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Monster in the Middle

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From the award-winning author of Land of Love and Drowning, an electric new novel that maps the emotional inheritance of one couple newly in love. When Fly and Stela meet in 21st Century New York City, it seems like fate. He's a Black American musician from a mixed-religious background who knows all about heartbreak. She's a Catholic science teacher from the Caribbean, From the award-winning author of Land of Love and Drowning, an electric new novel that maps the emotional inheritance of one couple newly in love. When Fly and Stela meet in 21st Century New York City, it seems like fate. He's a Black American musician from a mixed-religious background who knows all about heartbreak. She's a Catholic science teacher from the Caribbean, looking for lasting love. But are they meant to be? The answer goes back decades--all the way to their parents' earliest loves. Vibrant and emotionally riveting, Monster in the Middle moves across decades, from the U.S. to the Virgin Islands to Ghana and back again, to show how one couple's romance is intrinsically influenced by the family lore and love stories that preceded their own pairing. What challenges and traumas must this new couple inherit, what hopes and ambitions will keep them moving forward? Exploring desire and identity, religion and class, passion and obligation, the novel posits that in order to answer the question "who are we meant to be with?" we must first understand who we are and how we came to be.


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From the award-winning author of Land of Love and Drowning, an electric new novel that maps the emotional inheritance of one couple newly in love. When Fly and Stela meet in 21st Century New York City, it seems like fate. He's a Black American musician from a mixed-religious background who knows all about heartbreak. She's a Catholic science teacher from the Caribbean, From the award-winning author of Land of Love and Drowning, an electric new novel that maps the emotional inheritance of one couple newly in love. When Fly and Stela meet in 21st Century New York City, it seems like fate. He's a Black American musician from a mixed-religious background who knows all about heartbreak. She's a Catholic science teacher from the Caribbean, looking for lasting love. But are they meant to be? The answer goes back decades--all the way to their parents' earliest loves. Vibrant and emotionally riveting, Monster in the Middle moves across decades, from the U.S. to the Virgin Islands to Ghana and back again, to show how one couple's romance is intrinsically influenced by the family lore and love stories that preceded their own pairing. What challenges and traumas must this new couple inherit, what hopes and ambitions will keep them moving forward? Exploring desire and identity, religion and class, passion and obligation, the novel posits that in order to answer the question "who are we meant to be with?" we must first understand who we are and how we came to be.

30 review for Monster in the Middle

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    This is a lovely read for a quiet morning or a rainy day indoors. Or you could get lost in it against the backdrop of a busy café. I don't want to reduce it to a book full of men performing casual violence towards women, but that theme does color so many of the pages. Within we also find the Black men who made up 14% of the vote in support of 45 in 2016 and then 12% in 2020. Suddenly they're flesh and blood, no longer a mere number on a screen. Something about that makes the real-life betrayal e This is a lovely read for a quiet morning or a rainy day indoors. Or you could get lost in it against the backdrop of a busy café. I don't want to reduce it to a book full of men performing casual violence towards women, but that theme does color so many of the pages. Within we also find the Black men who made up 14% of the vote in support of 45 in 2016 and then 12% in 2020. Suddenly they're flesh and blood, no longer a mere number on a screen. Something about that makes the real-life betrayal even worse. The writing is lyrical, like a slow-moving stream that ebbs and flows. I love slice-of-life fiction like this where the most ordinary of experiences are pregnant with feeling.

