Someone You Can Build a Nest In (Hardcover)

Someone You Can Build a Nest In By John Wiswell Cover Image
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A Most-Anticipated Book of 2024: LitHub, Polygon, Apple, Goodreads

⭐ "Wiswell raises the bar on the outcast as protagonist . . . the ultimate monster slayer story, if the monster is just a misunderstood creature searching for love.” — Kristi Chadwick, Library Journal (starred review)

Discover this creepy, charming monster-slaying fantasy romance—from the perspective of the monster—by Nebula Award-winning debut author John Wiswell

Shesheshen has made a mistake fatal to all monsters: she's fallen in love.
Shesheshen is a shapeshifter, who happily resides as an amorphous lump at the bottom of a ruined manor. When her rest is interrupted by hunters intent on murdering her, she constructs a body from the remains of past meals: a metal chain for a backbone, borrowed bones for limbs, and a bear trap as an extra mouth.  
However, the hunters chase Shesheshen out of her home and off a cliff. Badly hurt, she’s found and nursed back to health by Homily, a warm-hearted human, who has mistaken Shesheshen as a fellow human. Homily is kind and nurturing and would make an excellent co-parent: an ideal place to lay Shesheshen’s eggs so their young could devour Homily from the inside out. But as they grow close, she realizes humans don’t think about love that way.
Shesheshen hates keeping her identity secret from Homily, but just as she’s about to confess, Homily reveals why she’s in the area: she’s hunting a shapeshifting monster that supposedly cursed her family. Has Shesheshen seen it anywhere?
Eating her girlfriend isn’t an option. Shesheshen didn’t curse anyone, but to give herself and Homily a chance at happiness, she has to figure out why Homily’s twisted family thinks she did. As the hunt for the monster becomes increasingly deadly, Shesheshen must unearth the truth quickly, or soon both of their lives will be at risk.

And the bigger challenge remains: surviving her toxic in-laws long enough to learn to build a life with, rather than in, the love of her life.

About the Author

John Wiswell is a disabled writer who lives where New York keeps all its trees. He won the 2021 Nebula Award for Short Fiction for his story, "Open House on Haunted Hill," and the 2022 Locus Award for Best Novelette for "That Story Isn't The Story." He has also been a finalist for the Hugo Award, British Fantasy Award, and World Fantasy Award. His fiction has appeared in Uncanny Magazine,, the LeVar Burton Reads podcast, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Diabolical Plots, and other fine venues. His debut novel, Someone You Can Build a Nest In, will be published by DAW Books in April 2024. He can be found making too many puns and discussing craft on his Substack,

Praise For…

⭐ "Wiswell raises the bar on the outcast as protagonist . . . the ultimate monster slayer story, if the monster is just a misunderstood creature searching for love.” —Kristi Chadwick, Library Journal (starred review)

⭐ "A romp that’s both bloody and sweet.” —Nicole Brinkley, Bookpage (starred review) 

"Someone You Can Build a Nest In is sweetly furious, darkly funny, and gruesomely wholesome. It's a love story for the unloved, a happily-ever-after with a higher-than-average body count. I just adored it." —Alix E. Harrow, New York Times-bestselling author of Starling House

Surprisingly sweet, unsurprisingly horrific, and entirely humane—only John Wiswell could have written this monster and her book, and I'm so very glad he did.”’ —Arkady Martine, Hugo Award-winning author of A Memory Called Empire

Someone You Can Build a Nest In is the future of fantasy: a fairy tale with boundaries, an imaginative world created in the shape of collective values rather than the boring old id, a portal to a place you've really never seen before instead of just a princess in a different outfit. This novel is going to change the entire genre.” —Meg Elison, Hugo and Locus award-winning author of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

“This is a fast-paced and gloriously weird novel, full of explosive shenanigans and touching sentiment. It also manages to be an exploration of the queerness and the surprising fragility of monstrous bodies, as well as their resilience. . . a remarkably accomplished debut.”Liz Bourke, Locus Magazine

Wriggly, heartfelt, and carnivorous.” —Max Gladstone, New York Times-bestselling co-author of This is How You Lose the Time War

