These Violent Delights author Chloe Gong on her favorite YA monsters this spooky season

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong. Image Courtesy Simon & Schuster
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong. Image Courtesy Simon & Schuster /
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There are many kinds of monsters in fiction

Monster stories have been around for as long as there have been stories, and for good reason too.

Other than the plain intrigue that comes from a monster playing some part in a narrative, there’s always a bigger question lurking around about what a monster represents and how a monster contrasts humanity in a story.

Coming November 17th, the monster in my upcoming debut novel These Violent Delights lurks in the river that runs through the city, inciting chaos regardless of territory.

It is also a Romeo & Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, so despite the story being about the heirs of rival gangs hunting said monster, it leans into questions of monstrous humanity and monstrous colonialism.

Here are five books that center on the ever-mysterious monstrous hero… or monstrous being.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Girl, Serpent Thorn is about a princess who has been hidden away all her life because she is poisonous to the touch. Is it for her own safety, or for the safety of others?

As she leaves her garden for the first time, Soraya begins to question whether she is human or demon, and all the other juicy internal conflict brought on when the protagonist mulls on their own monstrosity.

To be predictable and paraphrase Shakespeare, this is a fairytale about whether a princess is the innocent flower or the serpent underneath. I don’t know about you but that is such a delicious concept it makes me want ten thousand copies.

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

In Wicked Fox, Miyoung is a gumiho, a fox-spirit that devours the energy of men to feed.

She has laid low according to her mother’s instructions all her life, until the day she saves a human boy from a goblin attack and loses her soul in the process. As romance blossoms and danger lurks in the backdrop, Miyoung has to grapple with what she is willing to give up to get her soul back and what she is willing to do as a gumiho.

Sure, her devouring of men makes her a little dangerous, but this is one monster I’d love to hang out with. If you want teen girls with bite, look no further than this gorgeous book.

All These Monsters by Amy Tintera

It’s right in the title, after all!

All These Monsters follows Clara, who has left her abusive father to join a team of fighters who chase after the “scrabs:” monsters that are currently decimating Europe.

These are monsters that will kill with no hesitation, but as the tagline says “the true monsters are the ones you least expect…”

Amy Tintera also wrote one of my all-time favorite duologies with Reboot and Rebel, which features a perfect soldier that one might also see as a little unfeeling and monstrous.

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

In Sorcery of Thorns, the Great Libraries are the storing places of books that are “alive,” many of them being magical grimoires which will transform into monsters if damaged.

When a series of sabotage ripples through the Great Libraries, Elisabeth investigates the conspiracy to find something much more… monstrous at work, far more severe than simple book creatures.

This is a fantasy with such a unique world, and I love it with absolute envy because I wish our world had the Great Libraries.

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

I couldn’t make a list about monsters in YA without mentioning Prince Cardan, given his wickedly monstrous personality.

In the finale to the Folk of the Air trilogy, The Queen of Nothing, a dormant curse is unleashed and monstrosity descends onto Elfhame in the most literal sense too, forcing Jude to make a decision between love and ambition.

Ideas of monstrosity truly come together with a bow of perfection in this book, from metaphorical questions of monstrous cruelty to physical expressions of monstrous forms.

dark. Next. Why you need to read Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series

Of course, there are plenty more monsters lurking in YA, given how much we love some good ol’ destruction.

As for a monster that will inflict some high-intensity damage on 1920s Shanghai while a blood feud is also running the city red, These Violent Delights will be on shelves November 17th!