My Imaginary Mary

HarperTeen. (The Lady ­Janies). Aug. 2022. 496p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062930071.
Gr 8-10–The Lady Janies are back with another irreverent take on a historic woman. This time, Mary Shelley and Ada Lovelace cross paths in the name of science, humanity, and adventure. Shelley and Lovelace are two teen girls fighting against society, family, and expectations for their own creativity. Shortly after being told they are fae, they accidentally bring a robotic man created by Ada to life, and have to abscond from England with him to save them all. Part Frankenstein precursor, part feminist wandering through early 19th-century Europe, this YA novel is about 150 pages too long and lacks the pizzazz of the authors’ earlier titles together. Fans of Shelley and Lovelace will enjoy playing more in their psyche, as each woman and their creation gets a POV, but fans of the novel will be disappointed by how light this book feels, despite the chloroform.
VERDICT Give this book to younger fans of historical fiction and tentative fantasy who aren’t familiar with Shelley’s work and want an easy entry into this time period.

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