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.
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.
AWARDS & ACCOLADES:
• WINNER: Young Adult category Indie Book Awards 2022
• ‘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
• ‘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
• ‘Binks has a way to find your soul and whack it with a shovel while she maniacally laughs from behind her keyboard.’ —BlueFairyTales
• ‘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
• The Monster of Her Age is an instant classic full of heartfelt moments, emotional insight and charming characters set in a unique and memorable world. —Julia Faragher, Arts Hub
• Danielle Binks has invented a fake Australian film history for The Monster of Her Age and I was hooked. It felt almost dirty wanting to know more about the Lovingers and their family history, like I was a tourist on the bus that drives past their house every three hours, but I loved every second of it. The Monster of Her Age deals with grief, making peace with the past and accepting love when it finds you. Fantastic for readers ages 12+. —DANI SOLOMON, for Readings Books
• This book feels like a love letter to family, to moments that shape us, and to finding peace even when the journey there is messy and imperfect. —LAUREN DRAPER
• It’s wonderful, magical and one of the best books I have read in years of any genre … I can’t recommend this book highly enough, especially for creative souls struggling to feel valued in today’s world. — BOOKTOPIA review
• Rich in detail and plot, it’s a terrific story with a slow reveal that will keep you turning pages. —REBECCA GREEN, The Herald Sun
• Binks covers some diverse territory in The Monster of Her Age; grieving, feminism, trauma and sapphic romance are all explored beautifully. Film buffs, monsters and nerds of many ages are sure to be swept up in Binks’ glittering Australian Hollywood. —Reviewed by Melina Bunting, The Book Bird’s guest book reviewer.
• There are three main aspects of the book that struck me and are the foundations for the story: the Hobart setting, the focus on horror films and the relatability in the family dramas of grief and trauma. I was nervous to read this book because of the Hobart setting, however it made me feel home when I haven’t been in a while… I genuinely think The Monster of Her Age is one of the best YA books I have read in a while. —Rebels of the Shelves
• The Monster of Her Age was reminiscent of one of my favourite books as an adult: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, while also giving me the familiarity of a home-grown story that made me love reading as a teenager like Looking for Alibrandi. The love story that weaves throughout was one that was wholesome and supportive. I absolutely adored Riya and couldn’t get enough of her. —Queer Comes the Sun
- Words & Nerds Podcast – Episode 352, 7/11/2021
- The Booktopian Book Blog – Danielle Binks on how life shaped her debut YA novel, The Monster of Her Age
- LoveOzYA YouTube interviews – 28 July 2021
- The Booktopia Books Podcast
- From Mary Shelley to Carmen Maria Machado, women have profoundly shaped horror – opinion piece in Guardian Australia
- Featured author: Danielle Binks, her new novel ‘The Monster of Her Age’, and some thoughts about the Australian Film Industry – ANZ LitLovers blog
- Danielle Binks on writing to engage young people – Anonymous Was A Woman Podcast
- #LoveOzYABookClub – August 2021 author interview: Danielle Binks The Monster of Her Age
- Talk Now, Read Later Series – Danielle Binks