Between Monsters and Marvels (Hardcover)

Between Monsters and Marvels By Alysa Wishingrad Cover Image
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A standalone high-stakes middle grade fantasy by Alysa Wishingrad, author of the Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selection The Verdigris Pawn.

Monsters are still lurking on Barrow’s Bay.

Dare Coates is sure of it. No drifter or ruffian could have killed her father, the Captain of the Guard, while he was on patrol. But everyone insists that monsters have been gone for years now. Dare’s mother. Her classmates. Even the governor, who swiftly marries her mother just months after her father’s death.

Dare’s suspicions grow even stronger when the governor suddenly ships her off to the mainland, away from any hope of uncovering the truth about her father’s death.

Or so she thinks. Soon Dare finds solid proof that monsters still exist and she starts to question everything she’s always known. Was her father who she thought he was? Who can she trust? Where is the line between good and evil?

The truth hides behind danger and deception. But with the help of an unlikely crew of cohorts and a stray beastie, nothing can stop Dare from finding out what happened to her father and exposing who the real monsters are.

Perfect for fans of Ellen Oh’s Spirit Hunters and Lauren Oliver’s The Magnificent Monsters of Cedar Street.  

About the Author

Alysa Wishingrad writes fantastical stories for young readers, tales that ask: Is the truth really true? Her favorite stories are those that meld the historical with the fantastic and that find ways to shine a light on both the things that divide and unite us all. The Verdigris Pawn, a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, was her debut novel. Alysa lives in the Hudson Valley with her family and two demanding rescue dogs. You can find her at or on Twitter at @awishingrad or Instagram at @alysawishingradwrites.

Praise For…

Parts of the book are like an extended bestiary, others a coping manual for grief. The detailed quasi-Dickensian setting and memorable characters give Wishingrad’s complex world the guardrails it needs to succeed. — School Library Journal (starred review)

"Wishingrad (The Verdigris Pawn) tackles themes of exploitation, perception, reality, and trust in this high-stakes tale. An engaging and optimistic exploration of how power and privilege can be wielded for both good and bad, as observed by one take-charge heroine who seeks to define her place in the world."
Publishers Weekly

A twisty, crafty, creepy tale with a wonderfully warm heart. — Jacqueline West, award-winning author of Long Lost

Dare has an outwardly cantankerous nature that hides a desire for acceptance. This works to endear her to readers even as her thorny exterior provides entertainment. Dare’s true nature reveals itself piece by piece, like the clues dropped in every so often that help expand the worldbuilding as well as the moral conundrums Dare becomes embroiled in. Questions of what constitutes a monster and who decides what’s true add depth to an already feisty caper.A quirky examination of true monstrousness with a memorable protagonist.  — Kirkus Reviews

In a world abound with monsters, a spiky, independent girl named Dare dares to unearth the truth about her father’s death. At once a mystery, a fantasy, and a good, old-fashioned yarn, BETWEEN MONSTERS AND MARVELS will keep kids turning the pages until the last secret—and the most dangerous monsters of all—are revealed. — Laura Ruby, National Book Award Finalist and Author of the York Series

"A stunningly original fantasy. A richly built world of intrigue and illusion. Alysa Wishingrad's brilliant Dare is an entirely unique protagonist who braves deceptions at every turn as she tries to distinguish the monstrous from the marvelous.” — Kate Albus, award-winning author of A Place to Hang the Moon

"Enriched by incredible world-building and extraordinary creatures, this riveting book kept me turning pages way past my bedtime and resentful of anything that distracted from reading.” — Megan E. Freeman, award-winning author of Alone

"A pitch-perfect fantasy, a book to savor, with a new kind of tough girl hero. Dare is unafraid to be different, and uses her sharp edges to cut through the lies of history and power. She and the inventive creatures that fill this twisty, engaging narrative will make it a classroom favorite.” — Diane Magras, author of Secret of the Shadow Beasts

"I do not usually read fantasy books, but I think Alysa Wishingrad may have changed my thinking on this after reading Between Monsters and Marvels! I completely loved this story!"  — Cindy Schwind, EDU and #BookPosse Member

I adored this fantastical tale of Dare, a girl whose drive and determination match her name. She struggles to uncover the truth of her beloved father’s life and death, the allegedly long gone monsters, the definitely present marvels and the frustrating, gray and dangerous nuance in between. Like her debut, The Verdigris Pawn, Wishingrad again takes us through a journey of friendship and trust, class and power, and the stakes of life or death. Layered action will keep readers turning the pages as Dare navigates the world in between, while remaining true to herself. — Nicole D. Collier, Author of The Many Fortunes of Maya and Just Right Jillian

BETWEEN MONSTERS AND MARVELS is the best kind of story, one that leaves you aching to be a better human. And nobody writes twists and turns better than Alysa Wishingrad, who takes readers on an unforgettable journey alongside Dare, a character who is as unique as she is clever. If you start this book, be prepared to have a lot of trouble putting it down! — George Jreije, author of the Shad Hadid series

Dare’s world is full of magic and theater and life and makes you feel like you’re walking right down the street with her and her wonderful companions. (Nell and Beastie are an absolute delight!) Between Monsters and Marvels is a truly exquisite MG fantasy and one of my favorite reads of the year. Another wonderful book from Alysa Wishingrad. Highly recommend! — Isi Hendrix, Author Adia Kebara and the Circle of the Shamans

A rich fantasy setting akin to a magical Victorian London. . . starkly divided by class, rife with crime, the filth of industrialization, and - whether people want to admit it or not - monsters. Colorful characters and genuine friendships make the mystery's darker themes easier to swallow as Dare confronts what actually makes something a monster. Hand to fans of Thomas Taylor's Eerie-on-Sea series.   — Booklist

A four-star book. Alysa Wishingrad is one to watch.   — Independent (UK)

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063244870
ISBN-10: 006324487X
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: September 12th, 2023
Pages: 400
Language: English