Plus, receive recommendations and exclusive offers on all of your favorite books and authors from Simon & Schuster.
Table of Contents
About The Book
The Haunting of Hill House meets Sadie in this evocative and mind-bending psychological thriller following two teen girls navigating the treacherous past of a mysterious mansion ten years apart.
Daisy sees dead people—something impossible to forget in bustling, ghost-packed Toronto. She usually manages to deal with her unwanted ability, but she’s completely unprepared to be dumped by her boyfriend. So when her mother inherits a secluded mansion in northern Ontario where she spent her childhood summers, Daisy jumps at the chance to escape. But the house is nothing like Daisy expects, and she begins to realize that her experience with the supernatural might be no match for her mother’s secrets, nor what lurks within these walls…
A decade later, Brittney is desperate to get out from under the thumb of her abusive mother, a bestselling author who claims her stay at “Miracle Mansion” allowed her to see the error of her ways. But Brittney knows that’s nothing but a sham. She decides the new season of her popular Haunted web series will uncover what happened to a young Black girl in the mansion ten years prior and finally expose her mother’s lies. But as she gets more wrapped up in the investigation, she’ll have to decide: if she can only bring one story to light, which one matters most—Daisy’s or her own?
As Brittney investigates the mansion in the present, Daisy’s story runs parallel in the past, both timelines propelling the girls to face the most dangerous monsters of all: those that hide in plain sight.
CHAPTER ONE DAISY
There were two stories of how I was named. One was what Mom told people. Never casually. Only if they asked.
It was a dream of a drive long enough that you strain not to doze off, mingled with the extra-sweet tang of wild blueberries.
All of Ontario seemed to be built along rough gray roads stretching seemingly forever into the distance, where rolling down your window meant breathing in the sharp smell of burned rubber and stinging asphalt. The sort of tar-black road that scorched your feet with its heat and left the scent on your heels, smoky and stained, lingering in the air.
In this dream, Mom pulled onto the shoulder, bright emergency blinkers flashing on an empty highway. When I was little, growing up in a city, it was hard to picture a place I knew to be packed and busy, suddenly devoid. Like a ghost town. Abandoned. With Mom as its only inhabitant.
She stepped over the squat metal barrier between expressway and earth, careful with the swollen bump of her belly. She walked into the wreckage of fallen trees, burnt branches crumbling to white ash that stuck to her fingers and still smelled of fire. That’s where she found the blueberries. They grew in patches, short, small, and wild, alive in a field of death.
You could find the best blueberries after a burn, she’d say.
And there, in the midst of gathering the sweet fruit into the hem of her car-sweaty T-shirt, her tongue stained purple with juice, she found something else.
Inexplicably. In a place where only one plant seemed to grow was this other thing that shouldn’t have survived.
That was where my name came from.
Now, the second story.
The one where Grandma whispered that of course a sixteen-year-old would name her kid after a flower. Which meant that the second story wasn’t a story at all. Because that was the point, that there wasn’t one.
That my name was nothing more than a pretty tattoo: permanent and meaningless.
Why We Love It
“Delicious Monsters is one of those rare books that transcends its own genre. It’s a horror story showing that the worst kind of horror—the kind that takes root in your soul—is not ghosts, nor demons, but instead it’s the terrible things humans can do to each other. Yet at its heart, this book is deeply hopeful. There is hope in acknowledging trauma. There is hope in being kind to yourself even on the days it’s hardest. And there is hope in falling in front of those you love and trusting them to catch you. This book leaves me with chills. It’s kept me up at night—and not because of the horror, but because of the beautiful truths within it.”
—Sarah M., Senior Editor, on Delicious Monsters
- Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (February 28, 2023)
- Length: 512 pages
- ISBN13: 9781665903493
- Grades: 9 and up
- Ages: 14 - 99
Browse Related Books
Raves and Reviews
*A haunted mansion is the site of unmistakable horrors and horrific mistakes.
Seventeen-year-old Daisy Odlin recounts constantly seeing, feeling, and fearing the dead; visions of the dead lying atop her are paired with memories of an abusive 21-year-old ex-boyfriend, betraying an unrelenting sadness that Daisy theorizes the dead feed on. With an estranged father and a volatile relationship with her mother, Daisy, whose family has origins in Trinidad and Tobago, doesn’t resist when an opportunity arises for mother and daughter to leave Toronto for northern Ontario and an inherited home. A decade later, Black film student Brittney is investigating what actually happened to Daisy, her mother, and the notoriously deadly house for the web series Haunted. Brittney’s own abusive mother was a guest there after Daisy’s mother turned it into an Airbnb, and it was a positive turning point that she wrote about in a bestselling memoir that put the so-called Miracle Mansion on the map. In parallel narratives, Brittney and Daisy—with the help of a documentary filmmaker and psychic, respectively—seek truths while struggling with the realities of their respective mothers. The paranormal logistics are complex, and while Daisy is at the center of it all, Brittney’s investigation cuts through to discover layers upon layers of trauma that imbue the house with its supposed supernatural, if not psychological, power. As the saying goes, haunted people haunt people.