  2. 4 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    When you meet your love, you are meeting all the people who ever loved them or who were supposed to love them but didnt love them enough or, hell, didnt love them at all. This a love story, but not your usual love story. We meet the two lovers after meeting their entire family line and getting a look at how they both ended up where they are... meeting each other in New York City in 2021. This book is a great mash up of Homegoing, The Vanishing Half, Open Water and Transcendent Kingdom Tiphan When you meet your love, you are meeting all the people who ever loved them or who were supposed to love them but didnt love them enough or, hell, didnt love them at all. This a love story, but not your usual love story. We meet the two lovers after meeting their entire family line and getting a look at how they both ended up where they are... meeting each other in New York City in 2021. This book is a great mash up of Homegoing, The Vanishing Half, Open Water and Transcendent Kingdom Tiphanie Yanique's writing is impeccable, I was immediately pulled into the story about Fly and Stela, specifically their back story. As reader, I LOVE the backstory about our main characters and that is exactly where Yanique took this love story. You get to see how and why they behave they do and if they are perfectly suited for each other. I will say, because of this technique I was more invested in the back story than the actual love story. I wanted to know more about the father and why he insisted on having his ex white girlfriend photo on the family wall. I wanted more information on Stela's mom second husband and her life after Martin. So much is explored in this book, racism, religion, immigration, love, forgiveness, marriage, unfaithfulness and regret. I really enjoyed how religion was dealt with, we see Evangelical dating taking place, how growing up in the church changes you and how you change after leaving the church. I think the novel could have benefitted from be more direct, it felt a bit all over the place in certain parts. The ending was a bit "what the..." why was that even included... however, overall I think it would be a great read, especially because its a book I cannot ever remember reading.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Runwright

    Note: Riverhead Books provided me with an Advance Uncorrected Proof. My review is based on reading that ARC Told with an expansive storytelling format, Yanique fictionalizes how the history of the past 30 years has produced two characters that end up in present day NYC looking for love and finding each other. Monster unfolds against a backdrop of events ranging from the Challenger disaster to the current COVID pandemic. We first meet Fly's father and his first girlfriend and the mixed reaction tha Note: Riverhead Books provided me with an Advance Uncorrected Proof. My review is based on reading that ARC Told with an expansive storytelling format, Yanique fictionalizes how the history of the past 30 years has produced two characters that end up in present day NYC looking for love and finding each other. Monster unfolds against a backdrop of events ranging from the Challenger disaster to the current COVID pandemic. We first meet Fly's father and his first girlfriend and the mixed reaction that an interracial couple receives as they traverse the US escaping real or perceived religious persecution. Cut to Fly's mother and the version of her childhood that she tells to justify her choices. Then we have Fly's coming of age story as he is raised by two parents for whom reality is a sliding scale to be manipulated at will. Finally we go to the Caribbean to meet the girl who will grow up to raise Stela, along with the boy who she tags as her savior even while he needs rescuing himself. This second half of the book was more interesting for me because it compares the experiences that travelers have in other countries and it gives the story even more range. Do I recommend this book? Yes. Monster In The Middle is captivating and the thematic discourse is intriguing even when the details may take away some of that focus. Read this book if you like stories about generational issues and how the village impacts the child and his future relationships. As this is not solely the love story between Fly and Stela, it goes into some detail about their earlier attempts at love so if you're a purist about one-love-for-all-time kind of stories, this one won't be for you as almost all the characters that we meet have multiple significant relationships.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Reads It

    I must admit, I was quite at a loss as to how to properly articulate myself as Monster in the Middle caught me completely off-guard. Initially, I tried penning my feelings but those were in even greater disarray than my thoughts. I pondered, "How to express this feeling of uncertainty, this feeling of being whole but hollow on the inside, this feeling of fleeting euphoria?" and I realized- That's life! At its core, Monster in the Middle is life molded into a raw, messy, and terrifyingly brillian I must admit, I was quite at a loss as to how to properly articulate myself as Monster in the Middle caught me completely off-guard. Initially, I tried penning my feelings but those were in even greater disarray than my thoughts. I pondered, "How to express this feeling of uncertainty, this feeling of being whole but hollow on the inside, this feeling of fleeting euphoria?" and I realized- That's life! At its core, Monster in the Middle is life molded into a raw, messy, and terrifyingly brilliant story that chronicles the many manifestations of love. There are so many powerful themes (interracial love, racism, immigration, marriage, drugs, rape, sickness, war, cowardice, bravery, mental illness, death) interwoven within the story that married together in perfect synergy. This is also a brilliant representation of the combative but cohesive nature of spirituality, religion, and the power of belief. It is said that we choose the path we walk on, and while I agree with this, the author proposes an interesting perspective for readers to ponder which is simply the domino effect that your history can have in molding you and the influence it can hold on the path you've selected? Are the decisions of our formative years, not a mirror of the life we were exposed to? To me, Monster in the Middle is not so much a love story but rather an explorative journey with Fly and Stela as the destination. While I prefer the intricacies of the backstories and its dynamics over the eclectic eventuality of the story there is something to be said about the raw intensity of Yaniques writing. I can't say I connected with Fly and Stela but the echoes of the intent resonated with me- know yourself before you seek love. There is no doubt that Tiphanie Yanique is an astounding writer and I believe there is purity in the truth of Monster in the Middle that is echoed throughout the pages. Thank you to the kind folks over at Penguin Random House/Riverhead Books for providing me with an arc.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Pierson

