The Monster Belt
Estevez’s fantasy, fiction novel is an intriguing page turner that relies heavily on investment in the novel’s main question: do monsters exist and if so, are they responsible for the disappearances of young male swimmers in two separate places? The novel is told through two narrative perspectives and worlds. Harris White is from sunny Formentera. Harris is determined to prove his best friend Jonty was taken by an underwater monster.
Of course, nobody believes him and so he sets off to find the one person that will be able to help him. Dee Winter, a local girl from Yorkshire, is a minor celebrity due to her sightings of these creatures. Throughout their burgeoning connection, both characters help one another to conquer their fears and face their fantastical demons. Not to mention, navigating the treacherous waters of adolescence.
Themes of escapism and adolescent rebellion combined with rapid pacing and unexpected plot twists leave the reader reeling. However, it does take some time for the two primary narrators to meet up, which builds suspense and intrigue, but could perhaps have occurred sooner than it does for the story’s sake. It is written for a confident audience, given the topics of adolescence that are addressed, YA readers will become enraptured in this tale that leaves them to ponder things long after they finish reading. It is a consuming story that will make for great discussion and conversation amongst friends, to decipher the novel’s true message.