Posted in beautiful monster, Book Griffyn, depression, eating disorders, grief, The Tales Compendium

Beautiful Monster


Beautiful Monster was released in May this year. It was picked up by Australian Standing Order- so that means the first print run is almost sold out! Very happy to attract their attention, although they did say that beautiful monster should win This Year’s Ugliest Cover Award!!!


I think it is a beautiful cover- what do you think?

Here are some reviews of it so far:

“Tess hears screeching brakes.

A bang.

The soft whump Brodies body makes as it hits the ground.”

How often does a death in the family result in the death of a family?

Beautiful Monster-Kate McCaffrey is an unflinching and heartbreaking portrait of a teenage girl left to cope alone with her grief and guilt over the death of her little brother. As her mother drowns in her bereavement and her father struggles to maintain a sense of equilibrium for them all, Tess stands bewildered, lost and alone.

Tess has no choice but to turn to the one person who loves her, the one person who tells her like it is, the only person she can trust. Ned. Except Ned is the insidious voice of her guilt and self loathing. Ned is the sly whisper in the dark that she needs to do better, be better, try harder. Ned is the silky voice leading Tess into a personal hell where her desperate grasping at perfection soon sees her trapped in a downward spiral resulting in an eating disorder and a near brush with death herself. Far from glamorising anorexia, Beautiful Monster illustrates just how seductive a cycle an eating disorder can become.

Beautiful Monster also begged a painful question for me as a parent. In the face of the enormous and (I hope to only imagine) unbearable, anguish that comes with the loss of a child, where does the parent end and the person begin? Tess so desperately needs her mother, yet her mother is too engulfed in her own grief to see that she has a surviving child. A child who needs her. A grief she experiences because she is a mother. She was Brodie’s mother too.

And so Beautiful Monster becomes a study not simply of an eating disorder, but of a family mourning the loss of one of its own. A mother struggling to surface from the murky depths of depression and near madness. A father valiantly trying to be a husband, a mother and a carer. And a girl struggling to survive beyond the shadow of her brother’s death and ultimately her own failure to save him.

I live in awe of Kate McCaffrey. Truly I do. Her first book Destroying Avalon,  quite literally destroyed me. Few authors are able to capture a teenage voice as convincingly and inexorably as Kate McCaffrey.

More than once I found myself needing to put this novel down and remind myself to breathe. Beautiful Monster is one of those rare novels that will leave you feeling like you have been punched in the gut, not once but twice. I have no doubt it will take your breath away.

Thanks to The Book Gryffin


It only takes a few blood-stained seconds for Tessa’s life to change forever. She wants her old life back. She wants her mum and dad the way they were. She wants her brother.

If it wasn’t for Ned, she’d be all alone. He’s her greatest support and staunchest ally. He’s privy to her deepest secrets, comforts her at night when she cries, holds her and makes her feel loved – when it feels like everyone else has gone. And he knows how to make things okay again. If Tessa can only be perfect, things will get better. The perfect daughter, the perfect marks, the perfect body. But there is a fine line between being in control and being controlled.

Wow where do I start?

Always tackling the important topics for young adults such as cyber-bullying (Destroying Avalon) and drugs use (In Ecstasy), Kate McCaffrey has done it again with Beautiful Monster, focusing on a young girl struggling through her teenage years who has developed an eating disorder following the devastating death of her younger brother.

Beautiful Monster not only deals with the primary issue of body image and eating disorders but also the grief of losing a loved one. As her parents suffer with their own pain, Tessa manages to slip through the cracks, hiding her own pain as she strives to reach her goal weight.

Told in three parts, two years separating each, we accompany Tess as she loses her brother, endeavours to be perfect and keep control over all aspects of her life, copes with her parents, hides her illness, suffers denial and isolates herself from her friends. Then, as her her secret is discovered, we see the aftermath of her treatment and the possibility of a relapse as old foes once again come to light.

Just like her previous books, Beautiful Monster is something every teenage girl should read.