The Monster of Her Age


I recently had the great pleasure of meeting Danielle Binks in person, but embarrassed myself by not having read her latest book, a YA novel this time. I've now remedied this situation and am pleased to report that The Monster of Her Age is just as enjoyable as The Year the Maps Changed, though they are very different stories.

This time the setting is contemporary Hobart, but in a parallel universe where Australia has a grand film-making tradition equivalent to Hollywood's Golden Age. Ellie Marsden (surely a nod to Tomorrow When the War Began?) is a member of the Lovinger acting dynasty, but she was damaged by her experience as a child actor in a horror movie years before (think of Linda Blair's experience in The Exorcist). Now her famous, beloved, but unforgiven grandmother is dying, and as the family gathers to say goodbye, Ellie confronts her past -- and comes to glimpse a new future.

There is so much to love about this novel: the Hobart setting, the grand old family mansion (alas, fictional, though its location is real), the appeal of horror movies (which, like Ellie, I've never really understood, but this book helped me to see the attraction!), complex family dynamics and a lovely queer romance. It's a rich and gorgeous mix of elements that makes for a rewarding read.

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