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Hideous Love: The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein
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Hideous Love: The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein

3.33  ·  Rating Details  ·  310 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
From award-winning author Stephanie Hemphill comes the fascinating story of Mary Shelley, a brilliant teenager who wrote one of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time: Frankenstein.

An all-consuming love affair.

A family torn apart by scandal.

A young author on the brink of greatness.

Hideous Love is the fascinating story of Gothic novelist Mary Shelley, who as a teen
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Balzer + Bray
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Emily May
Apr 09, 2013 Emily May rated it did not like it

I Am Emily

I want to be a millionaire
but I am not.

I want to travel to another galaxy
but I cannot.

I want to constantly burst into song
but I will not (view spoiler).

I want to love this book
but I do not.

The Day Starts

We begin our day with
Then we take
a stroll
out by the lake.
I keep a journal
with me
just in case.
In my journal
I write but few
words per line
and call

Hideous Love

Hideous love is
as exciting
as watching paint dry.

Hideous love is
as deep
as a t
A copy of Hideous Love was provided to me by Balzer + Bray/Edelweiss for review purposes.

'November brightens my spirit
as I let go my fears
and agree to travel
to London to be with my Shelley.
I visit Skinner Street
and the Hunts.
Also History of a Six Weeks Tour,
my first book, appears this month,
again with an anonymous author.'


I didn't go into this surprised that this was verse and immediately discount it. I adore novels written in verse (well, as long as they're well done.) When done right
Catherine Linka
I plucked HIDEOUS LOVE out of a box from HarperCollins, because the title was so odd. Then I noticed it was about Mary Shelley and saw who wrote it: Stephanie Hemphill. A novel in verse about the girl who wrote Frankenstein? Hmm. I'd give it a few minutes, because it was Stephanie Hemphill after all.

An hour later, I realized I'd been completely sucked in. Hemphill makes Mary Shelley come alive. Her voice, her passion, her emotions are beautifully captured in Hemphill's verse.

And the story of he
Jul 23, 2013 Kyle rated it did not like it
This review and more can now be found over at Book Probe Reviews where I'm now co-blogging!

1.5 stars

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss. Thanks so much! : )

Oh dear Lord, what the heck did I just experience?

Hideous Love wasn’t a book that I ever really planned on reading exactly. It was one of those, if I can get it from the library or it ever becomes free on Kindle and I’m looking for a quick read in verse. However, once I saw that I could read this for free and be a
G.C. Nash
Mar 22, 2013 G.C. Nash rated it did not like it
I did not finish and stopped 20% of the way in.

Firstly, I do not like stories told in verse as a rule, Identical by Ellen Hopkins being the exception after Hopkins used her style to further illustrate her story. As that never seems to be the rule I get really frustrated when authors take such deep, original concepts, such as the life and love affair of Mary Shelley, and shorten it into choppy sentences pieced together and called "verse." Just because your word count is low does not mean you can
Frishawn Quinn
Mar 28, 2013 Frishawn Quinn rated it really liked it
There is so much to say about the story told within this book's pages.
A tale told completely in verse; Hideous Love chronicles the young life and love of Mary Shelley.
This is a story rife with scandal.
1. Mary's elopement with the already married Percy Shelley.
2. Attempts by the two at "free love".
3. The rather ambiguous nature of the relationship between Percy and Mary's step-sister Jane.
1. The death of Mary's mother when Mary was but 11 years old.
2. The death of Mary and Percy's first ch
Aug 19, 2013 Nina rated it really liked it
I got this book as an ARC from my local library and I'm so grateful to have picked it up. The minute I started reading, I was hooked on the sparse prose and the strength of the main character.

I didn't know a thing about Mary Shelley prior to this but I now realize that she was an incredibly strong woman, and that her strength came from her faith in her writing and her love for her husband. As you will find out when you read the book, these things was tested time and time again. It's obvious Hem
Brooke R. Busse
Sep 19, 2013 Brooke R. Busse rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I love verse novels. They're up there with fairy tale retellings. It doesn't matter what the subject is, if I find a verse novel, I read it. HIDEOUS LOVE had the added bonus of having an intriguing premise.

