The Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon

The Lovereading4Kids comment

May 2016 Book of the Month Francesca Simon has chosen a singular heroine for her first novel for teenagers. Hel is Queen of the Norse underworld, but never has the eternal teenage cry, ‘It’s not fair’ been more justified. Offspring of giants and gods, she is despised by all; human to the waist, she’s a ‘corpse baby’ - her legs are dangling and gangrenous at birth. Despatched to the Underworld, harbinger of Asgard’s downfall, she nonetheless retains her sharp tongue, her cynicism, her sense of humour and that’s what makes the book so interesting: who wouldn’t want to spend time in this teenager’s company as she works out how to make the best of her situation, unwisely falls in love and reluctantly accepts her fate. It’s an extraordinary novel, dark and grim, but Hel’s energy and vitality will keep readers on her side. ~ Andrea Reece


The Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon

A stunning, operatic, epic drama, like no other. Meet Hel, an ordinary teenager - and goddess of the Underworld. Why is life so unfair? Hel tries to make the best of it, creating gleaming halls in her dark kingdom and welcoming the dead who she is forced to host for eternity. Until eternity itself is threatened. Francesca's first and wonderful foray into teen.

About the Author

Francesca Simon

Francesca Simon was born in St Louis, Missouri, grew up in California, and attended both Yale and Oxford Universities, where she specialised in Medieval Studies.

If you'd like to know a bit more about Horrid Henry click here to read a letter from the author.

Author photo © Francesco Guidicini

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Book Info


304 pages
Interest Age: From 12


Francesca Simon
More books by Francesca Simon

Author's Website


Faber & Faber

Publication date

5th May 2016




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