Delicious Monsters / Liselle Sambury / Book Review

The house: everything comes back to the house. That was all Daisy heard about growing up--her uncle's mansion, the one her mother was set to inherit one day. The one her mother has inherited. The house is their ticket to freedom--away from the bustle of Toronto, the (literal) ghosts that plague Daisy, and the poverty of single motherhood. The house is their way out. For Daisy, who sees dead people, a secluded mansion far from the nearest inhabited town seems like paradise.

Except the house isn't what she thought. 

A decade later, Brittney is desperate to escape her abusive mother's shadow. Her mother might claim to have seen the light after her stay at the "Miracle Mansion" (and the bestselling tell-all memoir about that experience that launched her career shortly afterward), but Brittney knows that's a lie. When Brittney gets the chance to explore the same "Miracle Mansion" herself as part of her popular Haunted web series, she jumps on it. Where better to expose her mother than the place that started it all? And, of course, a chance to bring Daisy's story to light as well. But when the twists in Brittney's investigation get darker, she'll have to decide what's more important: exposing her own story or the justice that girls like Daisy deserve? 


The atmosphere is creepy. The body horror isn't for the squeamish. But the slow moving plot here meant that, for me, it felt like a terrible slog. 


  • Body Unreliable: The body horror is here--maggots included--but it's more than that. Daisy can't trust herself, not even her senses, because nothing around her is as it seems. People aren't quite as real as they look. Time passes in confusing chunks. Bodies change--including her own. Nothing is in Daisy's control. And nothing can be trusted. There's perhaps nothing more terrifying that this sort of slow dissolution, this loss of self. 
  • Redemption: Sure, Daisy's an unlikeable character (see my "con" below), but her redemption arc in this story, both as a person and as a character, is absolutely wonderful. I found myself rooting for her and for her family. There's so much grief and anger tied up in her character that makes it all the sweeter to see her want to really live. This, of course, comes with a trigger warning: Daisy goes to some dark places. But she comes out in the end better for it, and that transformation is excellent. 
  • Brittney's Forgotten Black Girls: This story, for the thriller and horror genres, has a very familiar setup. And yet it feels distinctly different than the thousands of stories that have come before it. Because those stories really do almost exclusively focus on white girls. Abused, abducted, murdered white girls make the covers, the headlines, the podcasts, and the fiction. And that's why I loved Brittney and her mission here. Because those aren't the only girls to whom bad things  happen, and the predominant narrative omits girls of color. In this context, watching Daisy's story unfold and having Brittney commentate from the future really sheds a startling and uncomfortable light on all those forgotten Black girls and their stories. 


  • Aged Down: Horror elements aside, this book feels deeply contemplative in such a way that it feels like it would be better suited to an adult audience instead of the teen space. I know why it wasn't. The characters--or Daisy, at least--are young, and the modern trend in publishing is to call all books with teenage characters "young adult." And, of course, this is a genre piece featuring BIPOC characters at the forefront by an Author of Color--namely, something that is still rarely published in the adult sphere. That's why it's been relegated to YA. But I don't think it was best suited to this market.
  • Unlikeable Daisy: Characters don't have to be likeable always. They don't have to be likeable ever. But I really disliked Daisy. Her story was compelling, so I wanted to follow along in step with her, but she's got a bit of a superiority thing right from the start--with her older boyfriend, her attitude toward her best (and only) friend, and just the way she handles life in general. I get it. That's part of her character. But I don't think we'd mesh in real life, and I didn't like her on the page, either. Which was unfortunate, since it affected my reading experience. 
  • Slow: I've said it already, but I'll say it again here: this book is slow. It is slow, slow, slow. It was certainly a slog to get through. The plot is long and meandering. The timeline is confusing, and the overall reading experience is rough. Add that to the fact that I just didn't care for Daisy, and I found myself not particularly motivated to read on. But I did, for the sake of this review. 



Those who like Shirley Jackson's classic The Haunting of Hill House will love this new haunted home. Those who enjoyed the creepy folk horror of Ed. Tori Bovalino's This Gathering Dark will enjoy this off-the-beaten-path horror.


Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Date: February 28, 2023
Series: N/A
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Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley and Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


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