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

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  2,203 ratings  ·  605 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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 ·  2,203 ratings  ·  605 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.
✨Sumi'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
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
Shelves: 2018, biography

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
Mary’s Monster by Lita Judge is a book that defies category. This is too bad, because it will get categorized anyway, which means many people will miss it. I can’t express how sad this is, because Mary’s Monster is an otherworldly great book! If you were to ask me what type of book, well…that’s where things get confusing. It was announced in Publishers Weekly as a free verse and fully illustrated YA. Unfortunately, knowing this may turn you away, if that isn’t the kind of thing that sounds inter ...more
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
Abby Johnson
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen, nonfiction, verse
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
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
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 Vanderburg 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.
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.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lita Judge
This book is absolutely wonderful!
It's kind of a biographical graphic novel in verse. It's really well written and it was like entering and wandering inside Mary's mind. So I think that using this style of writing was really powerful.
Before this novel I knew little about Mary's life and love story with Shelley, so I was eager to know more. What pops up from Judge's book is the unconventional story of a teenage girl who learnt too soon suffering, betrayals and loneliness, but capable o
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lita Judge is a talented picture book author/illustrator and her YA verse graphic novel is an exquisite venture into works for older readers. Knowing nothing about Shelley and only cinematic versions of Frankenstein, I was shocked on the first page and swept into Shelley's biography. Judge's evocative paintings, crafted verse and quotes from the time (Shelley herself, her mother, the poets Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron) present a richly woven story of Shelley's abusive childhood, tortured ...more
This absolutely sublime combination of art and writing gives a powerful insight into the life and process of Mary Shelley's creating Frankenstein - and I could not put it down and had to read it in one sitting. I began teaching Frankenstein to students a few years ago, having never read it before, and assuming I basically knew what it was about: I had no idea! Frankenstein is an incredible achievement and Mary was a remarkable woman: a giant of genius who, in my opinion, stands head and shoulder ...more
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, young-adult
I've told the story of Mary Shelley's life many times over many classrooms, and for the most part, I always thought I've done justice to her. But now, after reading Lita Judge's biographical verse novel and illustrations, I feel like the gaps in my telling were wider than I thought, and the scandalous bits of her life are framed here not as scandal, but as tragedy.

I have so much respect for Mary Shelley and her magnificent piece of fiction—but now she feels more real to me.

Props to Judge for not
Callum McLaughlin
I absolutely loved everything about this. Firstly, I admire it for how completely it manages to defy being categorised. The best way I can think to describe it is as a novelised graphic memoir, written in verse. (Are you following me?) It recounts real events in Mary Shelley's life, but is written in first-person, as though by Shelley herself. The poetic, verse-style prose is not only beautiful, but it lends the book the feeling of a diary, as though we're reading Shelley's very own journal. Thi ...more
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