Mary's husband's portrayal in this book was not something I expected. Seeing his actions through Mary's eyes added whole other layers of meaning to them. My opinion of him wavered throughout the novel, which leads me to believe Hemphill did a great job with his character. [SPOILER]It also adds
Feb 04, 2014 Jan rated it liked it
Hemphill has a gift for prose poetry, which is not as simple to do as it looks. Hideous Love, told in prose poems, is the story of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein and wife of the Romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley. It is a fascinating look at an era when women were beginning to assert their independence and ambition, but were still really beholden to men for their very existence. Although Percy Bysshe Shelley encouraged women to be independent and throw off their marital shackles, he was s ...more
I get kind of excited about books that take on historical figures and really sort of bring them to life. I love learning about the lives of real people from the past. Stephanie Hemphill takes on the story of Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelley in Hideous Love, a young adult verse novel. I am on the fence about this book, I don’t necessarily agree with the not so positive reviews I’ve read BUT, I am not about to fawn all over Hideous Love, to me, it’s just an okay read and one that honestly won’t linge ...more
Nov 21, 2014 Jen rated it it was amazing
I wish that I had read this before reading Frankenstein.
This book for young adults was based on the life of Mary Shelly. It focused in on her love life and her relationship with her husband whom she seemed to have married at a very young age. This story is unusual because it takes place in the early 1800,s. I would imagine this is at a time when women are very restricted. In fact in the book indicates that women had to stay in their place and do what they are told to do by their father, brother etc. Mary Shelly and her sister Claire are strong indivi ...more
Oct 21, 2015 Melissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, poetry
So, I liked this. Did I think it was great poetry.....Not particularly. But overall I liked the story telling and unlike some of the other reviewers (who have valid points) I was still engaged when the story meandered into more mundane aspects of her life.

I honestly had never thought that much about the author of Frankenstein before. And it was interesting to read a story about her life. I learned a lot I hadn't known about the Mary and it did intrigue me enough to google some aspects of the bo
Maddie Senator
Sep 17, 2014 Maddie Senator rated it liked it
This whole book is separated into journal entries that are in verse form, and though I don't especially like poetry and was leery at first, the technique actually worked quite well and made for an enjoyable read.

I find Mary Shelley to be a really interesting literary figure, and I liked reading about her life in novel form. It was difficult to keep track of all the acquaintances and friends of the Shelleys that Mary introduced us to, but I don't know how the author could have handled that issue
Sep 02, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
“ I want to speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and to awaken thrilling horror”

Follow this verse novel, as it reveals how Mary Shelley became the infamous author know today for her work of Frankenstein. Highlighting the scandalous, tragic life of utter heart break and angst, of an author who’s radical open thinking was centuries ahead of her time.

In her teens, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin starts her scandalous life early, as she set her affections for a married man, named Shelley. Ultimate
I didn't make the connection that Hemphill also wrote Your Own, Syliva, which I adored until after I read the book. This one is similar in that it's a verse novel, based on a literary figure, in this case Mary Shelley and her intriguing life.

Her family disowned her early on when she took up with Percy Shelley, who was still married with children when they pledged their love to each other. Mary's father disowned her and his friendship with Percy because of the indecency. Mary knew/thought she wa
“Claire, Hogg,
Shelley and I
believe an ideal society
can be formed
if we free human behavior
from the restraints of social expectations.
Shelley wants us to push a
at the boundaries of monogamy,
practicing it only if
it reflects our genuine
passions and desires.”

Sixteen-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin meets the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who comes to talk with her father. The many talks revolve around their attitudes of an “ideal society…free…from the restrains of social expectations”… pushing “
Apr 19, 2014 Kate rated it it was amazing
Hemphill's novels in verse are so good I can barely stand the wait between books. This time we have Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (later Shelley) from just before her elopement until Shelley's death, telling her story in the voice of an intelligent adolescent with heartbreaking accuracy. I cried and worried and fretted and soared as Mary related her love, her jealousy, the deaths of her children, the pain of her family situation, the joy of writing, and sideways, hidden, the story she hid from hers ...more
Mar 08, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it
A journal of sorts of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein told in poems, focusing largely on her relationship with Percy Shelley. She details her travels, her love, her love-hate relationship with her step-sister Jane (later Claire), her writings, and her tragedies.

