Delicious Monsters

S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry. Feb. 2023. 512p. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9781665903493.
Gr 10 Up–Seventeen-year-old Daisy, with ancestors from Trinidad and Tobago, has always been able to see dead people, but when she moves from Toronto into an inherited mansion with her mom, the ghosts inside invade her life in a completely new way. Daisy is hoping the fresh start will be a chance to put her most recent toxic relationship with an older man behind her, but instead she is thrust into a haunted house with a monstrous will of its own. The house feels like an evil character from a Stephen King novel, though the true villains in this story are more likely to use their power to groom, rape, and gaslight their teenage victims. Readers wary of maggots and slaughtered animals should also be prepared for some of the vivid imagery present. Because the house leaves a dead Black girl in its wake, a decade later the creative team behind a popular haunted house web series decides they will investigate to shine a light on the lack of concern over “Forgotten Black Girls.” Even with the large cast of characters and dual narratives, Sambury carefully and clearly builds an intricate story that uses metaphors of gardening to spotlight the cyclical nature of sexual violence while providing a genuinely terrifying haunted house ghost story.
VERDICT An excellent choice for fans of sophisticated horror that includes both paranormal and real-life terrors, such as Elana K. Arnold’s Red Hood.

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