- Young Adult Fiction
- Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter
Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter
The Shelley family history is filled with great writers: the original Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, the acclaimed mystery writer Tawny Shelley, cookbook maven Phyllis Shelley…the list goes on and on. But this Mary Shelley, named after her great-great-great-great-great grandmother, doesn’t want anything to do with that legacy. Th2020en a strangely pale (and really cute) boy named Adam shows up and asks her to heal a wound he got under mysterious circumstances, and Mary learns something new about her family: the first Mary Shelley had the power to heal monsters, and Mary has it, too. Now the monsters won’t stop showing up, Mary can’t get her mother Tawny to leave her alone about writing something (anything!), she can’t tell her best friend Rhonda any of this, and all Mary wants is to pass biology.
I adore the premise of a lineage of Shelley's like author Brea Grant has created. I love how seriously Mary's family takes the legacy and how varied their writings are (her mom writes mystery novels, her aunt biographies, others cookbooks, etc.). It's easy to understand how Mary is overwhelmed by the highly specific path her family wants her to follow. If this becomes a series, I would love to see more of Mary's family and what their own pasts look like.
Artist Yishan Li is what makes this graphic novel shine. From the people to the monsters to the stuffed rabbit doll possessed by a ghost, I was in constant awe of how perfectly each design matched the story. Shirley in particular had some of the most hilarious expressions that had me rereading a few panels over and over in laughter. Li impressively captures body language as well from Mary's angsty moments to her empowered ones. While the plot doesn't veer much from the standard arc of a young person discovering new powers and learning to accept them, the humor and the artistry still make this graphic novel stand out.
MARY is a fun and heartwarming read I can see myself returning to. I hope this becomes a series where we can learn more about the Shelley line, Mary's powers, and what new monster ailments Mary may face.