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A Taste for Monsters

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,029 ratings  ·  474 reviews
Fear the living more than the dead.

It’s London 1888, and Jack the Ripper is terrorizing the people of the city. Evelyn, a young woman disfigured by her dangerous work in a matchstick factory, who has nowhere to go, does not know what to make of her new position as a maid to the Elephant Man in the London Hospital. Evelyn wants to be locked away from the world, like he is,
Hardcover, 343 pages
Published September 27th 2016 by Scholastic Press
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Alicia It's because this is a new genre for him. This is his first YA novel, as well as his first horror novel. His other novels (including Icefall) are cons…moreIt's because this is a new genre for him. This is his first YA novel, as well as his first horror novel. His other novels (including Icefall) are considered MG.(less)
Esther Hungerford this story is not the most violent of books- there are some pretty gruesome depictions of Ripper's victims, murder (obviously), ghosts, and an attempt…morethis story is not the most violent of books- there are some pretty gruesome depictions of Ripper's victims, murder (obviously), ghosts, and an attempted rape. so yeeah... I'd say it's like PG but your choice.(less)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,029 ratings  ·  474 reviews

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Cristina Monica
What a touching story.

I must say I find it rather unfair to have to leave the characters so soon. I grew quite fond of Evelyn and Mr. Merrick… more than I expected I would.

The story is not an unfamiliar one but there is imagination in it. It’s 1888 and Jack the Ripper is terrorizing London. The murders are done especially close to the hospital where Evelyn attends to the Elephant Man, as she is his maid.

The concept reminded me very slightly of the last book I have read inspired by Jack the Rippe
Wendy Darling
4.5 stars Love love love love love.

Fact and fiction are woven together in the infamous Whitechapel murders, ghosts, and the peculiar case of London Hospital's The Elephant Man, all from the perspective of a girl who has been severely disfigured by phosphorous necrosis. This story doesn't shy away from the gruesome nature of the crimes nor the rough realities faced by a woman without position, or a man who was put on display as a sideshow attraction. And yet it is imbued with a transcendent awar
Rating a 4.5

What a delightfully, creepy Halloween read. Jack the Ripper, the Elephant Man, the ghosts of 'the Rippers' victims haunting a hospital grounds. I loved this book. I saw a blurb on the book and it sounded intriguing so I looked for it at my library. I was shocked they only had the audio version - no print version, it's still on order. Lucky for me, I went with the audio.

Evelyn is a young woman who is horribly disfigured from her work in a match factory. She seeks recluse in a hospit
Elle (TheBookishActress)
3.5 stars. There's a lot to love about this book, but there are one or two issues here that really took away from my desire to love this.

It's 1888, era of both Jack the Ripper and Joseph Merrick, known to history as the Elephant Man. Somehow, these two elements are blended together and the blend actually works. Evelyn is disfigured from working at a phosphorus plant, and she acquires a job working with Merrick as his maid.

This book focuses on the friendship between Evelyn and Merrick, which wa
Amy Sturgis
I had high hopes for this novel, but I was unprepared for how thoroughly it won me over. I was entranced.

As a historian, I'm very interested in the Whitechapel murders and their context in the East End of London, and the careful research in evidence in A Taste for Monsters satisfied me deeply. I've walked in the characters' footsteps at London Hospital, Spitalfields, and Whitechapel, and I delighted in the sharp detail Kirby brought to the story.

But there's so much more. So many times in histori
This one was very compelling, and quite addictive too. I really liked it. In fact, it's a definite favorite. So well told. Interesting, and a slightly eerie. It's like a beloved story, you haven't actually heard before. Well known and foreign at the same time. Wonderful, really. I literally couldn't bring myself to put it down.

I very much recommend it.
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
i'm so sad that i won't be able to spend more time with these characters. i grew to love evelyn and mr merrick and i'm sad that i won't be seeing them anymore. this was a thrilling story about mystery and ghosts that had me captivated. the ending did feel a little rushed to me and everything resolved rather quickly. i feel that it would have been nice to have 50 more pages and slow the ending down a bit. otherwise, i enjoyed the story and the characters and i had a lot of fun with it :)
SUSAN   *Nevertheless,she persisted*
This book was terrific. It was new and fresh. A clever story set in Victorian England that was atmospheric and at times,bone chilling.The perfect fall/Halloween read. Most enjoyable and highly recommended.
A very nice take on Jack the Ripper and Elephant Man with a good female main character.

