Before the Devil Knows You’re Here cover reveal and post by Autumn Krause
I’ve always been fascinated by apples. When I was little, I was intrigued by the seed star nestled in their centers, imagining the apple was its own night sky. As I became older and read more widely, I became intrigued by their literary lore. They are presented as Temptation, Knowledge, Beauty. We see apples created by gods in myths spanning different cultures, regaled as an object of Beauty in poems, depicted as the forbidden fruit in the Edenic fall in the Old Testament, and even becoming a method of poisoning in the famous fairy tale Snow White. And, in America, we have yet another interpretation of them as wholesome icons, seen in apple pie, a gift for a teacher, and the idiom, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
So it was from this rich landscape that I got the first seeds of inspiration for Before the Devil Knows You’re Here. I’d grown up hearing about Johnny Appleseed and always loved the idea of someone traveling far and wide, planting seeds wherever they went. But, I asked, what if Johnny wasn’t planting typical apple trees? What if his apples were poisonous? Cursed?
As a triracial author, I love focusing on American history through the lens of my heritage, which is its own unique tale. My family’s history is full of hope yet also full of hardship, from struggling to find the American dream while laboring in fields after immigrating from Mexico to being wrongfully incarcerated in Japanese American internment camps during WWII. For this story, I told it from the point of view of a Mexican-American poet, who is drawn into a surreal world full of peril. I hope readers will discover the fun, love, and beauty that comes when you have parents from two different cultures, even as the main character faces heartbreak, death, and wrestles with the monstrosity of the world—and the monstrosity within her own self.
I’m so excited to share a glimpse of the book today via the cover. I love how the book stares back at you just as much as you stare at it and that it hints at the bizarre world to come just inside the cover, as indicated by the hand with the black nails. And though it features the progression of an eaten apple, beware the apples encountered within its pages. I’ve heard they taste incredible—but that they may just kill!
Meet 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.
Instagram: @autumn__krause // TikTok: @autumnkrause // Website: autumnkrause.com
Peachtree Teen/Peachtree (@PeachtreeTeen on all platforms)
About Before the Devil Knows You’re Here
Part folkloric fantasy, part journey into the bizarre, this delicious blending of tall tales and Latin American surrealism will haunt you as you devour it!
1836, Wisconsin. Catalina lives with her pa and brother in a ramshackle cabin on the edge of the wilderness. Mamá died years ago, and the harsh winters have brought the family to the brink of starvation. Catalina has replaced her poet’s soul with an unyielding determination to keep Pa and her brother alive, period.
When Pa takes suddenly ill, Catalina tries everything to revive him. But as soon as the illness claims him, a strange man appears—a man covered in bark, leaves growing from his head, and sap dripping from his eyes. Before Catalina can stop him, he scoops up her brother and disappears, leaving behind a bird with crimson wings. She can’t let this man—if that’s what he is—have her brother. With no idea where they’ve gone, she grabs Pa’s knife and Mamá’s jorongo 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 who share secrets of the past. 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.
Publisher: Peachtree Teen
Publication date: 10/03/2023
Age Range: 14 Years
Filed under: Cover Reveal
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
SLJ Blog Network