    I tried this book because I love books that follow different generations, timelines, and how they all connect. I did not enjoy the hyper-sexualization in the book as well as COVID being a major part of the plot in the last 10% of the book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Diana N.

    I really like the overall concept of this book. We all have our own backstory and stories of our families. This book is broken down into parts showing the stories of each Fly and Stella coming of age and the stories of their parents. Finally at the end the story of Fly and Stella together. I really struggled with Fly's portion of the story since it seemed so preachy. I enjoyed Stella's story more, but wanted more depth from her character. I was hoping that the final section with Fly and Stella to I really like the overall concept of this book. We all have our own backstory and stories of our families. This book is broken down into parts showing the stories of each Fly and Stella coming of age and the stories of their parents. Finally at the end the story of Fly and Stella together. I really struggled with Fly's portion of the story since it seemed so preachy. I enjoyed Stella's story more, but wanted more depth from her character. I was hoping that the final section with Fly and Stella together was much longer since it seemed so short and rushed. Overall I enjoyed certain parts of the book and the overall concept, but struggled through other parts. I received a copy of this book through a goodreads giveaway.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sanchari Sur

    I wanted to like this book, I really did. It has some compelling Black female voices I have ever read. However, its representation of disability did me in. Much of this representation is problematic. Gary’s schizophrenia is consistently referred to as “crazy,” “crazy-brained,” and “lunatic” by both Fly and Ellenora. His “hearing of voices” is mostly left untreated and tolerated by his family. When Gary does turn to medication later in his life, he decides to separate from Ellenora. This seems to I wanted to like this book, I really did. It has some compelling Black female voices I have ever read. However, its representation of disability did me in. Much of this representation is problematic. Gary’s schizophrenia is consistently referred to as “crazy,” “crazy-brained,” and “lunatic” by both Fly and Ellenora. His “hearing of voices” is mostly left untreated and tolerated by his family. When Gary does turn to medication later in his life, he decides to separate from Ellenora. This seems to suggest that Gary’s bonding to his family was through trauma as a result of his mental illness, and once the illness is managed, the bond too disintegrates. Similarly, Ellenora’s father is depicted as carrying a cane, a visible marker of disability. However, the cane becomes an object of discipline and violence, when he uses it to beat Ellenora’s sister, Jenelle, for staying out too late, and later, for getting pregnant as a teenager. He also beats her son, Brent, to discipline him, enough to have the young boy “[d]isplay… a long scar on his lower back like a war wound”. When Fly visits his grandfather at the age of ten, he too quakes at the sight of the cane, an object that functions as a prop: “He walked with his cane, even though the whole of Soulsville knew that Pop didn’t need that cane for walking.” While the revelation points to Pop’s deception and desire for control, the timing of it makes it an unnecessary shock-value moment using a visible marker of disability as a prop and tool for violence. Stela’s biological father, Martin, too takes his life as a result of untreated depression, as if that's the only viable conclusion to dealing with depression. And finally, Fly also displays depression and suicidal ideation, both becoming manageable only through drug use. His fear of becoming “crazy” like Gary leads him into drug consumption from an extremely early age, demonizing both drug use and mental illness in the process. There were other issues too, but representation of disability was the biggest one for me. Perhaps, having the manuscript read by a sensitivity reader prior to publication could have mitigated this.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Gibian

