Here There Are Monsters
Here There Are Monsters
They’ll find her. Maybe just camped out somewhere, curled in a sleeping bag at the foot of the Castle. Hill, dirt pile, whatever. They’ll drag her home muddy and unrepentant, leaves in her hair, sticking her chin out and daring us to yell at her.
Eventually the door opens, admitting men’s low voices, and Mom almost knocks her chair over as she hurries to meet them. Officer Leduc follows her. I stay put by the window, waiting. Waiting.
But Mom’s sobs start low and echo up to me, and some police officer is saying something grim and professional, and when I shuffle to the top of the stairs and look down at them, she’s cradled against Dad’s chest, and he’s buried his face in her hair. It’s not Deirdre they’ve brought back.
When Skye and her family move across the country, it seems like a perfect chance to start over. At 16, she’s tired of playing noble knight in the imaginary kingdoms of her irritating younger sister, Deirdre. She’s also tired of being called “Psycho Skye” at school where she has to defend the prickly Deirdre against bullies.
At last, in her new home, Skye can be ordinary – make friends, go to parties, have a romance. But Deirdre withdraws even more, fixated on the swampy woods behind their house and building monstrous sculptures out of sticks and bones. Skye knows something is wrong, but she’s left her old life behind. She’s tired of being the protector and ignores all of Deirdre’s warning signs.
Then Deirdre disappears, and the family’s life is turned upside down. Skye blames herself, because she was asleep when her sister vanished. Then something comes scratching at her window in the middle of the night, telling Skye that only she can save her sister. Pulled by terrifying forces she can’t understand but must believe, Skye has to decide whom to trust and what she will sacrifice to bring her sister home.
In Here There are Monsters, Amelinda Bérubé brings us a spine-chilling Canadian gothic horror story. The forest behind the house is not only wilderness – it is home to a limitless terror that thrives on secrets and demands unquestioning obedience. Skye’s parallel experience in school is full of everyday adolescent drama, with friendship conflicts, popularity races, romance and a buzzing social life. Its very normality makes the dark side of her life even more creepy.
To add to the shivers down the reader’s back, the story gradually reveals that the forces of evil are not limited to the swampy, dark woods. They lie hidden deep within Skye and her missing sister. As Skye and her devoted boyfriend, William, venture further along their own dark paths as part of a bargain for Deirdre’s return, buried secrets emerge. In a final clash, the reader understands with horror what an ordinary person is capable of when pushed to the edge.
Teens with a taste for horror and suspense will gobble up Here There are Monsters, and the evocative Canadian setting will make it even more real and scary.
Wendy Phillips is a former teacher-librarian and the author of the Governor General's Literary award-winning young adult novel, Fishtailing.