Part dark gothic fantasy, part journey into the bizarre, this delicious blending of tall tales and Latin American surrealism will haunt you as you devour it!
"Highly imaginative and powerfully affecting."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
1836, Wisconsin. Catalina lives with her pa and brother in a ramshackle cabin on the edge of the wilderness. Harsh winters have brought the family to the brink of starvation, and Catalina has replaced her poet's soul with an unyielding determination to keep Pa and her brother alive.
When a sudden illness claims Pa, a strange man appears—a man covered in bark, leaves growing from his head, and sap dripping from his eyes. He scoops up her brother and disappears, leaving behind a bird with crimson wings. Catalina can’t let this man—if that’s what he is—have her brother. So, she grabs Pa’s knife and follows the bird.
Along the way, she finds help from a young lumberjack, who has his own reasons for hunting the Man of Sap. As their journey takes them deeper into the woods, they encounter strange beasts and tormented spirits. The more they uncover about the Man of Sap, the more they learn how deeply Catalina’s fate is entwined with his, planted long ago in cursed seeds.
An enchanting mixture of American tall tales and Faustian elements, Before the Devil Knows You’re Here centers a fierce Mexican American poet on a quest to save her brother. Autumn Krause’s vivid, haunting prose and rich symbolism make this a must-read for fans of Maggie Stiefvater and Erin Craig.
A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year!
About the Author
Autumn Krause is the author of the YA novel A DRESS FOR THE WICKED (Harper). She received her MFA from VCFA and currently lives in Orange County, CA with her husband and two children, and can most often be found wearing a black lace dress.
★ "Her prose is descriptive and delicate, her mythical world populated with creatures both intriguing and terrifying. Krause delivers an excellently creepy legend perfect for Halloween reading."—Shelf Awareness, Starred Review
★ "Mesmerizingly told through the eyes of both Catalina and the monster, the book invites readers to travel with characters who are reckoning with greed, fear, and love as they consider what makes a monster—and whether monsters can be redeemed. Highly imaginative and powerfully affecting."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
★ "By tapping into fears both folkloric and biblical, Krause pulls no punches, injecting this atmospheric telling with original and inviting horrors."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Catalina’s emotional growth, including reflections on her maternal Mexican heritage (her mother died years earlier) and identity as a poet, and several surprising plot twists carry this riveting tale to a satisfying conclusion."—The Horn Book
"A lyrical story of greed, generational curses, forgiveness, and self-acceptance, this folkloric tale is a must-read."—School Library Journal
"Readerly teens will appreciate Krause’s twisted take on the folk hero Johnny Appleseed, along with her nods to poisonous apples and Faustian bargains."—The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books
"Rich, lyric prose; eerie monsters and devils; a stake planted in American myth with apple cores and sap. A bizarre and beautiful folktale that will have readers breathless with all its twists and turns." —Andrew Joseph White, New York Times bestselling author of Hell Followed with Us
"Before the Devil Knows You're Here offers a fresh look at American history and folklore, weaving familiar mythology into a fantastical and horror-tinged tale about the deals we make to survive and the scars that never fade." —Erica Waters, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The River Has Teeth
"Lyrical and poetic, Before the Devil Knows You're Here is a hauntingly beautiful dark fairytale of cursed orchards and Faustian bargains, set to ensnare readers until the final lines."—Lyndall Clipstone, critically acclaimed author of Unholy Terrors.
"Deftly blending folklore, poetry, and horror into something wholly original, Before the Devil Knows You're Here immersed me in its world of poisoned apples and deadly bargains. This is a story to savor." —Mara Rutherford, author of The Poison Season