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Monstrous Beauty
Cover of Monstrous Beauty
Monstrous Beauty
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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...
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...
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  • 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.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • ELIZABETH FAMA is the author of Overboard, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, which appeared on five state lists. She lives with her family in Chicago, Illinois.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 9, 2012
    Seventeen-year-old Hester Goodwin has already decided to be celibate: “Love. Sex. Loss. It was safest to avert the whole sequence.” Her mind is on the deaths in her family—new mothers withering within days of childbirth, generation after generation. She is determined not to add to this macabre pattern, but she can’t stop wondering about it. When an apparent coincidence brings an old murder-suicide to her attention, Hester soon finds it’s connected with her family history, and the deeper she delves, the eerier the echoes with her own life become. In a chilling and original story, Fama (Overboard) alternates chapters between Hester and Syrenka, an ancient mermaid with a penchant for human men. Syrenka is no Ariel—to gain human lungs, she eats a pair—but her plight tugs at the same heartstrings as that of another monster, Frankenstein’s. The alternating narrative device can make for stutters in the momentum, and there are stretches (notably when genealogy is rehearsed) where the plot trudges. The horror and humanity are adroitly handled, however, and Fama never lapses into cliché. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger.

  • School Library Journal

    December 1, 2012

    Gr 9 Up-Hester, 17, has a future filled with dreams, but none contain love, marriage, or babies. She "can only ever be alone" because there's a curse tied to her family's ancestry. The origin is cloudy, but the reality is crystal clear: women in her family die within days of giving birth. In 1872, Syrenka, an immortal mermaid, is caught in a fisherman's net. He rapes her; she murders him and eats his lungs, which provides her with mortality, legs, and marriage to Ezra. When a busybody widower discovers Syrenka's secret, the chaos that ensues results in multiple murders. In desperation, Syrenka magically pins Ezra's soul to the Earth, ultimately creating a downward spiraling cycle of sacrifice: when a soul is selfishly detained, one too many remain on Earth. Hester discovers her connection to Syrenka, and that she alone has the ability to free the spirits she has grown to love, thus ending the curse. These two stories are told in alternating chapters. Katherine Kellgren provides solid narration, including the lovely Irish lilt of Pastor McKee and the gravelly sneers of the sea hag. Fama weaves a haunting love story (Farrar, Straus, 2012) with threads resembling the tales of the Brothers Grimm. A great listen for teens that enjoy the dark and tragic side of love.-Cheryl Preisendorfer, Twinsburg City Schools, OH

    Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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