Why does everything have to be so complicated? Why? Monsters! That’s Why! They stick their scungy little noses into everything. Twelve-year-old Sam learns this lesson the hard way. His fact-finding mission about Monsters starts off with the best of intentions. He just wants to help his older brother, Ben.

After a terrible accident awakens his own Monster, Sam’s behaviour starts causing problems with everyone, including the girl he loves. He discovers the family secret that caused Ben’s downward spiral and realizes that someone else also has a Monster. And the hideous beast did something really bad.

If Sam is to get through this mess, he needs to find a way to make friends with his Monster before the ravenous beast turns around and swallows him whole.



My father died by suicide when I was thirteen. Because my family never spoke about the issues leading up to and resulting from this devastating event, we suffered a great deal. My goal is to give children and parents a language they can understand, where they feel comfortable talking about subjects and emotions that all too often get buried.

Growing up amidst dysfunction, it is difficult to ascertain one’s sense of normal. What might seem like a realistic topic of discussion to me, might come across as shocking to others. Because I knew my normalcy pendulum had swung well-beyond its equilibrium, part of my journey included input from young readers and parents to make sure I had balanced my thematic material appropriately for my target audience. Here is what they said: “This book could help save a life.” “This book was so good, I couldn’t put it down.” “This book has so many issues we experience in daily life and you’ve hit the nail on the head with all of them.” “I just LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book …It literally made me laugh and cry.”

I am offering this author statement because I want readers to be aware of possible triggering content. While telling this story through the lens of an innocent, wildly imaginative twelve-year-old helps to soften the impact of some of my challenging topics, when dealing with mental health, suicide, and family dysfunction, there is only so much softening one can do before the story begins to feel disingenuous.

Thank you for taking the time to read this statement. If you continue to venture forth, I do hope you enjoy my story. For those of you who feel they (or their child) may not be ready, I fully understand. When it comes to mental health issues, no one should be forced to confront topics or stories until they are ready. My book will be here for when that day comes.


Themes include: mental health, suicide, animal death, and family dysfunction.



An urgent, unflinching YA novel about the ‘monsters’ of depression and family dysfunction.” —Booklife Editor’s Pick

Equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful. . . .The monster motif is ingenious: it allows for a way to talk about mental health in its entirety rather than just in terms of one manifestation, like depression or anxiety.” —Foreword Reviews (5 Stars)

★ “Utterly engaging and rewarding. . . .Rostirolla balances evoking readers’ sympathies with avoiding maudlin emotions, successfully turning a novel about stark and painful topics into an enjoyable read.” —Kirkus Reviews

Sam is a masterful narrator, insightful and un-selfconscious. Some lines impress with their visual simplicity, others with their wit.” —IndieReader (5 Stars)

“. . .a compelling novel that is gripping from beginning to end. . . . Highly recommended.” —Midwest Book Reviews

AMAZING! A must read for MS kids. Highly Recommending.”—Jessica Washington, School Librarian

A wonderful, timely & ingenious novel depicting mental health issues & family dynamics, metaphorically highlighted in the guise of ‘Monsters’ residing and needing to be ‘tamed.’ ” —Luis Arabit, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy San Jose State University

A spectacular look into the mental woes that today’s adolescents face on a daily basis.” —Thomas O’Flaherty, Studio Teacher

An amazing book that everyone can benefit from.” —Ginny Null, R.S. Kellis High School Library

This book can make a real difference in someone’s life and I love that it gives them language to use.” —Sarah Katin, Writer/Executive Producer

“. . .this novel defies and resists and withstands the relentless onslaught of what life is like with monsters, and ultimately prevails as an uplifting story of love and family. . . . powerful book with a compelling message.” —Goodreads Reviewer



The moment Dad picks up the phone, a sickening feeling races through my stomach, like I know something bad is going to happen. Kind of like in a scary movie, when someone does something they shouldn’t do, and that wrong decision sets off a chain of events that may seem unrelated, but really they’re connected by a Monster that’s hiding in the dark, slowly scratching at the wall, waiting to attack.

We have a Monster. I can feel it gnawing away at my family. I don’t think Dad knows about the Monster. If he did, he wouldn’t be making this call. He would’ve taken Lambert out the back and shot him. Made Abby understand this is a working farm, not a playground for little girls and their lambs. Lambert shouldn’t even have a name. He’s livestock. Not a pet.

In normal times, Dad’s call would be fine. A lamb gets sick; you call the vet. But these aren’t normal times. Did I mention the Monster? It’s been growing stronger these past few months. I’m pretty sure the drought has something to do with it. Monsters seem to feed off stressful times. And with the stress in our house teetering on explosive, the smallest thing—like helping a sick lamb—is certain to set it off.

I probably should try to stop Dad, but it’s too late now. He’s hung up the phone. The wrong decision has been made. The chain of events has started. I’m not sure how this will end. I just know it’s not going to be good.

Category: SKU: dt-004