What a pleasant surprise! I quite enjoyed the writing and found the story dense enough to make it interesting both at a urban fantasy level and as historical fiction. Evelyn was likable and behaved in a realistic way, it was really nice to follow her while she struggled with her appearance and her relationships with Elephant Man and other characters. She was also brave and I enjoyed to discover the various gho
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
I received an ARC at a writing event.

Do you ever just want to hug a book after you finish? Or just start it all over again because you don't want the story to end? Or start crying in the first chapter? Well this book did all of that for me.
The mystery is great and the historical setting pitch perfect. But what really got and held my attention were the characters. They are all, even the side characters, so alive and vibrant and complex. More than that I learned things from them and about myself
Creepy book. I have always been a little obsessed with stories about Jack The Ripper aka Leather Apron. This seems to tell more of his victims who haunt Evenly Fallows and Mr. Merrick a Elephant Man and a woman who has a scar with her jaw. The victims come visit them and Mrs. FALLOWS decides she needs to save Mr.Merrick who becomes deathly ill shortly after the arrival of the third ghost. She sets out in hopes of finding anything to help these woman move on. She succeeds in her mission until the ...more
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I was drawn to this story by the mention of Jack the Ripper, I definitely stayed for the characters. It's more of a personal story than it is a crime-solving mystery and the plot line concerning the killer was actually the weakest part of the novel and the conclusion didn't make any sense to me. But I loved how detailed and authentic the surroundings felt, I loved the main character, Evelyn, and her friendship with Mr Merrick. So I enjoyed this book a lot, it just could've been done even b ...more
Richard Cardenas
2.5 STARS!!!

I was really excited to read this because I love stories about Jack the Ripper and the Victorian Era. But I also have never read anything about Joseph Merrick (The Elephant Man) before. Though I enjoyed this to an extent, it was very slow, almost too slow at times. The whole mystery of who Jack the Ripper is or in this book "The Leather Apron" who he was known as before JTR was so anti-climatic that I actually sighed with disappointment while reading the reveal. I'd recommend Stalkin
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 STARS....Okay, this story has both Jack the Ripper and The Elephant Man in it. Evelyn is trying to hide from the world and gets a job as a maid for Mr. Merrick (The Elephant Man). They become friends and when killings start happening, the ghosts of the women come visit them. Evelyn and Mr. Merrick try to figure out how to help the ghosts. As more ghosts come though, it seems they are sucking the life out of Mr. Merrick. Even though Evelyn doesn't want to go out into London, she goes out to t ...more
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
In 1888, seventeen year old Evelyn works as a maid to Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, in London Hospital. Having been disfigured by the phosphorus used in her former matchstick factory job, she knows how Joseph feels and a friendship develops between them.

When Jack the Ripper begins terrorizing London, Evelyn and Joseph are haunted nightly by the ghosts of his victims. Joseph's health is dangerously affected by this, and Evelyn must find a way to stop the hauntings and give these victims peace
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, arc, recommended-by-bj
This was so good and I could hardly wait to dive back in to find out what would happen next! The mixture of real people and setting to tell what is ultimately Evelyn's story was very clever! I would highly recommend this and have already passed my copy on to my roommate.
Kerry *Pale Daughter*
*4 stars*
Matthew J. Kirby certainly does his homework. The research that went into writing this wonderful novel, set in Victorian London, was impeccable, right down to the streets, landmarks and dialogue. I learned about "phossy jaw," a horrific disfigurement suffered by many workers who were exposed to white phosphorus in the matchstick factories of that time, and as far as I could tell the facts about Joseph Merrick and Jack the Ripper were spot on.

