Monstrous Beauty

Elizabeth Fama; Read by Katherine Kellgren

Macmillan Young Listeners

Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences. Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean - but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.


Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
THE WIND WHIPPED Hester’s hair around her face. She shoved it behind her ears and closed her eyes for a second, taking a deep breath of sea air—faintly like salt, faintly like cucumbers. The ocean filled her with joy and longing, all at once. It was strangely, achingly bittersweet.
She had gone on dozens of Captain Dave whale-watch adventures over the last seventeen years: her best friend’s father was Captain Dave Angeln himself, and her own dad—a researcher at Woods Hole—often used the trips to collect data and observe mammalian



  • Monstrous Beauty - Audiobook excerpt

    Listen to an excerpt from the audiobook edition of Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama.



Praise for Monstrous Beauty

A 2013 Odyssey Award Honor Book for the “Best Audiobooks for Children and Young Adults”

“A riveting tale… Kelgreen provides first rate narration.” – School Library Journal


“Narrator Katherine Kellgren smoothly moves between the 1870s and current time. Her talent with accents is put to good use as she portrays folks of various English backgrounds and helps the listener keep track of each time period.” – AudioFile Magazine


Praise for the print edition of Monstrous Beauty:

"Fama does not shy away from the big issues: love, death, longing, lust, fear, and revenge all play out through her complex and multidimensional characters.”--Booklist

“Monstrous Beauty packs a serious, sexy wallop.”--Bookpage

"Fama (Overboard, 2002) delivers a beautifully written, romantic ghost story with an artful construction that incorporates a murder mystery and detailed historical fiction.”--BCCB

“History buffs, fantasy lovers, and mystery fans will all find something to please them in this engrossing story…”--School Library Journal

"horror and humanity are adroitly handled…”--Publishers Weekly
"...this stylish fantasy mesmerizes.”--Kirkus

In the Press

MONSTROUS BEAUTY by Elizabeth Fama | Kirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of MONSTROUS BEAUTY . A mermaid's attraction to a man begets both love and evil in the waters off Plymouth, Mass., where these exotic creatures have always lived and will live forever.
- Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Elizabeth Fama; Read by Katherine Kellgren

  • Elizabeth Fama is the author of Overboard, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, which appeared on five state lists. She lives with her family in Chicago, Illinois.
  • Elizabeth Fama
  • Katherine Kellgren



Discussion Guide


Available Formats and Book Details

Monstrous Beauty

Elizabeth Fama; Read by Katherine Kellgren

Odyssey Honor Audiobook