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Published 15 August 2023 • ISBN 9781761047572 • RRP $19.99 AUD

Uncover an extraordinary world of demons and witches, where the ones you love can hurt you the most and hiding your true self can get you killed. ​


Moving and funny by turns, this is a story about what it takes to make peace with your demons – literal or otherwise. An urban fantasy spin on growing up as a second-generation immigrant, struggling under the overwhelming pressure to make others proud, while feeling trapped inside your own body.


Between surviving high school and working at her aunt’s dumpling shop, all Zhi wants is to find time for her friends... and make sure no one finds out she’s half spider-demon. 


But when she accidentally kills and eats a man in front of the most popular girl in school, she discovers she might not be the scariest thing in the shadows.

The Spider and Her Demons by sydney khoo book cover by Jessica Cruickshank




Content Warnings for "The Spider and Her Demons"

"The Spider and Her Demons" features some distressing content, including, but not limited to: assault, violence, murder, blood/gore, body horror, and death. There are descriptions of body dysphoria, and references to childhood trauma, psychosis and suicidal ideation. Readers with these triggers are advised to read with caution.



QLife provides anonymous and free LGBTIQ+ peer support and referral for people in Australia wanting to talk about sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships. Call 1800-184-527 (3PM to Midnight) or visit

ReachOut helps under 25s with everyday questions through to tough times. Visit

minus18 aims to improve the health and wellbeing of, and provide a safe environment for, same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people in Australia. They deliver LGBTQIA+ training, resources, and digital campaigns. Visit

Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing emotional distress with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. We are committed to empowering Australians to be suicide-safe through connection, compassion and hope. Call 13-11-14, text 0477-13-11-14, or visit

headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation that supports young people with mental health, physical health (including sexual health), alcohol and other drug services, as well as work and study support. Call 1800-650-890, or visit

Beyond Blue can help you learn more about anxiety, depression and suicide prevention, or talk through your concerns with the Beyond Blue Support Service. Call 1300-22-4636, or visit





Crammed full of surprises, moving insights, and playful references, The Spider and Her Demons is a brilliantly fresh story from an exciting new voice in fantasy.



The Spider and Her Demons surpasses all my expectations. Zhi's journey to find identity and power in monstrosity is an eviscerating, poignant exploration of otherness. khoo's portrayal of the aunt-niece relationship (not to mention their Malaysian Cantonese conversation) broke my heart. Plus, there are complex and tender friendships, hilarious group chats, many flavours of bubble tea, and a gripping adventure about demons and witches. This is the queer, South-East Asian diaspora fantasy-horror tale we desperately need. khoo is stunning.



A mesmerising debut, where the search for identity and belonging is woven through a riveting story of witches and demons, tender friendships and fearsome enemies, and what it means to love someone as they are.


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