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Mary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  2,623 ratings  ·  688 reviews
A young adult biography of Frankenstein's profound young author, Mary Shelley, coinciding with the 200th anniversary of its publication, told through free verse and 300+ full-bleed illustrations.

Mary Shelley first began penning Frankenstein as part of a dare to write a ghost story, but the seeds of that story were planted long before that night. Mary, just nineteen years o
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published January 30th 2018 by Roaring Brook Press
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Autumn Gonzales

Definitely written by Percy Shelley. Mary Wollstonecraft is mostly known for "A Vindication on the Rights of W…more

Definitely written by Percy Shelley. Mary Wollstonecraft is mostly known for "A Vindication on the Rights of Women."(less)

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Average rating 4.38  · 
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 ·  2,623 ratings  ·  688 reviews

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Emily May
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Emily May by: Tatiana

Read this in one sitting. It's a gorgeous graphic/verse biographical novel about the life of Mary Shelley. It was fascinating learning more about the author of Frankenstein, which is one of my favourite books of all time. I knew she must have been an unconventional person to write as a woman in the time she did, but I could never have guessed what she went through in her life.

The haunting black and white illustrations really suit the telling of Shelley's tale, too - a gothic biography for the au
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just. So good. You guys. So good.

I knew about Mary Shelley and Percy, and Frankenstein and blah blah blah. But I didn't KNOW. I didn't understand what it was really like for her. And the pictures were gorgeous and unsettling, and the poems telling her story were heartbreaking. The whole thing is just heartbreaking.

So well done. Author's note, bibliography, even a list of the works mentioned in the book, that they were reading themselves. So good.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I probably liked this work so much because I know nothing about Mary Shelley and maybe because I can never objectively tell if someone’s free verse poetry is good or not, but the art is gorgeous and moody, and Mary’s life story is fascinating, sad and a tad sordid.
✨Bean's Books✨
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book twice in one sitting and by the time I was done tears were streaming down my face!
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley is one of the strongest women I have ever read about. And through it all she is still remembered and will be forever immortalized through her masterpiece. For all the hurt that she felt, for everything she had lost, for all the pain she had to endure... her work, her Adonis, her magnum opus is still being rewritten, televised, immortalized on the silver screen, and celeb
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a beautiful and fascinating book. The drawings were haunting and really added to the atmosphere. The few parts from the "voice" of Mary's creature was one of my favorite parts and one of the many parts I re-read before moving on.
It was a very hard one to put down and I was cursing I was at work while reading the majority of this.

I'm sure a couple of my friends were amused I kept sending them pictures of some of these pages :).

I only knew a few things about Mary Shelley before starting t
Brilliant work of art!
A YA nonfiction biography in verse with illustrations. This was absolutely fabulous -- a deep dive into the life of young Mary Shelley, prior to the publication of Frankenstein until the few years after. In other words: her teenage years, when she was sent away from home, fell in love with an abusive partner, became pregnant, and then wrote a classic work of literature.

Judge uses art to add to the Gothic mood of the book and to good effect. The use of verse was surprising but also effective, gi
Dark. Haunting. Fraught. Fascinating. Mesmeric. Breathtaking.

A symphony of words and art combine on the page to tell the remarkable story of Mary Shelley, and in the hands of the author-illustrator, I am stunned. I don't have words enough to express the depth of my admiration and fervor to urge all who have even the vaguest interest in Mary or her story about Dr. Frankenstein and the creature brought to life and abandoned to his doom and sorrows to read Mary's Monster.

Mary's Monster is about Mar
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Vanessa by: ER Mackenzi Lee summer blockbuster recs
I have been handing out so many five star reviews this year, maybe I'm going soft.

But, this book pretty much was designed to ring my bell: a graphic novel, about one of my Victorian obsessions, Mary Shelley, with melancholy and truly gorgeous black and white watercolor illustrations by the author.

The standing figure is supposed to be Lord Byron. But does he look familiar? Perhaps it's the resemblance to a contemporary wordsmith?

Oh Percy. I am so happy to have you as my bess friend and I luff M
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it

Cold sweat drips down my spine
and I am seized by a wakeful dream.
I see a pale student of unhallowed arts
kneeling beside the thing
he has put together.
A hideous phantasm of a man
with watery eyes and blackened lips
stirs with motion.

Happy serendipity: I had the urge to read Frankenstein this week, and right beside it on the library shelf was Mary's Monster; a YA graphic novel/free verse biography of Mary Shelley. Despite that sort of thing not normally catching my fan
Robert August
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, horror
Whew. I felt so many emotions as I read this book. I kept thinking, "My goodness, my students are going to love this book." I was fortunate to receive two copies of this book in the mail, and those two copies have passed from student's hand to student's hand. The book doesn't even make its way back up to my desk before another student snags it. This book defies genre sorting. It's nonfiction, it's horror, it's romance, it's an illustrated book in verse. I've already added it to my book list to t ...more
Rebecca Rouillard
A graphic memoir in verse about Mary Shelley’s early life and her most famous creation - Frankenstein’s monster. Beautiful, poignant and inspiring.
Michelle Glatt
A haunting biographical novel in verse that illuminates the life of Mary Shelley and "argues" that her creation of the Monster was a result of the trials she faced. ...more
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Mary's Monster" is a fascinating and heartbreaking account of Mary Shelley's early life leading up to, and slightly surpassing the publication of her timeless horror classic. Lita Judge keeps the reader engaged by utilizing an innovative storytelling approach that pairs dramatic gray-scale watercolor illustrations with a first person narrative written entirely in free verse. The ability to be privy to Mary's inner thought processes while simultaneously observing her outer reactions makes it eas ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So...I loved this.