I adored the two main characters
*Joseph Merr
Michelle Stimpson
Well. That was unexpected. I typically don't like horror - even kid horror, but this is fascinating. And sent me to the internet to research the period and the characters. This was nearly a five star book for me, if it hadn't been for one detail, but overall an intensely good read.
Ben Sanders
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
A quick (spoiler free) summary is that the story follows Miss Evelynn Fallow mostly, and the second most occurring character is John Merrick. It takes place in 1888 during the Jack the Ripper Murders, at the time called Leather Apron. Leather Aprons victims haunt Mr. Merrick and he and Miss Fallow attempt to put the souls at rest. Nothing spoilery there, I promise. :)

Three Good Things.
1) The timeliness of the novel.
Everything from description to the speech, including slang, was timed to the prop
A Taste for Monsters is filled with fascinating subjects - Jack the Ripper and his victims, The Elephant Man, and the devastating results of phosphorus necrosis (don’t Google Image it unless you want to vomit). Evelyn’s life has been tragic. After becoming orphaned, she worked at a matchstick factory where she was stricken with phosphorus necrosis as a result of handling white phosphorous. Her jawbone has deteriorated, she is in frequent pain, and her face is permanently disfigured. Desperate to ...more
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This had horror/ghosts/mystery/friendship/kindness. I was quite surprised by all it had to offer. Setting is London in 1888. The infamous Elephant Man is hiding away his days in a hospital. Evelyn (a young girl disfigured from white phosphorus poisoning) attempts to hide away as well; by taking up position as a maid for the elephant man. Meanwhile a murderer is terrorizing the city and the victims come to haunt. This was a well written story, easy to read. It falls in the YA genre- although I fe ...more
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting book. My library did a "blind date with a book" and this is the one I unwrapped. Not one I would have chosen on my own, as the topic was a bit out of my preference. It was well-written and intriguing, though, and once I began, I wanted to find out the end.
Not my favorite book ever, but it wasn't a waste of time. I enjoyed the historical aspect, too.
Kayleigh  Sparrow
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
My first 5 star book of the year!
Such a beautiful but chilling tale.
And fell in love with Joseph Merrick (the elephant man) what a kind soul and a true gentleman.
I learnt a lot of interesting facts reading this book and I enjoyed every page.
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pretty good but felt way too rushed at the end.
3.5 stars

Evelyn heads to a hospital in the East End of London not long before the Jack the Ripper killings begin. She is hoping to find employment as a nurse; instead, she is offered a position is a maid to Joseph Merrick, who resides at the hospital. Merrick is more well-known as “the Elephant Man”. Once the Ripper killings begin, Evelyn must help Mr. Merrick deal with the ghosts that are showing up nightly.

I enjoyed this. It’s YA, and I would have liked to have an author’s note. It seems to m
C.J. Milbrandt
A young woman with phossy jaw applies to a London hospital, hoping to be trained as a nurse, only to find herself assigned to Mr. Joseph Merrick as a maid. He's the Elephant Man. One badly scarred, one famously deformed. And both haunted by the ghosts of the women killed by the serial murderer Jack the Ripper.

Tense and fascinating, with moments of peace amidst the tragedy. Liberally dotted with era-specific slang and insults. Glimpses of terrible poverty and degradation. The ghosts made me wish
Chris Webber
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Loved the mishmash of fiction and fact! It isn't every day you blend the Elephant Man with the Jack the Ripper in an adventurous murder mystery. The characters are well developed and my affinity for Evelyn grew throughout the book.
Jennifer Somers
Nov 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This genre is not for me, but I think think it was well written and fun for a ghost story. I did enjoy the setting of London during this truly scary time. Perfect Halloween read.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
A really good "retelling" of Jack the Ripper.
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Play Book Tag: A Taste for Monsters / Matthew J. Kirby. 3.5 stars 3 12 May 07, 2019 04:58PM  

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Matthew Kirby was born in Utah, and grew up in Maryland, California, and Hawaii. As an undergraduate he majored in history, and then went on to pursue an M.S. in school psychology. For ten months out of the year he works with students, and during the rest of the year he writes. He and his wife currently live in northern Utah.

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