demon catchers of milan

The Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer

Mia’s life is turned upside down when she is possessed by a demon.  She terrorizes her family, throws them across the room, and destroys their home.  Priests try to exorcize the demon, but nothing works until her relatives from Italy arrive and force the demon to flee.  Mia has to return to Milan with them so that she can be protected from future attacks by the demon.  Once there, she is kept inside most of the time unless several of her family are available to escort her outdoors.  Even with their protection, the demon tries to attack her often.  Mia begins to learn Italian, the history of her family, and the strange arts that they practice.  Soon she feels very at home in Milan, but will there ever be a time that she is truly safe there?

Beyer’s book is very well-written.  It has a style that celebrates the historical in Milan, the beauty of the Italian language, and the strength of a close-knit family.  The perspective of Mia is crucial to this, allowing readers a way to see Milan for the first time through her eyes.  Add in the exorcisms and demons, and you have a book that is a dazzling addition to teen lit.

The setting of Milan is as much a part of the story as Mia’s extended family.  It is Italy that is celebrated here.  At the same time though, Mia’s extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins are each written as unique and intriguing characters.  Some are imposing, others motherly, but they all surprise and delight. 

The opening scene of the book with Mia’s possession is written so vividly and with such strength that you know that you are in for a unique and fascinating read.  Happily that stunning opening continues through the entire book.  Appropriate for ages 15-17.

Reviewed from copy received from Egmont.