Do you all know about Mary’s Monster (by Lita Judge) and The Hazel Wood (by Melissa Albert), both set to release on Tuesday? If you’re in the Boston area, both authors have events this week. Lita Judge will be at Porter Square Books on Saturday (Feburary 3, 3pm) and I’m hosting Melissa Albert’s event at the Brookline Booksmith on Thursday! February 1, 7pm. Do come.
Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein, by Lita Judge
“Pairing free verse with over three hundred pages of black-and-white watercolor illustrations, Mary’s Monster is a unique and stunning biography of Mary Shelley, the pregnant teenage runaway who became one of the greatest authors of all time.
“Legend is correct that Mary Shelley began penning Frankenstein in answer to a dare to write a ghost story. What most people don’t know, however, is that the seeds of her novel had been planted long before that night. By age nineteen, she had been disowned by her family, was living in scandal with a married man, and had lost her baby daughter just days after her birth. Mary poured her grief, pain, and passion into the powerful book still revered two hundred years later, and in Mary’s Monster, author/illustrator Lita Judge has poured her own passion into a gorgeous book that pays tribute to the life of this incredible author.”
I copied that blurb from the book description online, but in fact, I had the good fortune to see an early draft of this book. It is utterly, stunningly beautiful. It is sad, dark, scary, and glorious. I cannot wait to get my hands on a finished copy.
The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Albert
“Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: ‘Stay away from the Hazel Wood.’
“Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.”
I’m rereading this book right now, in preparation for our Thursday event, and I keep reading lines out loud to Kevin because they delight me so much. This book is smart, thought-provoking, beautifully written, and also a great story. Please come help me celebrate Melissa Albert’s debut on Thursday at the Brookline Booksmith!
Finally, on another topic before I go — in case you don’t follow me on twitter, here’s an article I linked to the other day: “The Female Price of Male Pleasure,” by Lili Loofbourow at TheWeek.com.