Book Spotlight: MONSTROUS BEAUTY by Elizabeth Fama

About the Book: YA Fantasy




Hardcover: 295 pages

Publisher: Farrar, Strous, & Giroux (BYR)

Release Date: September 4, 2012


Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago. (Source: Goodreads)

About the Author:

Elizabeth Fama is the author of Plus One (FSG, 2014), Monstrous Beauty (FSG, 2012), a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection and Odyssey Award honor winner, and Overboard (Cricket Books, 2002), an ALA Best Books for Young Adults. She is represented by Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, Inc. (Source: Goodreads)


My Thoughts:

With beautiful, evocative writing, Monstrous Beauty captured my interest from page one until the end. The mermaids portrayed in this story are not the sweet Disney-esque type; instead, think Pirates of the Caribbean vampire mermaids in On Stranger Tides. They are vicious and seemingly unaffected of the human world; their interests only lie in themselves. They have rituals that are barbaric in human terms, but crucial to their survival.  However, Syrenka does fall in love with a human, and the consequences of this love will haunt her to her life on land, as well as haunt the generations of women descended from her bloodline.

The story actually has multiple POVs, and also alternates between Syrenka’s story one hundred forty years before, and Hester’s story in the present day. There are ghosts and secrets Hester must uncover to free the past of its tragedy and free herself from a curse inherited from her connection to Syrenka.

A dark, riveting tale for lovers of fantasy and paranormal.


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