A book I read about 20 years ago when I was 12 or so about creatures that lived underground and can’t see (maybe they were called "beasties" or something?) and at the end of the book this boy gives them his eyes.

Throughout the book it wasn’t clear to me if they were good but I think the main character comes around to them because​ I believe he voluntarily gave up his eyes.

I remember being kinda disturbed by the book but it was thought-provoking and am interested in uncovering the book again.

  • 1
    This question would be improved by going through the checklists here; How to ask a good story-ID question?
    – Valorum
    Jun 9, 2019 at 20:40
  • 1
    It was about twenty years ago I read the book it had a ribbon or bow on gifts for the boys and girls it was a story about deforestation and sustainment following sacrifice for the greater good I thought it was called the secret ribbon but the timeline doesn't match like it was plagerized after that I was about fourteen sat the time I read it I am thirty four now I can't find it Jul 6, 2020 at 4:37
  • @SupposedlyStevenGarrison that's inline with the book I'm also searching for. I think the underground creatures were connected to the forest somehow, the more it was cut down the more they lost limbs/organs. The boy gives an eye to the main creature as a sign of solidarity after helping them scare aware the loggers. This book would have to be from the mid to late nineties at the latest as I read it at that time too.
    – Jock
    Jul 26, 2023 at 13:41

3 Answers 3


Answering my own question bc after years of forgetting the name of the book making this post jogged my memory. Beasties by William Sleator.

Front cover of Beasties

Sleator (The Night the Heads Came, 1996, etc.) stretches plenty of catgut in this latest shocker about physical dismemberment. When 15-year-old Doug learns that his botanist father plans to relocate the family to the local forest, he isn't pleased about leaving school or having only his ten-year-old sister, Colette, for a buddy. His unease blossoms into full-blown anxiety when the family reaches their isolated home, a postcard from Twin Peaks, including the housekeeper, Mrs. Slosh, who sports a Halloween mask to cover the nose she can't afford to fix. Colette is unfazed, however, and when the pair discover a trapdoor in their backyard, she jumps down and makes friends with the beasties—or "the family," as they call themselves—subterranean sub-human life forms forced to borrow body parts from humans in order to survive. Fingers, the blind second-in-command, explains that the family's health is linked to the woodlands, which are being deforested by a logging company (Sleator is vague on the details). The plot moves quickly, and soon a war between the beasties and the loggers erupts: All too soon, the remaining beastie tribes are licking their wounds and Doug donates one of his eyes to make Fingers the new queen. The only authentically bizarre moment comes when the children must explain to their parents what happened to Doug's eye. Lots of cheap tricks add up to a rushed and silly sideshow.

  • 10
    You should support your answer - even if it's a self-answer - by demonstrating how it's the correct answer (e.g. by quoting a plot summary that matches the description in your original post).
    – V2Blast
    Jun 10, 2019 at 6:36


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2011) by Ransom Riggs

These creatures that you are talking about are called Hollows. They don't really have pupils and steal others' eyes. They are absolutely bad! It's been a while since I read this book, so I can't be sure if this is it, but the Hollows never were good creatures throughout the entire plotline.

The Goodreads summary for this is:

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

The only thing is, it doesn't match your timeline of 20 years ago...

  • There are two sequels, and the Hollows are somewhat more sympathetic later on. I don't recall any voluntary eye giving.
    – Adamant
    Jun 9, 2019 at 23:31
  • @Adamant I only read the first book, so...
    – user112267
    Jun 10, 2019 at 2:02

The Beasties by William Sleator, 1997

From description on Amazon:

When Doug's family moves to the desolate northern woods, they find themselves thrust into the middle of a war between the area's loggers and a dying race of woodland creatures whose survival depends on human body parts.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. Please note there is already a self-answer that names this book.
    – DavidW
    Jul 26, 2023 at 13:45
  • @DavidW very strange, that answer wasn't visible to me when i made my post!
    – Jock
    Jul 27, 2023 at 9:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.