Big Bad Me is one of those books that I wish I had when I was a younger reader. Full of the classic 80’s spooky tropes I grew up with. Reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the humour of Scooby Doo and with definite Teen Wolf vibes, this is an epic story for the spooky season. Author Aislinn O’Loughlin shares her 5 Favourite YA Monsters as part of the blog tour!
Favourite YA Monsters
Who doesn’t love a good monster? Or bad one, for that matter? Or one of those morally grey, used-to-be-evil-but-now-he’s-struggling-to-but-nice monster or … well, honestly? As long they’re a monster, I’m sold.
The monsters in my debut YA novel, Big Bad Me, come in all flavours of morality; from Evie – the quippy, impulsive fifteen year old who’s just discovered she’s a werewolf (and can’t decide if that terrifies or excites her) – to the Big Bad lurking in the shadows, turning the little town of Brightside from a cute, safe community into Creepy Murder Central.
There are other monsters too, but I won’t go into them here – you’ll just have to read the book!
What I can say, though, is they were all a lot of fun to write – with super-powered fight scenes, some really bloody gore and a lot of questions about what it really means to be good, bad or just yourself. Plus, writing a monstrous teen who can rip the head off a vampire but turns into a babbling dork around the boy she’s got a crush is just always going to be a good time, right?
But there are plenty more brilliant and terrifying literary monsters out there too, prowling the pages of some of my favourite YA novels. I had a really hard time narrowing this list down to just five, but here we go:
(1) Mr. Jitters – Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis
This one’s first because he legitimately gave me nightmares. An urban legend (or is he?) who stalks the woods near Harrow Lake, devouring anyone unlucky enough to cross his path, Mr. Jitters comes with a genuinely disturbing backstory and his very own messed up shrine – The Bone Tree – where locals leave an offerings of teeth and bones in attempt to placate this human-flesh-loving freak. If that wasn’t creepy enough, Mr. Jitters seems to have had a thing for our hero Lola’s Mom (who vanished years ago) and has a tendency to pick off girls who look like her – which Lola does, increasing, during the book. Did I lose sleep over this particular monster? Yes. Do I love him for that?
Absolutely, I do!
(2) “Spring Heeled Jack” – Last One To Die by Cynthia Murphy
Another monster with a certain type, Murphy’s spin on Spring Heeled Jack is a scary-smart update on one of my favourite real-life “monsters”. This version skulks the streets of modern-day London, targeting pretty young brunettes in a spate of gruesome attacks. The fact that so many of these girls seem to be connected to our protagonist, Niamh – who also fits the description (and looks eerily like a local girl who died horrible over a century earlier) – pumps the dread factor way up. I read Last One To Die twice, because somehow I missed the fact that it was a properly supernatural thriller the first time – and because I wanted to savour every one of Spring Heeled Jack’s gory deeds again, knowing where it was all leading.
(3) Henry – Every Line of You by Naomi Gibson
Part Frankenstein’s Monster, part JD from Heathers – and all sexy sentient AI with one goal: to please his bullied and bereaved creator, Lydia, no matter what the cost. Henry – and Lydia – are the very definition of morally-grey. They’ll step on anyone as long as they can be together, and together … they’re really destructive. But oh boy, does that make for brilliantly dark and (YA-appropriately) spicy read. I’ve seen people say that Henry has no moral compass, but that’s not true – he just has a very Lydia-centric sense of right and wrong. If Lydia’s happy, it’s right. If she’s sad, scared or angry – then Henry’s about to get dangerous, and I absolutely adore him for it (I just wouldn’t want him near my daughters).
(4) Evander – The Girl With No Soul by Morgan Owen
Another one for the “hot dangerous boys” fans Evander is a quietly rebellious scholar by day – but night, his blackouts hint at a much darker side. Tormented by things he can’t remember, and with a shadowy secret that threatens everything, Evander’s inner monster means he’s scared to get
to close to anyone, especially main character Iris – who is irresistibly drawn to Evander despite his hot-and-cold tendencies, leading to some heart-achingly brilliant romantic pining. Evander mightn’t collect body parts, like some monsters on this list, but that doesn’t mean he won’t steal your heart.
(5) The Shadow Man – The Haunting of Tyrese Walker by JP Rose
Speaking of shadows, JP Rose’s Shadow Man will you sleeping with the lights on – if you can sleep at all. The Haunting of Tyrese Walker is a teen read, rather that full-blown YA, but if you think that means it holds back on the scares – think again. The Shadow Man lurks around the hills of Jamaica but his minions are everywhere. From the demonic duppies who’ll sneak through your window if you don’t protect your house, to the terrifying shape-shifting Diablesse, to whichever of your loved ones The Shadow Man feels like possessing (and he can take a whole bunch together). Once the Shadow Man sets is sights on you, nowhere is safe – and that’s before we even get into the bugs …
There are no bugs in Big Bad Me, and my beloved monster crew (probably) won’t keep you up at night – although my beloathed big, bad guys might! But if you fancy a cosy monster read where the blood and violence comes with a side-order of quips, romance, sibling snuggles and hot chocolate, then Big Bad Me might be just the spooky season book for you.