'Only A Monster' Book Club Readalong Day 1!

By: OwlCrate . Photo By: @giota_the_reader

Welcome, friends and monsters, to the first day of our book club readalong for OwlCrate's February book, Only A Monster!

Just a reminder that this will be a SPOILER discussion for Chapters 1-4 of Only A Monster, so make sure you read are finished this section before continuing.

Please note that there is a content warning I encourage you to read at the beginning of the book before starting!

Discussion questions are listed below, and anyone who participates in the comments will be entered to win a free OwlCrate box! Don't forget, you can also post about the readalong on Instagram with the hashtag #OCOnlyAMonster for another chance to win!

The story begins...

Joan, at ten, is spending the summer with her grandma who one night sits on her bed and explains to Joan that her family, the Hunts, are monsters, and that she must never tell a soul.

Chapter 1:
It’s the summer when Joan is 16 and she is once again staying with her grandmother and cousins in London. She leaves the house and while waiting at a café for a very exciting date with her coworker Nick, her grandma’s neighbour with dementia, Mr. Solt, stumbles in in confusion. She leads him outside, and while it seems he is trying to lean on her to get his balance, he ends up shoving her into the wall of the café. There’s a sort of snap, and all of a sudden the blue sky is dark. She is standing in the exact same spot, but it’s now nighttime.

Chapter 2:
Joan decides she isn’t dreaming and hurries home to find Gran waiting for her. Gran explains the the Hunt’s monster power is traveling in time, and what Joan did was steal time from Mr. Solt and travel into the future. Joan thinks about her family, how they always dress like they’re going to costume parties or like they are from another era.

Up in her room she finds texts from Nick, and she replies that there was a family thing before eventually falling asleep. When she comes downstairs the next afternoon she confronts her cousin Ruth, dressed like she’s been to an 80s costume party. All this time her family has been stealing time from other humans in order to travel. Ruth doesn’t deny it, and in anger Joan flees the house.

Chapter 3:
Not knowing where to go, Joan decides to go to the museum she volunteers at, Holland House, and to Nick. At first things are awkward as Joan apologizes, but eventually they sit against the wall and start talking and relax. Staff aren’t supposed to stay after hours, but they break the rule as the house empties. Outside they hear cars on the gravel, which is odd because vehicles aren’t supposed to come close to the house. Joan grabs Nick’s hand to try to sneak out the back way to not be seen, but before they can do so people start appearing out of thin air. Other monsters. Joan learned about the Oliver family two years ago. They are monsters like the Hunts, but they are cruel. Yikes.

Chapter 4:
They know what she is. They know she is a monster and Nick is human. Before they can escape both Nick and Joan are grabbed and torn from the room. They are taken to the Gilt Room, where dozens more Olivers are standing, and presented to Edmond, a person who is literally in one of the paintings in the library. They seem to think Nick is a problem that needs dealing with, because no humans know monsters exist, because if they find out, they are killed. Nick struggles and in response gets punched in the face, knocking him unconscious.

Joan manages to grab a knife from Lucien, another Oliver, and Edmond decides one knife against forty isn’t sporting, so gets Lucien to take the sword from over the mantle for some one on one fighting. One of the young Olivers, Aaron, raises an objection but is told to leave. None of the others seem keen to stop what is going to happen. Edmond tells Joan she should have never been born, being half monster and half human. Lucien slices her side, but before he can hurt her further Nick intervenes, expertly taking the sword and killing him. The two people who had been holding Nick are also dead. Nick is a monster hunter. Joan yells at the rest of the Olivers to run, but they seem uncertain until Nick reveals that he has already alerted his people to their whereabouts and it’s too late. After also killing Edmond Nick tells Joan to stay in the room, the only way he can grant her safe passage is if she listens. But when he reveals the he and his people are killing every monster in London that night, including her family, Joan runs.



  1. How do you think Nick discovered the monster hunters and became one of them?
  2. Do you think Joan's family will escape the hunters? Where do you think they will go?
  3. Who do you think Joan's family has been stealing time from in order to time travel?
  4. Did you enjoy the first section of the book?

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