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MY IMAGINARY MARY by Cynthia Hand Kirkus Star


From the Lady Janies series

by Cynthia Hand , Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

Pub Date: Aug. 2nd, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-06-293007-1
Publisher: HarperTeen

Ada Lovelace and Mary Godwin—better known today as Mary Shelley—combine forces to create a living automaton: a real boy.

It’s the year “18—mumble mumble,” the timeline smooshed together into an imagined year when both girls are in their late teens. Ada, the abandoned daughter of famous poet Lord Byron, is a mathematical genius who creates delicate clockwork automatons. Mary’s the daughter of the late, famed early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. She’s half in love with poet Percy Shelley, her father’s mentee, and wonders if she’ll ever succeed at writing. The girls become friends when their fae godmother arrives through a hidden door in the back of Mary’s wardrobe to school them both on powers they may have inherited. Lo and behold, with Mary’s help, Ada’s automaton becomes a living—and lovely—boy named Pan. When villains want something from the girls, they take off, along with Pan and Mary’s two half sisters, on a romp through Europe. The trio of authors responsible for this entertaining smashup series get better with every book they write. Readers don’t have to know the characters’ real-life backstories to enjoy this story; for those who do, the parallels are intriguing. The novel effortlessly and entertainingly combines “Cinderella,” Frankenstein, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pinocchio, and Hamilton, and the ending reminds readers not to underestimate quiet women.

Energetic, clever, and absorbing.

(Historical fantasy. 12-18)