The Monster of Her Age by Danielle Binks
Ellie comes from an acting dynasty: her family home – a huge old Gothic mansion in Hobart – contains at least one of every film industry award (including a couple of Oscars); Errol Flynn was considered to be the family rival; and when her famous actress grandmother, Lottie Lovinger, is rushed to hospital, A-list celebrities from Hollywood and all over the world fly in to attend her bedside vigil.
Ellie loved acting as a child, and it was expected that she would follow in the family footsteps. Up to the age of 11, that was Ellie’s plan too, but then she made her film debut co-starring with her grandmother in a cult horror movie, Blood & Jacaranda. Traumatised by the experience, Ellie distanced herself from her family and hid away in Melbourne. When she hears about Lottie’s stroke, however, Ellie comes back to make peace with her bubbe (grandmother) before it’s too late.
While in Hobart, Ellie meets Riya, a movie buff with a passion for horror and feminism who runs the Friday Night for Final Girls film club – a diverse and accessible club dedicated to the idea that horror is traditionally a feminist genre. Riya helps Ellie see herself for who she is and shows her a way though the swirl of emotions Ellie is feeling. Riya’s friendship is also adding a few other complicated – but nice – feelings into Ellie’s mix.
Danielle Binks has invented a fake Australian film history for The Monster of Her Age and I was hooked. It felt almost dirty wanting to know more about the Lovingers and their family history, like I was a tourist on the bus that drives past their house every three hours, but I loved every second of it. The Monster of Her Age deals with grief, making peace with the past and accepting love when it finds you. Fantastic for readers ages 12+.