Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Delicious Monsters by Liselle Sambury - OPTIONAL

Delicious Monsters by Liselle Sambury
, 502 pages. McElderry Books, 2023. $22 

Language: R (57 swears, 71 “f”s); Mature Content: PG-13 (physical relationships and consent discussed) ; Violence: R (gore, corporeal ghost attacks, off-page sex abuse, people die in the house suspiciously, goat slaughtered, child imprisoned and physically abused by father) 



Daisy Odlin is a 17yo Black girl growing up in Toronto, Canada who can see ghosts. She hates her ability, but copes pretty well until her 22yo white boyfriend breaks up with her. When she overhears her mother talking about a secluded mansion they have recently inherited in Timmins, Northern Ontario, she thinks that it just might be what they need to move forward. When they arrive at the property, Daisy is distracted by the fact that there are no ghosts anywhere to be found, but soon learns that ghosts are drawn to the house and trapped inside after they enter. She meets her black neighbors, who are psychics, and their 17yo son, King, who is attractive and friendly. As she narrates the story, she drops hints about how her boyfriend treated her and discovers that there are many secrets her mom has kept from her about the childhood summers she spent in the house. Even more disturbing is that the mysterious mansion is now an Airbnb that her mom is successfully renting out to unsuspecting visitors. 

Delicious Monsters is a chilling and intense page-turner mostly told by Daisy, but every few chapters, there is a chapter narrated by Brittany, a black woman in her early 20s and a podcaster researching lost black girls ten years in the future and eager to prove her famous mother wrong about the “Miracle Mansion.” Most of the characters are Black and written authentically. The chapters in the second timeline help create more suspense and give hints about what Daisy and her mom’s fates might be. The swearing could definitely be toned down quite a bit, but the generational sex abuse hinted at and exposed later in the novel is even more horrifying to discover than the house and its lingering guests. Throughout the story, King demonstrates true friendship, in contrast to the toxic secrets kept by the adults in Daisy’s life. Though the story wades through some very dark territory, hope and resilience are the core message that resonates. Any mature reader who likes a mystery that keeps them on edge or who has dealt with a dysfunctional family will really enjoy this book. 

Stacee Sawyer, Language Arts/Reading 

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