This book made clear to me just how young Mary Shelley was when she ran away with Percy Shelley, wrote Frankenstein, and so on. I felt that this could really have been her journal. I enjoyed the verse, despite not generally being a
Sep 08, 2014 Rachael rated it really liked it
Hideous Love: The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein, by Stephanie Hemphill
Reviewed by Rachael
As a longtime fan of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein, I picked this up as soon as I saw the subtitle. The book is told in free verse - but don’t be thrown if you are not a poetry lover – from Mary’s perspective about her young life from age 14 through her early 20’s, during which she ran away with the charismatic poet Percy Bysse Shelley to travel Europe with his coterie of fellow intel
KJ, Madame Librarian
Why isn't there more YA about the 19 year old who invented science fiction while she was on vacation with her narcissistic and married boyfriend?

This was a lovely audiobook, even if the text was a little simile heavy. I enjoyed it and I admire Mary Shelley even more now. Who lives, who dies, who tells your story? Mary. And she'll release your annotated poetry and make sure your name is remembered as one of the greats.
May 13, 2013 Demi rated it really liked it
I am a latecomer to a love of Frankenstein; I rebelled against reading it in high school and have only recently come to appreciate it and Mary Shelley. I think the choice of verse for this novel is a great one--Mary spent much of her early life in the company of Percy Bysshe, and there is an element of the romantic in the repeated tragedies of her youth. I enjoyed Hideous Love a great deal as a result.
Nov 06, 2014 Duks rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books, kindle
Well, this is my first book that I read in verse. I found it interesting,

Mary went through a lot, this resentment that her stepmother had towards her, her father ignoring when she left with Shelley. The death of her children and the unexpected death of him.

Her Shelley was an ass...
Feb 09, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
I'm surprised by all of the negative reviews this book has received. I'm particularly surprised by how often Hemphill's verse writing is attacked. I found the story heartbreaking and I thought the verse flowed fluidly. I'm not an avid fan of poetry, I know little about Percy Shelley, less about Mary Wollstonecraft, and have never read Frankenstein, but I am very happy to have found this book. A life, an unremittingly sad life, such as Mary's would be overwhelming (for me) in prose form. The girl ...more
Anasheh Satoorian
Jan 18, 2014 Anasheh Satoorian rated it really liked it
This book was a pleasant surprise. Such a sad beautiful read! Review to come :)

This was another book that I was skeptical to get in to, due to some negative reviews. But once again I was eager to give it a shot and was glad that I did. This was only the second book that I have read that is written in verse. I have to admit that at first it was hard for me to get into the story as I was adapting to the writing style, but once I got through the first 50 pages or so. But once the story took off, I
There are some very mixed reviews on this book and I wasn't sure, based on those reviews, whether or not to take the time to read it. I am glad I did.

Hideous Love is the story of Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. What a tragedy ridden life she led, at least in her late teens and early adulthood. The novel in verse, 1st person format was effective in telling Mary's story. There were points where the novel dragged a little, but not overly so. I love the book Frankenstein and really enjoyed
Jan 13, 2014 Megan rated it really liked it
I picked this up because I found the title (and subtitle) intriguing, but I really wasn't sure what to expect. For a novel in verse, I found this to be surprisingly slow reading at times (usually I fly through verse novels in a day or two at most), but it wasn't a slowness from boredom so much as a pacing and style of writing that seemed to demand an unusual patience as the reader experiences the emotional ups and downs of young Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's life. The novels' dated entries begin ...more
Mar 03, 2014 Meredith rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I didn't know what to think about this book when I opened it and realized that it told the story of Mary Shelley in verse. My friend, who is a librarian, asked me to read it and give me her opinion as I am a little bit obsessed with the Gothic Romantics (Bryon, the Shelleys, and Keats). I really enjoyed it! Everything Ms Hemphill brings up in the book is accurate and interesting. And surprisingly, the verse approach is an excellent way to infuse the story with feeling. It reads like the personal ...more
Edward Sullivan
Nov 04, 2013 Edward Sullivan rated it really liked it
An engrossing, nicely detailed fictionalized verse biography of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.
Jul 16, 2015 Carson rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Stephanie Hemphill's first novel in poems, Things Left Unsaid, was published by Hyperion in 2005 and was awarded the 2006 Myra Cohn Livingston Award for Excellence in Poetry by the Children's Literature Council of Southern California.

Her second novel, a verse portrait of Sylvia Plath, Your Own, Sylvia was published by Knopf in March 2007. A third novel in verse for teens, Wicked Girls, a verse st
More about Stephanie Hemphill...

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“I cannot be assured of
exactly what I created
be it madness and monster
or beauty and light.”
“We built a world of words
and yet none satisfy now.”
More quotes…