Jam lives in an American town with her affirming parents. This wonderful utopian town has no monsters. None at all. Zero. Except, you know, for Pet, the one that Jam accidentally lets loose from her mother’s painting. Pet tells her there’s at least one other monster that must be booted, along with the shadowy presence of something particularly grim hiding in her best friend Redemption’s house. But Jam’s just a teenager in a world where the adults don’t seem able to admit that monsters could still exist—they were all banished by the angels, after all. Fearing for her best friend, Jam agrees to help Pet and go where Pet cannot.
A Cosmology of Monsters
When kids keep disappearing from your town, you’re bound to be a little wary. So you’d think that Noah Turner, whose family runs a comic book store and a haunted house in Vandergriff, Texas, would be a little more cautious. Of course, the fact that he can see monsters, and that his dad could too before he died, complicates things. As Noah grows up, the unleashing of dark, mysterious forces around him also grows. Puberty is scary in the best of circumstances, but it’s a whole lot more difficult when you’re also trying to survive a world in which monsters exist.
I Know What I Saw
Linda S Godfrey
We fear things that go bump in the night—but did those things exist before us, or is it our fear that created them? Journalist Linda Godfrey, a leading expert on modern-day monsters, has talked to plenty of people who believe that the monsters are real and that what they’ve seen is evidence, even though their detractors will claim hoaxes or misinterpretations. In this book based on her years of research and expertise, she explores how monsters have evolved along with us, why and how we see them, and wrestles with the eternal question of whether or not they’re real.
My Sister, the Serial Killer
Koreda loves her sister Ayoola, even if Ayoola was always the prettier and preferred one of the two. The trouble is that Ayoola has begun to develop a nasty habit of killing off her boyfriends… and then asking Koreda to clean up her mess. It’s true that guys can be total jerks, of course, and Koreda knows this, but she still really hopes that Tade, the doctor she has a crush on at the hospital where she works as a nurse, won’t try to go out with Ayoola. If, or maybe when, he does, will Koreda stick with her monstrous sis?
The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures
Host of the popular podcast Lore knows how enchanting monster myths can be—after all, he’s been fascinating enough by them to start his show, and listeners everywhere have very clearly responded. It makes sense, as Mankhe knows, because monster myths say as much about us and our actions as they do about the things we fear. In this illustrated guide, Mankhe’s soothing and precise language tells us of the history of some of these myths, as well as what they reflect about the societies in which they originated and how they resonate with us now.
The Hollow Girl
Bethan, a Welsh Romani teenager, has grown up among her clan, where she’s been an apprentice to their healer, Drina. The nearby town, where she occasionally has to venture on errands, is home to her friend, Martyn, who has grown up among the white folks there. Bethan’s life is a good one, until Silas, the son of her clan’s chieftain, changes everything. He rapes Bethan and beats Martyn up so badly that when it’s all over, healing Martyn’s physical wounds will require even more work of Bethan. But as she regains her own power, she responds to Silas’s monstrosity with her own.
The Winter of the Witch
In this conclusion to Katherine Arden’s engrossing trilogy, Vasya has just very nearly burned her beloved Moscow to the ground, unable to entirely control the Firebird she summoned. It’s not like she started this conflict, but it seems she’s likely to get blamed for the damage. With more evil on its way, Vasya heads into the spirit realms to further her journey, and to figure out how to save the lands she so loves and draws her own magic from. But is that realm—full of its own masters and monsters—any better than the human one?
Everyone’s afraid of monsters. Sometimes of the mythological kind, the kind that hides in our closets or the kind that lives in the dark and disappears when the light comes on. Sometimes it’s the human kind, fed by our news feeds, reminding us of all the ways humans can be terrible to one another. Or sometimes it’s a bit of both. Whether you believe in monsters or not, the fact is that they are powerful symbols and metaphors for the fear of the unknown, and the darkness lurking underneath and around us. While any sense of what monsters are driven by may still remain incomprehensible to us, our draw to them is indisputable. These monster books will be sure to scratch your monstrous itch.
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Featured illustration by Angie Wang