    When we fall in love, we are not just falling in love with the person present before us; we are falling in love with everyone who has come before them who has made them who they are. This is the thread that binds together the stories that are the novel, Monster in the Middle. Tiphanie Yanique packs a lot of stories into this relatively short book, and each is compelling in a different way, though they also rhyme and overlap with each other in ways that call back that initial premise. Through the When we fall in love, we are not just falling in love with the person present before us; we are falling in love with everyone who has come before them who has made them who they are. This is the thread that binds together the stories that are the novel, Monster in the Middle. Tiphanie Yanique packs a lot of stories into this relatively short book, and each is compelling in a different way, though they also rhyme and overlap with each other in ways that call back that initial premise. Through these stories of hardship, mental illness, abandonment, and survival, Yanique also traces many ways to be Black in America - born or with ancestors from the Caribbean, adopted by White parents, living in the South, in the North, in California. The stories, often quite melancholy, explore what love might be, what it might not be, and hopefully, what it finally is. Stela and Fly are ostensibly the lovebirds in this novel but there are many loves that precede theirs, and that precede them. Luscious writing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Reading with Tara

    This is an interracial love story that goes back in time and tells the stories of the families that came before the two main characters; Fly & Stela. This was such an interesting read, as you learn how the lives of their parents, and the parents before them, and so on, have shaped the two main characters into who they are today. This book was very raw at times, funny, charming, and overall engaging.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Isabelle Leventhal

    I really loved everything about this book except for Stela and Fly's relationship. The book built up all of these relationships so well but when I got to theirs I felt like i never fully understood why they were together. I did love it though and would highly recommend it. I really loved everything about this book except for Stela and Fly's relationship. The book built up all of these relationships so well but when I got to theirs I felt like i never fully understood why they were together. I did love it though and would highly recommend it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    NoraDawn

    This book was well written, touched my heart, gave me insight into cultures outside of my own, and addressed social justice issues. It'll stick with me. This book was well written, touched my heart, gave me insight into cultures outside of my own, and addressed social justice issues. It'll stick with me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    Mmm, love stories. Some turn out good, some not so good. The focus is typically on the couple (because love story, duh), which is where Monster in the Middle diverges from the typical architecture of a love story. Yanique takes us through decades in order to really explore the why behind Stela and Fly's love story. This gives the reader a completely different and nuanced understanding of the inherited trauma (and baggage and habits and longings, etc.) each of the main characters brought to the t Mmm, love stories. Some turn out good, some not so good. The focus is typically on the couple (because love story, duh), which is where Monster in the Middle diverges from the typical architecture of a love story. Yanique takes us through decades in order to really explore the why behind Stela and Fly's love story. This gives the reader a completely different and nuanced understanding of the inherited trauma (and baggage and habits and longings, etc.) each of the main characters brought to the table. This would be an excellent focus for a book club because Yanique really packed a lot into these pages. I think it ended around a 3.5 for me. While I enjoyed each section individually, I found that I lost some steam when time/viewpoints jumped. It wraps up in an incredibly subtle way, leaving you halfway between wanting more and having plenty to contemplate on, both past and future. thx to Goodreads for suppling this in a giveaway! love u besties

