Review of M Is for Monster

M Is for Monster
by Talia Dutton; illus. by the author
High School    Surely/Abrams ComicArts    224 pp.    g
6/22    978-1-4197-6220-8    $24.99
Paper ed.  978-1-4197-5197-4    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-1-64700-192-6    $15.54

With a nod to Frankenstein, this debut graphic novel delivers an intriguing take on the classic coming-of-age story. After Maura dies in a tragic scientific accident, her sister, ­Frances, and Frances’s (nonbinary) partner, Gin, sew her back together and revive her with the electricity from a lightning strike. Maura has absolutely no recollection of her former life, but Frances is confident that her memories will come back. And if not? Well, they can always take her apart and put her back together again until it works. Shortly after Maura overhears this, she looks in the mirror and sees not her own reflection — not her bald head or numerous sutures — but rather the spirit of Maura, the real Maura. This Maura agrees to coach M (as the protagonist now thinks of herself) through this charade. However, the more she learns about Maura, the more M realizes that she is a completely different person and that she must ultimately confront Frances with the truth in order to discover her own identity, make her own choices, and live her own life. While the gripping storytelling largely revolves around M’s internal conflict and growth, the tri-color (black, white, and shades of green) art breathes life into the vivid setting and the intriguing supporting characters.

From the July/August 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Jonathan Hunt
Jonathan Hunt is the coordinator of library media services at the San Diego County Office of Education.

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