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Crissy Van Meter Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Creatures (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Crissy Van Meter
Criss Van Meter is a contemporary fiction writer best known for her debut novel Creatures. In this book, Van Meter delivers a fresh story on childhood trauma, broken relationships, and forgiveness. When she is not writing, Van Meter works as a creative writing teacher at Sarah Lawrence College. She is also Nouvella Books managing editor and the founder of Five Quarterly. The author is currently based in Los Angeles.

Creatures
Creatures tell the story of Evangeline, a young woman who had a rough childhood. Her parents were negligent, so Evie practically raised herself. To cushion herself against more heartaches, this young girl builds an emotional wall so high that no one can penetrate it. It is not until her fiancé comes along that Evie lets someone into her heart. Now, Evie’s fiancé is late returning from a trip, and she can’t help but worry. Liam works as a fisherman and is often at sea for weeks. However, Evie has been expecting him for a while, and with their upcoming wedding, it seems unlikely that Liam would want to be at work more that is necessary. It doesn’t help that Evie’s mother is in town for her wedding, and she brings all the memories of her childhood.

Evie’s mother left when she was a child. Even though she came to see her daughter, her visits were infrequent. She would be inaccessible for months only to appear for a few days before disappearing again. This can only mean that Evie did not have any connection with her mom. Evie’s father was not any better. The man was an alcoholic who blew all the money he earned selling marijuana to tourists. At times, Evie and her father were homeless as he couldn’t keep a job. Evie had to learn to live with friends and grow with the uncertainty of not knowing where her next meal would come from. While her father was well-meaning, it was clear that he could not offer any form of stability to his only daughter. Despite the hardships, Evie grows to a beautiful woman who doesn’t have to try hard to catch a good man’s eye.

It is the eve of Evie’s wedding, and there is a dead whale trapped on Winter Island harbor. This is a fictional island right off the coast of Southern California. The groom has not yet returned, and there is no telling what could be keeping him so long. As she waits, Evie reflects on her childhood and the obstacles she has been forced to overcome in her short life. Spending time with her mother brings up suppressed issues. First of all, Evie’s mom’s visit was uninvited. Why would she visit now? It is not like she tried to form a relationship with her daughter when she needed her. Evie cannot help but wonder about her mother’s timing.
This book is told from Evie’s point of view, and the story starts just before her wedding. The author uses a nonlinear timeline to tell the story of Evangeline, her troubled past, and the effects of trauma. Much like tides in the sea, the author takes the reader back and forth from Evie’s past and present. The writing is quite provocative as it takes an in-depth look into dysfunction in families. There is no doubt that a child’s upbringing influences the quality of life in the future. Many adults continue to bleed on people who have no idea of the traumatic experiences they had to endure when younger. How does Evie overcome all this and fall in love? Is there more she needs to do to ensure a successful marriage?

It is said that we are creatures of our existence. Like the rest of us, Evie is a creature of her unstable upbringing and the small island she calls home. While many things were working against her, the island served as Evie’s solace. The lush wilderness that characterized the island was Evie’s home, and she knew every corner of it. This island, to some extent, mould her into the adult she becomes, and her inner beauty masks al the heartaches.
This story is loaded with dry humor, intricacies, and heartbreak. The author’s poetic tone, coupled with the breathtaking island backdrop, does a lot to lighten the mood throughout the story. Away from the beautiful setting, Evie’s childhood is riddled with too much heartache. It is easy to empathize with her and hope that the universe will give her a break she deserves. It is incredible how the author incorporates the climate and other elements into the story. The fictional setting also adds character to the story. Somehow, this will feel like a coming of age story for Evie. Her transition from a heartbroken child to a forgiving adult is admirable.

This book has a flow and ebb that is simply outstanding. The story is captivating despite the hardships, the main character had to endure. It is refreshing that Evie is taking steps to heal and forgive those who were not there when she needed them. How about Evie’s mother? Was her appearance at her daughter’s wedding preparation a sign that she wanted to be in her daughter’s life? Will Liam show up, and what kept him at sea for that long? How does the wedding go, and will Evie hack marriage considering her traumatic past? Find the answers to these questions and more in this captivating story.

Creatures is a complex, dark, and at the same time, a beautiful story. The storyline is unique, and the author has done a great job of maintaining a steady pace and flawless narration throughout the story. With love, wit, and some element of anger, this story examines the complications that arise from abandonment. Through Evie, we see how a difficult childhood can destroy any chance of happiness, even in adulthood. At just slightly over 250 pages, this book packs quite a punch. You can enjoy it in one sitting, and even though the content will break your heart, the ending will make it all worth it.

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