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    The most raw/organic novel I have ever read. The opening letter absolutely gave me goose bumps! This novel showcases the art of storytelling, as it follows two lover and the histories that compile them. Everything-their families, their coming-of-age, their deepest and darkest secrets. The deep, scary junk at the core of us is the monster in the middle of us that we may not share with someone when we first meet, or even hold us back from living or loving. This novel has everything-biblical allusio The most raw/organic novel I have ever read. The opening letter absolutely gave me goose bumps! This novel showcases the art of storytelling, as it follows two lover and the histories that compile them. Everything-their families, their coming-of-age, their deepest and darkest secrets. The deep, scary junk at the core of us is the monster in the middle of us that we may not share with someone when we first meet, or even hold us back from living or loving. This novel has everything-biblical allusions, coming-of-age, nuanced characters, and grapples with big concepts of race, religion, rape, abuse, identity, mental illness, family complexities, and even features the consequences of the pandemic. While Yanique's language was ambiguous, and she constantly switched from different character's POV, this all compiles to give the novel unique layers. I have never seen anything like it. Her style of words were extremely artistic, as one of the main characters thinks in pictures she could possibly paint. Favorite line: "He thought about the man with the astronaut shield. Thought about the earth becoming foreign and hostile to them all, how it might as well be the moon" (256.) Reminds me of both John Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany" (highly religious overtones) and Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" (the art of quilting as storytelling.)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Suzanna (TheMillennialJAReads)

    MONSTER IN THE MIDDLE opens with a love letter from the parents admonishing their descendants, in a distinct American southern voice, about romance and family, what we inherit and carry from our ancestry into relationships. This foretells what's to come for the two lovers (Fly & Stela) who are destined to meet and of the generational trauma also destined to follow them. The narrator(s) invites us into both families, some voices appearing in 3rd person and others in 1st. Fly's family read as bizar MONSTER IN THE MIDDLE opens with a love letter from the parents admonishing their descendants, in a distinct American southern voice, about romance and family, what we inherit and carry from our ancestry into relationships. This foretells what's to come for the two lovers (Fly & Stela) who are destined to meet and of the generational trauma also destined to follow them. The narrator(s) invites us into both families, some voices appearing in 3rd person and others in 1st. Fly's family read as bizarre. From the first chapter there was so much mania and mayhem it took time to plough through the many themes in those chapters, it took pauses and restarts and faith we were going somewhere worthy for me to convince myself to finish it. I mean, it's Tiphanie Yanique... I'm always going to give Caribbean authors, especially, the benefit of the doubt until I have definitive evidence. We didn't really get to the Caribbean characters for a good while, even though Fly's father, Gary, hallucinated about a "paradise” the foreign voices propelled him to, we didn't explore a story behind that. We generally didn't really explore anything in Gary’s background except through the eyes of his wife and son and the 3rd person narrative. Both Stela and Fly’s fathers suffered from mental illness and neither of them spoke to us directly so I suppose that says something. I still have many many questions about Gary's peculiar character. Now, when the Caribbean characters did show up they were more tolerable to me. Stela’s part of the novel was a relief because though Stela's mother rambled, her story was way more coherent and self-aware. I wanted to know about her life as an immigrant in America and more about Martin (Stela’s father) but he didn’t have a chapter. This was also when I started to notice the connections between both families, the monsters that haunted them: (mental) illness, abandonment, loss, abuse, twisted hyper-religiosity... Religion and symbols/signs/elements always played a significant role throughout the novel. Signs are what led Fly and Stela to each other, it injected fear and passion into Stela’s love for art and the sea- this is one of my favorite aspects of the book. I could see clearly how and why Stela was drawn to the water but also feared it without understanding her family’s tragic and romantic history with the sea. In a similar fashion, the forces that pushed Fly & Stela together, sometimes pulled them apart. At times, their deepest fears and desires threatened to pull them apart but, in the end, drew them closer. The ending confused me, it felt incomplete, too much was happening... ( full reflection on the blog: https://www.themillennialjamaican.com...)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hanaa

