cover image Monstrous


MarcyKate Connolly, illus. by Skottie Young. Harper, $16.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-227271-3

With echoes of Frankenstein and “Beauty and the Beast,” Connolly’s debut offers a premise both captivating and grotesque. Upon awakening, Kymera learns that she has been brought back to life by her scientist father through a series of experiments that leave her with patchwork skin, cat eyes, claws, wings, a barbed tail, and no memories. Kymera’s charge, to rescue girls in neighboring Bryre afflicted with a curse from an evil wizard, proves difficult as she begins to have flashbacks of her former life. Upon meeting a boy named Ren and a dragon that calls her sister, Kymera discovers that her father is not who she thinks he is and must come to terms with her terrifying body in order to defeat the wizard, save the girls, and protect Bryre’s citizens from a deadly creeping briar. Connolly invokes fairy-tale elements with ease, and although the expansive plot can feel disjointed and hastily drawn at times, the formidable theme of sacrifice resonates far beyond the final page. Art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Feb.)