Danielle Banks has once again written a soul-touching piece of literature that makes you rethink your own perspective in life.
The Monster Her Age follows Ellie Marsden as she deals with the pain and trauma of being hurt by someone you love very dearly and not knowing how to forgive them (or even if you want to forgive them). Ellie’s grandmother is the infamous Lottie Lovinger, actress of several famous cult horror friends, and she is also dying.
After several years of being away from her childhood home of Hobart, Ellie returns with the need to make peace with her grandmother. Except making peace with someone who is slowly dying in a coma is not as easy as it seems, especially when they cannot apologize for the trauma inflicted on you.
While in Hobart, Ellie meets Riya, a young film buff who is a big fan of her grandmother’s movies. Through Riya, Ellie begins the healing process of being clouded by the past and attempt to move forward from it.
This book, whoa, was beautiful and found itself to me while dealing with similar family situations. This is not your typical contemporary YA; it is so much more than that. It explores how family can hurt you so deeply that it changes everything about you and their perception of them. Often in YA, family trauma is seen as physical or emotional abuse which is fine. Still, sometimes the most painful memories are when you can’t find a reason why they hurt you that way.
The exploration of family in YA is something we need more of. Throughout the novel, we see Ellie deal with her childhood trauma in the same way you begin to catch your breath after a big cry, slow and bumpy. We see her reconcile with family members who did not know the complete picture of her trauma (I don’t want to give it away because it is heartbreaking). We see family dynamics heal once they understand Ellie’s sudden need to get away from them all. And it was all done when she was ready to speak about her trauma and let people in.
It’s not easy to deal with trauma, especially when someone you care about is dying. Ellie is no exception, and I guess that’s why she felt so real. Ellie was not strong, nor did she have her life figure out; she did not find a big ah-hah; she was simply living and trying not to drown from pain.
Everything about this novel was perfect. The romance? Perfect. The representation? Perfect. Taking responsibility for your actions? Perfect. The asking for forgiveness? Genuine.
I think children are often taught to forgive and forget, but this novel tells us that it is okay not to forgive and not forget until you are ready to do so. That, my friends, is more important.
Publication Date: 28 July 2021
RRP: $19.99 AUD
Personal Rating: 5/5