    “The question you must have is, what is at the middle of it all? I’ll tell you, even though I shouldn’t. Doesn’t matter. You’ll still have to do the thing to know it. What’s there, at the middle? Myth and magic, both. No shame in that. We all know it takes a village to raise a child. But I can tell you honestly that it takes an ancestry to make a man or a woman.” ✨ Officially, 'Monster in the Middle' is a love story between Stela and Fly, a teacher of Caribbean background and an African-American m “The question you must have is, what is at the middle of it all? I’ll tell you, even though I shouldn’t. Doesn’t matter. You’ll still have to do the thing to know it. What’s there, at the middle? Myth and magic, both. No shame in that. We all know it takes a village to raise a child. But I can tell you honestly that it takes an ancestry to make a man or a woman.” ✨ Officially, 'Monster in the Middle' is a love story between Stela and Fly, a teacher of Caribbean background and an African-American musician, each with their own tale/battle with religion. The story I read was less about Fly and Stela but about their pieces (parents, loved ones, lovers) and their respective pieces. This story is a palindrome about a love rooted in descent and in the fluidity of our choices. Each chapter details a finely tuned step in carving a puzzle piece, as each corner is cut and reshaped by desire and religion and the identical passion both of these cruxes bring about. Beyond the love story, Tiphanie Yanique has us exploring lovers (pick your word of choice: sinners? Pastors? Wives? Husbands? Students? Artists?) and asking Is there a difference? Are we not all driven by a passion we come to learn of, then study, and then journey to satisfy (within ourselves, through others)? I enjoyed the exploration of faith, religion, love, passion, secrecy – driving forces we often hear of – as both builders and destroyers. Often perceived as *pure*, Tiphanie portrays them as they truly exist, in juxtaposition with the rest of the world’s perceived immoralities and sometimes itself a "pure" vice (ex. Fly’s stack of adult magazines and *that tape* topped off with the Bible? Yeah, I’m glad she took it there.) The last 20 pages or so felt like a rushed commentary on the current state of the world and had me skimming pages. The novel could have ended sooner and I would’ve been okay with it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    I couldn’t connect and struggled with Part 1 (Fly). This book took me several weeks to read, and I spent the bulk of the time slowly trudging through Part 1. I considered not finishing it and moving on, but I’d really been looking forward to this book and wanted to push through. I am glad I did. I loved Part 2 (Stella). It had some of the most beautiful language in the book, and I really felt connected to Stella’s character as well as her parents. I found myself triggered reading Part 3 (Stella I couldn’t connect and struggled with Part 1 (Fly). This book took me several weeks to read, and I spent the bulk of the time slowly trudging through Part 1. I considered not finishing it and moving on, but I’d really been looking forward to this book and wanted to push through. I am glad I did. I loved Part 2 (Stella). It had some of the most beautiful language in the book, and I really felt connected to Stella’s character as well as her parents. I found myself triggered reading Part 3 (Stella & Fly). This final Part takes place during spring/summer 2020 and COVID/quarantine and the BLM protests are described in ways that took me back to that time. (BLM yesterday, today, and tomorrow though!) I also wanted more from Part 3. It was really short compared to the other parts and left me wanting more. I thought it was interesting how the author chose to have some chapters narrated in first person and some narrated in third. I also thought it was interesting how some chapters were styled to include numbered sections within the chapter. Not sure what the purpose of this was…

  17. 5 out of 5

    Damien Roberts

    I wanted so much to love this story and while I found Yanique’s writing to be of a high caliber the story in itself just didn’t connect with me. We basically follow two lineages until their offspring find one another and fall in love. But Homegoing by Gyasi this is not. And the frustrating thing about it is I both understand what Yanique was trying to do and respect that-this isn’t a book where anything is missing that would automatically make me discredit it. The problem here is that the many par I wanted so much to love this story and while I found Yanique’s writing to be of a high caliber the story in itself just didn’t connect with me. We basically follow two lineages until their offspring find one another and fall in love. But Homegoing by Gyasi this is not. And the frustrating thing about it is I both understand what Yanique was trying to do and respect that-this isn’t a book where anything is missing that would automatically make me discredit it. The problem here is that the many parts of this story don’t make a whole. We’re kind of promised that the two people who make up our love story here are brought together by their family histories. I understood from the get go this was going to be from a philosophical POV more than a geographical one, but even then it didn’t really add up. I will say Yanique’s writing was really really well done and I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to reading her short stories or other novels in the future. This just wasn’t for me.

