Ugly Girl


Ugly Girl

For the entirety of 18-year-old Crissa’s memory, people have locked her away – some well-meaning and some most definitely not. First her parents, who hid her unusual face from the prying eyes of strangers, and then a violent man who murdered her mother and stole the girl for display in his traveling circus. Six years later, crowds come by the thousands to stare at Crissa’s strange face and whisper terrible things about her. How odd she looks. How bizarrely she behaves. And worst of all, how much she resembles the brutish Humans who died out long before. But mostly they come to hear her do what no other can do. Sing!

In a ‘what-if’ world where prehistoric Humans fell extinct and Neanderthals inherited the earth, Crissa is like no other. Imprisoned by the brutal circus master, Tal-Bern, Crissa serves the glory of his circus. Every night she faces hostile crowds who marvel at her disturbing strangeness. And every night she stuns them with passionate singing before returning to a dank cage, robbed of the hope for romantic love, acceptance, and freedom. Crushed by the dismal isolation of bizarre difference, her circumstances grow darker. She is marked for death, sold by Tal-Bern to the highest bidder for sacrifice during the bloodthirsty Rite of Long Moon – which is fast approaching!

Though all seems lost, the shuttered window to her future opens when she spies a young man in shadows beyond the crowd – with a face like hers! The incident sets in motion events that leave the girl running for her life. Crissa’s headlong flight carries her toward the mysteries of a murky past, her Human face, and the wonderment of love and belonging. If only Tal-Bern doesn’t kill her first! Crissa’s observant narrative drives a story that explores the burden of exclusion, the power of love and kindness, and what it means to be Human.

Ugly Girl on

David’s Note: This novel is very hard to classify. Is it Romance? Sci-Fi? Fantasy? Alternate History? Perhaps that explains why it remains mostly undiscovered. However, this novel continues to accrue the highest average ratings and most affirmative fan feedback of any novel I’ve written. The cover is original artwork by Mark Bulahao. I love the melancholy intimacy of what he depicted.

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