Mary's Monster is a brief look into the tragic, tortured life of Mary's Shelley. What makes this story really stand out is the way it's told - in verse from Mary's POV, accompanied with sweeping black-and-white illustrations. I can honestly say I don't think I've read another book quite like this one.

I'll definitely be doing a full review of this gem, aiming for April 2018.

Edward Sullivan
The publisher describes this book as a biography but it is more accurately an illustrated historical novel in verse, and a stunning, hauntingly evocative one at that.
Christie Angleton
Haunting and breathtakingly gorgeous.
Linda Lipko
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I read this wonderful book in one sitting. It contains many facts that I did not know about Mary Shelly, the author of Frankenstein. Pregnant at the age of sixteen, her father and step mother insisted that she leave their house. The father of her child was the poet Percy Shelly. A romantic, he stole her heart, but as she traveled with him, she began to realize how emotionally unstable he was.

Through the many indiscretions, outbreaks of insanity, and the constant need to flee from his massive deb
Abby Johnson
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, verse, teen
Holy cats, what a great book! This biography-in-verse tells the story of Mary Shelley's teen years, when she was falling in love with Percy Shelley and writing Frankenstein. Her life was FILLED with drama and Lita Judge gets that teen angst about first love and family just right. The prose poems are accompanied by striking, brooding artwork making this kind of a graphic/prose hybrid.

Press this into the hands of teens who are reading Frankenstein for school. It'll bring the story to life in a wh
Liz Weasleyhead
I saw this beautiful book rather randomly in my local bookstore. And to be honest, neither have I read the Frankenstein novel, nor read any details about Mary Shelley herself. I just saw the stunning artwork and knew instantly I had to get myself this book. So I bought the eBook 'cause it's 0,99 € on Amazon now.
Let me say that I was totally blown away by it. The artwork is fascinating and breathtaking and creates a very special atmosphere. The text is so beautifully written that I highlighted en
Summer Lambert
Apr 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
I loved the illustrations, and Marys story was interesting, I feel for women in those times. This was in the children's section of our library I would say its more suited to older children. ...more
Alex  Baugh
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Here is a brilliant new fictionalized biography about Mary Shelley by Lita Judge, just in time for the 200th anniversary of the publication of her best known work, Frankenstein. I have to admit that when I read Frankenstein in junior high school, I never really thought much about the author. I was reading it on my own then, and even when I reread it in college, Mary Shelley was basically ignored (perhaps my professor was a fan of Roland Barthes' The Death of the Author). Of course, we all learne ...more
I’m so sad this is over. Phenomenal.
Lisa Pett
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book almost leaves me speechless. Part graphic novel, part biography, part poetry, it weaves the story of Mary Shelley's creation from her unhappy, unconventional childhood and through her tempestuous, scandalous, and passionate love affair with the poet, Percy Shelley and their short life together.

Patched together from biographical information, Shelley's own letters, journals, and writing, along with stark, somber black and white ink wash art, Mary's Monster is the story of birth, out of d
Annmarie Sheahan
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"She conceived me,
I took shape like an infant,
not in her body, but in her heart,
growing from her imagination
till I was bold enough to climb out of the page
and into your mind."

Frankenstein was that novel I slogged through in high school and now love as an adult. I think that if I had been giving Lita Judge's fictional biography to read alongside Shelley's classic a teenager, I would have appreciated it and related to it much more.

I have always been in awe of Mary Shelley's brilliance, resolv
Loved this verse fiction biography. Accompanied by haunting watercolors that emanate beauty, pain, fear, rage, and hope, the author presents Shelley in a raw and authentic portrayal - from a happy young girl to a renegade teen to a despairing mother to a victim of love and betrayal to a fearless and diligent supporter of her husband's work. The text screams at us, challenges us to understand, and the sketches exude an other-worldly feel, one ruled by monsters of the humankind, longing sometimes ...more
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: awesomeness
I would have given it 10 stars if it were possible.. I'm absolutely speechless.. I don't know how it's possible that not everyone is talking about this book.
The artwork is stunning! The story itself, the poetic writing.. I was rereading every page at least two times before moving on. It's as if I took part in Mary Shelley's life and walked beside her, and the book became part of my soul.
Kristen Blount
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club, 2019
Some startling beautiful combinations of words with images. Overall, left me cold as yet another young woman is abused and used by the men who supposedly love her. My consolation is that her work has endured in ways the men of this story's have not. ...more
Between the artwork and poetry, this is a collection I now need to buy. Mary Shelley is amazing and I knew so little about her life before Frankenstein. Percy is awful in this of course.
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