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The Beast Is an Animal

Cover of The Beast Is an Animal

The Beast Is an Animal

A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.
Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.

These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul.
A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.
Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.

These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul.
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About the Author-
  • Peternelle van Arsdale is a book editor who never thought she'd write a book, until one day she had a glimmer of an idea that became The Beast Is an Animal. She lives in New York City, where she is at work on her second novel. Visit her at PeternelleVanArsdale.com.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 30, 2017
    Alys was only seven when soul eaters killed the adults in the village of Gwenith. She was then taken to nearby Defaid, where she made a life with new parents. It isn’t much of a life, though: when soul eaters attack Defaid, a “great wooden Gate” is built around the village, and the children of Gwenith must guard the Gate through the night. Theirs is a colorless existence, and Alys feels the pull of the dark “fforest” surrounding the village, and the beast that lives there. From the sorrowful opening that introduces the soul eaters, van Arsdale’s lyrical debut spans about eight years, revealing the growing darkness Alys feels inside and the weight of the secret she carries. When Alys is accused of a terrible crime, she’s forced to leave the village and confront her destiny. Atmospheric and immersive, van Arsdale’s eerie fantasy keeps its focus on Alys’s struggle to reconcile who she is with what she wants to be as it builds toward a poignant and satisfying conclusion. Ages 14–up. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House.

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    Margaret K. McElderry Books
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