"Inventive enough to push the boundaries of romance and dark fantasy . . . A wonderfully weird horror romance." — Kirkus Review

“I love the wonder and the darkly enchanting danger of this story. It makes me think of fairy tales, but John Wiswell understands what so many have forgotten: that true fairy tales are gruesome and magical at the same time, and he nails it here.” —C.L. Polk, bestselling author of Even Though I Knew the End

"The wonderful thing about Wiswell’s monster, Shesheshen, is her sensible vulnerability.... I can guarantee you won’t ever forget Shesheshen and Homily, and will be warmed inside forever." —Julie E. Czerneda, Aurora Award-winning author of the Night’s Edge series

“Clever, funny, and oddly gentle for a book about a man-eating monster, John Wiswell's debut delivers a surprising blend of fantasy, romance, and horror. Make sure this is on your TBR if you want those squishy-warm feelings of falling in love...and those squishy-in-general feelings of viscera, gore, and other things humans prefer to keep on the inside.” —Jodi Meadows, New York Times-bestselling coauthor of My Lady Jane

“John Wiswell's remarkable ability to turn expectations upside down and present new, delightful, gruesome, thoughtful viewpoints on narrative is on full display in this debut. Someone You Can Build a Nest In is the best kind of horrifying, beautiful, by turns hilarious and heart-wrenching, and entirely unforgettable: a story about what makes a monster, what makes a person, the scars of trauma, and the transformative (and sometimes traumatic) act of falling in love.” —Vivian Shaw, author of Strange Practice

Someone to Build a Nest In is charming, horrifying, sweet, and funny—everything I could have wanted from John Wiswell's debut novel and more! With the perfect blend of humor and darkness, it’s a wholly fresh take on a monster story.” —A.C. Wise, author of Hooked

A beautiful monster story with a heart, Wiswell treats his outcasts as heroes. He is an author the world desperately needs.” —J.R. Dawson, author of The First Bright Thing

“Horror blends with heart and whimsy in Wiswell's trope-twisting debut. It's monstrously fun!” —Beth Cato, author of A Thousand Recipes For Revenge

“The coziest, most unexpectedly wholesome love story about a monster who devours humans and wears their bones that I've ever read!” —Naomi Kritzer, Hugo Award-winning author of Catfishing on CatNet

"It is perhaps a little weird to say that a book with as much body horror as this has would also be warm, cozy, and sweet, but that's perhaps appropriate: it's a weird book. I mean that in the most positive way possible. Wiswell has crafted a story in which the monsters aren't nearly as terrible as the humans who are both their hunters and their prey, and yet Shesheshen is also unapologetically monstrous. I've never seen anyone pull that off with a fraction of the skill shown here. Besides being a masterful inversion of fantasy monster-slaying tropes, this is a fantastic examination of what it means to be family, and how that trust can be horrifically misused." —Jenn Lyons, author of a Chorus of Dragons series

“This novel is for anyone who has ever felt like an outcast—or been bewildered by society’s absurdities. I fell in love with Shesheshen’s wry voice and dark sense of humor.” —Ray Nayler, Locus Award-winning author of The Mountain in the Sea

“Oozing with—among other things—Wiswell's inimitable charm and tenderness, this is a monstrous love story like nothing I've ever read before.” —Premee Mohamed, Nebula Award-winning author of Beneath the Rising

Someone You Can Build a Nest In is the most original monster story I've read in years. The star of this novel, Shesheshen, is a truly terrifying and other-worldly shapeshifter who absorbs human bones and organs to craft her own body—and has now fallen in love with a woman pledged to kill her. John Wiswell expertly blends horror, humor, romance, and bloody disembowelments in a story about a monster who will not only swallow your heart, but make it her own.” —Jason Sanford, author of Plague Birds, finalist for the Nebula and Philip K. Dick Awards

"A good book is a predator, and this one had no problem dragging me off, kicking and hooting, into the tall grasses to make a meal amidst my ribs before finally taking my heart for its own.” —Jordan Shiveley, author of Hot Singles In Your Area

Product Details
ISBN: 9780756418854
ISBN-10: 0756418852
Publisher: DAW
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English