  18. 4 out of 5

    pugs

    i'm always fascinated how lives cross paths and intertwine, so this book instantly got my attention. and so did yanique's writing, painting the reader such a vivid description, making each point of view unique, each story felt different enough, while also putting the pieces together as time went on. quite the literary accomplishment, very hard to pull off. i couldn't wait to get 'monster in the middle' over with, not because i disliked it, the opposite, i wanted to see which family member would i'm always fascinated how lives cross paths and intertwine, so this book instantly got my attention. and so did yanique's writing, painting the reader such a vivid description, making each point of view unique, each story felt different enough, while also putting the pieces together as time went on. quite the literary accomplishment, very hard to pull off. i couldn't wait to get 'monster in the middle' over with, not because i disliked it, the opposite, i wanted to see which family member would come next and how the stories related. i can see this book being divisive in some respects, the characters are very candid about romance/sex, which can be seen both uncomfortable and tender, depending on narrator. funny, clever, tragic, alarming, good writing, with some stream of consciousness thrown in at times. loved it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    Why are Fly and Stela lovers? Yanique explores their backstories in an unusual way- through the story of their very different parents and their love stories. This slim novel encompasses thirty years and many many issues- from interracial relationships to drug use to religion to faith to forgiveness to sex. Their relationship is secondary to what goes before, and in fact, we don't really see them as a couple, in 2021, until the last pages. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. This easily could have b Why are Fly and Stela lovers? Yanique explores their backstories in an unusual way- through the story of their very different parents and their love stories. This slim novel encompasses thirty years and many many issues- from interracial relationships to drug use to religion to faith to forgiveness to sex. Their relationship is secondary to what goes before, and in fact, we don't really see them as a couple, in 2021, until the last pages. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. This easily could have been a much longer novel but Yanique has pared the stories to their essence to create a gem for fans of literary fiction.

  20. 5 out of 5

    mostlybookstuff

    Consider your family tree and you will find yourself in the middle. Consider your partner and you find they are made up of all that came before and what they carry hereafter. #MONSTERINTHEMIDDLE by #tiphanieyanique is an ode to the ancestral soul and what encompasses a whole being. Fly and Stela, in fact, do not meet until the very end of the novel. Their love story makes plain just how many lives we live and how many more still await us.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Irene Money

    this felt like a whole lot of preamble. Impressed that the book's timeline goes through the summer of 2020 (!) have to admit I was ready to put it down, but then got engaged at some point. But so so so many characters, I wish there had been a family tree, but I can also see why she wouldn't want that to act as a spoiler. this felt like a whole lot of preamble. Impressed that the book's timeline goes through the summer of 2020 (!) have to admit I was ready to put it down, but then got engaged at some point. But so so so many characters, I wish there had been a family tree, but I can also see why she wouldn't want that to act as a spoiler.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Deedee

    Although the main characters, Stela and Fly, were likable and appealing, the back story of how each grew up and worked through serial relationships wasn’t as convincing and I skimmed much of the book without much interest.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Oscreads

    Won’t stop thinking about this book. Loved it so much.

  24. 5 out of 5

    TR Ryan

    3.75

  25. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Fly and Stela's love story spans their previous loves and the loves of their respective parents. Fly and Stela's love story spans their previous loves and the loves of their respective parents.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cara

    Slow to start, but ultimately satisfying.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    Really struggled with this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lily

    Beautiful writing and really interesting format, but one of those weird/gross books, especially about sex. I liked the idea more than the execution.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mackeda(islandgyalreads)

    I loved the concept of this story because the relationships of our parents and those around us really do impact our relationships. However somewhere alone the way I got bored so by the time I got to end where Stela and Fly got together my mind was just like 'meh ok'. I loved the concept of this story because the relationships of our parents and those around us really do impact our relationships. However somewhere alone the way I got bored so by the time I got to end where Stela and Fly got together my mind was just like 'meh ok'.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brittany Prince

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