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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

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  472 ratings  ·  143 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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Average rating 3.35  · 
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 ·  472 ratings  ·  143 reviews

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Emily May
Mar 22, 2013 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
Written in verse, Hideous Love tells of the life of Mary Shelley, best known for being the author of the classic Frankenstein. I think Hemphill does well capturing the love Mary has for Percy Shelley and the scandal and sorrow that surrounds their lives.

I liked that this story was told in verse and thought it worked pretty well but at times I didn't think it was quite as poetic as "Wicked Girls".

I just want to say thank you to Krista for recommending Hideous Love to me. And for anyone who likes
Apr 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Christie Angleton
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels-in-verse

Meh. The author paints Mary Shelley as a simpering, lovelorn teen who only writes as a means of distracting herself from pining after her moody partner, Percy Shelley. Maybe I’m being hard on this, having so recently was Charlotte Gordon’s Romantic Outlaws, but I don’t think this is a fair depiction of the fiercely independent advocate for women’s rights that I know Mary Shelley to have been.
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I am super torn about this one. While I hated some aspects of the writing (“my Shelley” always made me roll my eyes and the prose isn’t prose but just sentences divided by paragraphs) I still thought that this highlights Mary’s passion and youth quite well. She was after all a teenager AND a writer. The loss of her children was done super well and tasteful as well, so this gets 3 stars after all.
Jul 05, 2013 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
For those that have been following my blog for a while, you'll know that my major goal this year was to get my TBR all caught up. As we near the end of the year, that looks like it's a goal that I'm going to be taking into 2019 with me. Anyways, I recently decided to read Hideous Love because it had been on my TBR for a couple of years. Unfortunately, it was just okay.

Hideous Love had some interesting parts, and some boring parts. Unfortunately, the boring outweighed the interesting. I didn't k
Gabrielle Carolina
Mar 21, 2013 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
Sep 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Perhaps it's fitting to have a book about the tempestuous relationship between Mary Wollstonecraft and poet Percy Shelley written in free verse?

A lot of grief (miscarriages and dying children) and drama and a constant pall of family scandal all mixed up here. I probably found the annotated bibliography of works at the back to be the most interesting part.

As with pretty much any novel in verse (think Audacity or Brown Girl Dreaming), it doesn't take long to read.
I've been on a novels-in-verse kick lately and had been meaning to try this author's books for some time. This one actually seemed the least interesting to me just from the summary, but then I listened to an episode of Book Riot's new Annotated podcast about Mary Shelly and the writing of Frankenstein and my interest was piqued. I sort of wish I just left it at podcast though which was really well done and fascinating.

This book was perfectly fine, but it's chock full of misery, tragedy, scandal,
May 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was supposed to be a historical fiction in verse and while it was a historical fiction, the verse fell a bit flat for me. Interesting take on the life of Mary Shelly not executed very well.
Dec 11, 2018 added it
Shelves: verse-novels
While I enjoyed the author's Wicked Girls more, this exploration of Mary Shelley was quite intriguing but also frustrating because you saw how much Mary LOVED Percy and how it was thanks to her that he became so renowned after his death. So the frustration comes from the whole "behind every great man there is a woman" idea. Not the author's fault obviously because that's how it was, but it just really hits home today and makes you want to just boost Mary Shelley even more! OK, ramble done. ...more
Savannah (Books With Bite)
Alright. This book is way more than what I thought it be. For sure, I love the writing. But the characters had my stomach in knots.

Love: Let me tells you the way this love is hideous. This love is doomed from the start. And iffy guy attracted to a young girl, romance moves fast. Oh and did I mention he is STILL married and has a child on the way while he is pursuing her. Yup.Cause he is. And I knew as soon as she feel for his antics there was no going back. This love isn’t one I enjoyed but real
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 19, 2013 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
WTF Are You Reading?
Mar 28, 2013 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
Brooke R. Busse
Sep 16, 2013 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
Jan 27, 2014 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
Christina (Ensconced in Lit)
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: won
I think Mary Shelley's story is fascinating and perfect book to write about. I've gotten more into historical biographies more as of late, and this was a nice foray into that. The fact it was written in verse particularly since her great love, Percy Bysshe Shelley, was at the forefront of this story makes sense. That said, just a personal opinion, I got tired of reading it in verse, because that is just not how I read books, not because it was a problem with the book. It made sense to do it for ...more
May 13, 2013 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.
Lupinus Texensis
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.
Apr 15, 2014 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...
usagi ☆ミ
3.5/5 stars. Review to come!
Edward Sullivan
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
An engrossing, nicely detailed fictionalized verse biography of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.
Nov 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I wish that I had read this before reading Frankenstein.
Sep 26, 2016 rated it liked it
It felt like I was reading a melodramatic teenage diary rather than a fictionalization story of Mary Shelley's life, but it still made for a fast read.

Review coming soon!!
Featured in "Frankenstein and Mary Shelley in Young Adult Books" on Intellectual Recreation.

2018 is the bicentennial of the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I love Frankenstein. It's one of my very favorite classics, and there was no way I could let the bicentennial slip by without a big to-do, so I read a ton of Frankenstein retellings and Mary Shelley biopics.

Hideous Love is another verse novel about Mary Shelley's life (without illustrations). It was written several years prior
I read this historical fiction novel in verse about Gothic novelist, Mary Wollstencraft Shelley famous for writing, Frankenstein for my July twitter chat (books with unique formats) with #yearofya on 7/25 at 8PM EST. Stephanie Hemphill's novel in verse was both enlightening and exciting- Mary flees her unhappy life with her love, already married Percy Shelley (famed Romantic) poet and leaves her family horrified she would do such a thing. Mary's resilience, wit and all encompassing knowledge kep ...more
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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

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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…