Jen's Reviews > So Shelly

So Shelly by Ty Roth
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's review
Nov 22, 11

bookshelves: va-book, books-about-books, children-ya
Read from November 07 to 17, 2011

A fictional YA story based in the real life stories of the major poets of the Romantic era: Keats, Shelley, and Byron. The book is narrated by a high school student named John Keats, and it tells largely of the intertwined lives of his friend Michelle "Shelly" Shelley and her childhood friend and love, George Gordon Byron. Shelly dies accidentally and/or commits suicide, but made her wishes known in part to Keats and in part to Byron for her burial. This causes them to work together to steal her ashes and conduct the ritual she wanted. Along the way, Keats remembers her and Byron's life stories, as told to him by Shelly, for the reader's benefit, and he pieces together a few new details through this necessary partnership with Byron. It's coming-of-age, reflecting on sex and death and suicide, maudlin, but entertaining enough that I finished the book.

At the end, Roth writes a few pages explaining how all of the characters and details in the book correlate to the lives and historical actions of poets/writers John Keats, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley (this is why the female protagonist is Shelly Shelley - she represents both the husband and the wife), and George Gordon, Lord Byron. It's mildly interesting, but the whole book has a sort of cutesy trying-too-hard feeling.
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