cover image I Feed Her to the Beast and the Beast Is Me

I Feed Her to the Beast and the Beast Is Me

Jamison Shea. Holt, $19.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-90956-5

Black teenage ballerina Laure Mesny makes a deal with an ancient evil to fulfill her heart’s desire in this sharp, gruesome debut. Laure, a self-proclaimed perfectionist, attends the Ballet Academy of Paris. After dedicating her life to the art form, she yearns to take center stage during one of her school’s productions so that she can prove herself worthy of a spot in the Paris Ballet. But years of being overlooked in favor of her rich, white peers prompts Laure to seek drastic measures. When an opportunity arises, Laure—at the suggestion of a classmate—ventures into the city’s eerie underground Catacombs and bathes in a pulsating river of blood belonging to an eldritch god. But the power she obtains demands more sacrifice than she expected—or is willing to give. As new powers consume her, Laure begins literally transforming into a vicious creature beyond her imagining, threatening everything she’s worked so hard for. Shea’s raw, tension-filled emotional roller-coaster of a novel delivers frighteningly gory depictions of body horror. While the scares are grisly, Shea skillfully uses them to reveal hard truths surrounding institutions that capitalize on exclusion, and to depict the lengths one teen goes for acceptance and recognition. Ages 14–up. (Aug.)