A story that is careful to make its ghosts and monsters painfully real. (author’s note, content warnings) (Thriller. 14-18)
– Kirkus Reviews, STARRED, 12/15/22
Gr 10 Up–Seventeen-year-old Daisy, with ancestors from Trinidad and Tobago, has always been able to see dead people, but when she moves from Toronto into an inherited mansion with her mom, the ghosts inside invade her life in a completely new way. Daisy is hoping the fresh start will be a chance to put her most recent toxic relationship with an older man behind her, but instead she is thrust into a haunted house with a monstrous will of its own. The house feels like an evil character from a Stephen King novel, though the true villains in this story are more likely to use their power to groom, rape, and gaslight their teenage victims. Readers wary of maggots and slaughtered animals should also be prepared for some of the vivid imagery present. Because the house leaves a dead Black girl in its wake, a decade later the creative team behind a popular haunted house web series decides they will investigate to shine a light on the lack of concern over “Forgotten Black Girls.” Even with the large cast of characters and dual narratives, Sambury carefully and clearly builds an intricate story that uses metaphors of gardening to spotlight the cyclical nature of sexual violence while providing a genuinely terrifying haunted house ghost story. VERDICT An excellent choice for fans of sophisticated horror that includes both paranormal and real-life terrors, such as Elana K. Arnold’s Red Hood.
– School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW, 3/1/2023
Via dual perspectives told a decade apart, two Black teens strive to uncover the secrets of a haunted house in this gripping psychological thriller by Sambury (Blood Like Fate). The house that 17-year-old Daisy’s late uncle left to her and her mother seemed to represent an answer to the family’s financial struggles, an escape from Daisy’s persistent visions of macabre ghosts, and a fresh start from her physically and emotionally abusive 21-year-old boyfriend, who recently dumped her without warning. But there is something sinister about their new home, and Daisy’s mother seems to know more about it than she’s letting on before tragedy strikes. Ten years later, the house is an AirBnB with a cult following that was spearheaded by college student Brittney’s emotionally abusive bestselling author mother, who claims her stay at the house—dubbed the Miracle Mansion—“changed her for the better.” But Brittney wants to expose it for the “house of horrors” she believes it is by uncovering its history for her investigative web show, Haunted. Using speculative elements to cultivate genuinely terrifying scares whose perpetrators straddle the line between imagined and real-life monsters, Sambury empathetically highlights cycles of abuse, depression, and generational trauma. Ages 14–up. Agent: Kristy Hunter, Knight Agency. (Feb.)
– Publishers Weekly, 1/30/2023
On the heels of her boyfriend’s betrayal, Daisy and her mom get a long-awaited call: they’ve inherited the “Miracle Mansion” of Daisy's mother’s teenage summers and can finally move out of Toronto to start an Airbnb. In a parallel story line set 10 years in the future, podcast host Brittney and her partner Jayden investigate the same mansion for an episode in the newest season of their ghost-story YouTube show. As Daisy contends with her ability to see ghosts and all the things her mom isn’t telling her, Brittney and Jayden unravel Daisy’s story from the end, until the two narratives collide in a haunting revelation. This complex, multifaceted story is not for the faint of heart; its 500-plus pages are packed with visions of dead people and different types of abuse. The deeply creepy mansion delicately ties together two main characters who, despite being separated by 10 years and having very different backgrounds, are both fierce and compellingly imperfect, though one is perhaps less reliable than the other. A must-read.
– Booklist Reviews, 1/1/23
"One part breathtaking ghost horror, one part gripping thriller, and an all-round absorbing read. Delicious Monsters turns an unflinching light onto the cycles of trauma and the ghosts that follow."
– Chloe Gong, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the These Violent Delights Duet
“A haunted house thriller packed with cryptic mystery, dark humor, and bone-chilling twists. Sambury approaches the grim recesses of intergenerational trauma with diligence and bravery. The odd ghosts, fearless prose, and raw character dynamics make this an absolute page-turner and a win for psychic fiction.”
– Ryan Douglass, New York Times bestselling author of The Taking of Jake Livingston
"Full of eerie ghosts and secrets most sinister, Delicious Monsters is the perfect read for a dark and stormy night. I read most of it from behind the safety of my fingers and was left thoroughly haunted."
– Erin A. Craig, New York Times bestselling author of House of Salt and Sorrows and Small Favors
"On one page, this book sings a lullaby, and on the next, it throws you into a whirlwind you never could’ve seen coming. At its core, Delicious Monsters is a screaming declaration to the world that Black girls are complex and flawed, capable of everything, and that we matter. I'll be putting Delicious Monsters into the hands of everyone I know with a pulse."
– Brittney Morris, author of Slay and The Cost of Knowing
“Scary, complex, emotional, lived-in, ambitious, Liselle Sambury’s Delicious Monsters is a can’t miss. A Canadian gothic epic (northern gothic?) that has a lot to say about the stories and lies we tell ourselves about our own families. Oh, and did I mention it’s scary?”
– Adam Cesare, author of Clown in a Cornfield and Video Night
"Delicious Monsters grabs you by the throat in the first chapter and refuses to let go until the very end. I was on the edge of my seat for this whole book. Sambury’s chillingly beautiful prose will stay with you for ages."
– Victoria Lee, author of A Lesson in Vengeance
Resources and Downloads
High Resolution Images
Book Cover Image (jpg): Delicious Monsters
Author Photo (jpg): Liselle Sambury
Photograph by Stuart W(0.1 MB)
Any use of an author photo must include its respective photo credit
You may also like: Young Adult Staff Picks
You may also like: Thriller and Mystery Staff Picks
More to Explore
Our Summer Reading Recommendations
Red-hot romances, poolside fiction, and blockbuster picks, oh my! Start reading the hottest books of the summer.
This Month's New Releases
From heart-pounding thrillers to poignant memoirs and everything in between, check out what's new this month.