I write books for children and young adults. Sometimes I write short stories for grown-ups.

Danielle Binks

The Monster of Her Age

In a neo-Gothic mansion in a city at the end of the world, Ellie finds there’s room enough for art, family, forgiveness and love. A coming-of-age story about embracing the things that scare us from the author of The Year the Maps Changed.

Artwork by Anne Barnetson

Letter to the reader

How do you ruin someone’s childhood? You let them make-believe that they are a monster. But sooner or later, the mask must come off…

Ellie Marsden was born into the legendary Lovinger acting dynasty. Granddaughter of the infamous Lottie Lovinger, as a child Ellie shared the silver screen with Lottie in her one-and-only role playing the child monster in a cult horror movie. The experience left Ellie deeply traumatised and estranged from people she loved.

Now seventeen, Ellie has returned home to Hobart for the first time in years. Lottie is dying and Ellie wants to make peace with her before it’s too late. But forgiveness feels like playing make-believe, and memories are like ghosts.

When a chance encounter with a young film buff leads her to a feminist horror film collective, Ellie meets Riya, a girl who she might be able to show her real self to, and at last come to understand her family’s legacy – and her own part in it.

A story of love, loss, family and film – a stirring, insightful novel about letting go of anger and learning to forgive without forgetting. And about embracing the things that scare us, in order to be braver.

Praise: 

• ‘There is an unexpected intersection where family, grief, forgiveness, and horror films meet, and in the lovely centre is Danielle Binks’ The Monster of Her Age. Realistic, romantic, inclusive, and full of heart, this book belongs on everyone’s shelf.’ —TRISH DOLLER, author of Start Here and Float Plan

• ‘A family dynasty, a Gothic mansion, and an angry girl—The Monster of her Age puts a clever, contemporary twist on the Final Girl horror trope. This is a sensitive and compelling story about one girl’s struggle to defeat her monsters, escape the past, and find her place in the here and now. I loved it.’ —VIKKI WAKEFIELD, author of This is How We Change the Ending

• ‘Horror films, Hollywood scandals and Hobart are just some of the treats on offer in Danielle Binks’ The Monster of Her Age. Come for the razzle dazzle of cinema, stay for the moving portrait of a young woman grappling with love, loyalty, betrayal and forgiveness.’ —ERIN GOUGH, author of Amelia Westlake

• ‘A warm hug of a book that’s packed to the brim with tenderness, truth, and timeless charm. The Monster of Her Age is as much a homage to film as it is to family and heart-fluttering crushes. A must-read for fans of Nina LaCour.’ —SARAH R. HATCH, The YA Room

• ‘All kinds of wonderful … a book I so wished existed when I was a film-obsessed teen. All up this is my favourite kind of YA and this book is perfection’ —JACLYN CRUPI, author of Nonna Knows Best

Community Reviews: 

• ‘This book is all kinds of wonderful. From its smart and nuanced look at how we respond to art, to questions of whether it’s possible to separate art from its problematic artist, Binks has written a book I so wish existed when I was a film-obsessed teen. It brought to mind Actress by Anne Enright and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid but also Looking for Alibrandi in the way it untangled secrets and pain passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter. The chats about the horror genre are so well done and made me immediately want to join a film group. The queer love story is beautifully told. And the look at how a family manages death is beautiful and real and profound. The chapter closes are all so nicely done too which is a minor point but shows that care was paid to both the big and the small. All up this is my favourite kind of contemporary YA and this book is perfection.’ —JACLYN CRUPI, bookseller ‘Hill of Content’ & author Nonna Knows Best

• ‘This is such a warm and compassionate #LoveOzYA story, and a loving tribute to the beautiful nipaluna/Hobart — as a local, and a State Cinema devotee, I relished every mention of the Tassie capital’s many charms! Much like The Year The Maps Changed, Danielle charts her protagonist’s interior journey with patience and grace — in Ellie, we find a teenager striving to seize happiness and resolve how she feels about the impact of her family’s film dynasty past.’ —ALEXANDRA PATRIKIOS, #LoveOzYA committee