My Contrary Mary

HarperTeen. Jun. 2021. 512p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062930040.
Gr 9 Up–The author team known as the Lady Janies don’t let historical facts get in the way of a rollicking story full of queens, court intrigue, and shapeshifters. Set in the same world as the acclaimed “Jane” trilogy, this irreverent and wildly amusing first in a series focuses on Mary, Queen of Scots; her fiancé, the dauphin of France; Francis; and Ari, the famed seer Nostradamus’s daughter. Mary, 17, and Francis, 16, have been engaged since they were five years old and best friends for almost as long, both working to keep Mary’s true nature as an Eðian shapeshifter secret. For France is a country ruled by Verities, people who do not have such gifts, and where being Eðian is a death sentence. When Nostradamus has a vision of treachery in the court, Ari finds herself dragged into aristocratic life. Either age or his power has driven Ari’s father out of his senses, but he does have one clear warning: Beware the biscuits. The authors manage to seamlessly blend modern humor and Renaissance France through a combination of parenthetical asides and wry self-awareness. While Mary and Francis’ relationship-turned-romance takes center stage, Ari is a lesbian and has a sweet romantic subplot with one of Mary’s ladies-in-waiting. The main cast is white, and the race of most supporting characters is undefined.
VERDICT Full of puns, memes, and Disney references, this novel kicks off a trilogy with the perfect balance of history and paranormal and is, in short, pure fun. Recommended for YA collections.

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