes, but the writing was beautiful, the story was compelling, and I couldn't put this book down. BENT HEAVENS is one of the most powerful books I've
Paul Ataua
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Started off well and I had a strange sensation of having stumbled on something special, but the story suddenly slowed down and became painfully drawn out. From about a third of the way through, it became just a matter of patiently waiting to see where the story would end up. All in all, it was a potentially great idea, but the message, albeit one we would do well to heed, was just a little too simplistic.

Feb 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: a2, a3e, henry-holt, 2020, 2020arc
I really don't know how to score this, or even how to review it. It's not at all what I thought it would be from the blurb. It's hard to read, hard to stick with; I wanted to throw it down a lot as I was reading, as Doug descended into mania and Liv became more and more depressed. The ending doesn't resolve things and there are a lot of loose ends.

But I didn't put it down. I kept reading. Make of that whatever you want.
Cassie Gutman (happybooklovers)
*sits in silence, ponders mortality*
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DANIEL KRAUS is a New York Times bestselling author. With Guillermo del Toro, he co-authored THE SHAPE OF WATER, based on the same idea the two created for the Oscar-winning film. Also with del Toro, Kraus co-authored TROLLHUNTERS, which was adapted into the Emmy-winning Netflix series. Krauss THE DEATH & LIFE OF ZEBULON FINCH was named one of Entertainment Weeklys Top 10 Books of the Year, ...more

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“Writing, he'd said, is the most dangerous thing there is. Because when you write, you're only creating half the ideas. The reader brings the other half. And when you have two people involved in a plot, what's that called?

Her answer: boring .
His response: a conspiracy.”
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