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January 30 , 2008

They Suck, They Bite, They Eat, They Kill

The Psychological Meaning of Supernatural Monsters in Young Adult Fiction


Teen readers have always been fascinated by monsters, but lately it seems like every other young adult (YA) book is about vampires, zombies, or werewolves. These works are controversial, since they look at aspects of life and human nature that adults prefer to keep hidden from teenagers. But this is also why they are so important: They provide a literal example of how ignoring life’s hazards won’t make them go away and demonstrate that ignorance of danger puts one at greater risk.

In They Suck, They Bite, They Eat, They Kill: The Psychological Meaning ofSupernatural Monsters in Young Adult Fiction Joni Bodart examines six different monsters—vampires, shapeshifters, zombies, unicorns, angels, and demons—in YA literature. Bodart first discusses the meaning of these monsters in cultures all over the world. Subsequent chapters explore their history and most important incarnations, comparing the same kind of creatures featured in different titles. This volume also contains interviews with authors who provide additional insight and information, and the bibliography includes a comprehensive list of titles featuring the various monsters.

Analyzing the most important and well-written series and titles for teens, They Suck, They Bite, They Eat, They Kill will be useful for parents, teachers, and anyone else hoping to understand why teens want to read books in this genre and what some of the benefits of reading them might be.
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