TEEN READS: Young adult books for a fall afternoon

These YA titles shriek "It's alive!" – a counterpoint to the dying of summer.

Manga Classics, 2020
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If you are anything like me, you enjoy the change of seasons from summer to fall. I can often be found in the woods with a book and a cup of hot chocolate. If you are looking forward to an afternoon of reading, these books just may be for you.

‘My Imaginary Mary’ by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

HarperCollins, 2022

The trio that brought us the Lady Janey series has turned their attention – and their pens – to historical Marys. "My Imaginary Mary" features Mary Shelley, the author of "Frankenstein," who is joined by Ada Lovelace. If you like your books with a sense of humor, and not entirely historically accurate, you are in for a treat.

Great things are expected from Mary Godwin. Her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, was a writer and advocate of women’s rights. Everyone expects Mary to become a writer, too. Although Mary enjoys writing, she feels that her writing is not good enough.

While attending a demonstration with her secret boyfriend, Percy Shelley, Mary witnesses a frog being zapped with electricity, resulting in its death. Mary imagines the frog alive, and after another shock, it is.

Back at home, Mary is visited by her fae godmother, who begins training Mary and Ada in all things fae. Ada, too, attended the demonstration. She is far too rational to believe the frog came back to life. Ada prefers to turn her mind to questions of mechanical engineering.


When Mary and Ada join forces to create an automaton, the results are far different from what they imagined. This automaton, known as PAN, achieves a life that surprises them both, and leads to their being chased by an evil scientist.

It is a refreshing new take on the origin of the Frankenstein story, one that you will enjoy.

Manga ‘Frankenstein’

Manga Classics, 2020

After reading this book, you may want to indulge in Shelley’s book, “Frankenstein.” If you are familiar with the story only from movies, you may be in for a surprise.

The Manga Classics version of this story, adapted by M. Chandler with artwork by Linus Liu, is perfect, especially if it is your first time reading it. You will enjoy the addition of artwork to this classic story.

Victor Frankenstein is a student obsessed with life, death and the power of electricity. He attempts to create life, which as you will imagine has the potential to go quite badly. When his experiment works, his reaction is unexpected. Repulsed by what he created; Victor runs off.

Abandoned, his creation is left to make its own way. How can he when he knows nothing of the world? What starts as curiosity and friendship is twisted by experience into something very different.

Reading “Frankenstein” by Shelley will leave you pondering who the monster truly is.

Mary Schwartz works in the Park Rapids Area Library’s young adult section, ordering books and creating programming. On the Literary Mary channel on YouTube, her videos explore books, STEM, creativity and family history research. She also enjoys hiking and exploring the woods with her camera and her husband, Kevin.


“Beyond Menopause: New Pathways to Holistic Health” by Carolyn Torkelson, M.D. and Catherine Marienau, Ph.D. provides valuable advice for women over age 40.

What to read next
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