You always see yourself as the hero of your own story, right? But that isn’t working out so well for 16-year-old Joan Chang-Hunt. Which is ironic in a way, because her expectations for this summer were hitting all sorts of heroic highs.
Sure, whenever Joan spends time with her mother’s family in London, it’s generally a mix of crazy and sublime. I mean, her Gran and other family members in the Hunt clan are as eccentric and quirky as London is cool. This summer break, however, was shaping up to be pretty stellar.
Not only was Joan having fun, but she had landed a nerdy summer job at the nearby Holland House—a place that was part tourist attraction and part history lesson all wrapped up in one grand old estate. And then, then Joan met Nick. Tall. Kind. Handsome. Smart. And, of course, British. Yeah, Nick checked off nearly all of Joan’s list of required things for a boyfriend. And he was obviously into her, too.
They even made arrangements for their first date.
Then everything went sideways.
You see, Joan’s gran had always told her that those on her deceased mother’s side of the family line were “monsters.” And Joan had smilingly taken that statement as a funny joke between the Hunts. But it wasn’t a joke at all.
When Joan somehow zips ahead in time one day—missing her highly anticipated date with Nick, no less—Gran sits her down for a long talk. It turns out that the Hunts are one of 12 families of actual monsters in the world.
These monsters have the ability to touch humans in a certain way and steal hours, days, years of their life away. And that, apparently, was what Joan had accidentally done: She touched someone and used eight hours of his life to jump into the future.
It was all a little difficult to wrap her head around. Joan didn’t look like some vampire-like beast. And she certainly didn’t feel like a dangerous plague against humanity. But it turns out that looks and feelings can indeed be deceiving.
Oh, and speaking of looks and feelings, Joan soon learns something else. Her beloved cute boy, Nick, is more than he appears to be, too. It seems that he’s a legendary monster-slayer: a hero trained to eliminate anything that threatens humankind.
And after one insane night of bloody mayhem that shockingly leaves her family dead, Joan has to face yet another terrible fact. If she has any hope of fixing everything that’s been completely broken in her life, Joan will have to embrace her abilities and her monstrousness. She has to find a way to rewrite the story of this terrible summer.
Oh, and it’s a story where … she’s definitely not the hero.