Cover Image: My Dear Henry: A Jekyll & Hyde Remix

My Dear Henry: A Jekyll & Hyde Remix

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Member Reviews

Oh the high hopes I had for this book. I felt disappointed by it but it wasn't absolutely horrible. I really enjoyed the theme and the gaslamp fantasy that was brought into this novel. It was absolutely clear to see how this was remixed and where the original fit in. But that's about where it ended. One of the things about the original Jekyll and Hyde was the mystery and darkness surrounding Hyde. That didn't really happen with this book. I never felt that draw to know more. The mystery never felt present to me that I was hoping for. However, I loved the representation in this book and how it made me really feel in the past. I thought it was excellently executed and I really have to give my props to that. 

The characters were so uninteresting and uninspiring. The beginning started out and I was like okay, I want to know more. And then the next chapter it was they're a couple and they love each other and the know each other so well. But it never translated. There was never a buildup and I think that's one of the reasons I struggled with the main plot. There was no connection to the characters and I felt like the connections between the characters were non-existent. All of their personalities felt lackluster and just there.

Overall, My Dear Henry by Kalynn Bayron was disappointing. The book itself was okay but it could have been so much better. I think a big part of that for me personally was the connection between the characters themselves. It all happened so fast in the beginning, it never got my invested. And not having that investment resulted in a plot missing the suspense and mystery. The remix itself was interesting and I wish it could have been more flushed out. However, the representation in this book was beyond phenomenal and I really enjoyed the care that went into that part of the book. If your interested in this book and are okay with insta-romance and no buildup, then definitely check this book out!
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These remixes are saving my views on the classics. I read Dr. Jekyll when I was in middle school. I was interested in sci-fi back then and my mom gave me it. I ended up liking it, but it wasn’t something I would read again unless I had to. But this time I wanted to give it a try because it’s a remix. And sure enough, it gave me a whole new respect for the story.

So for what worked for me. I LOVED the setting. Bayron has a way of making the setting feel so legit. I felt the fog like I was on London or something. She mentioned the way the cobblestones felt under their feet and the way they sounded when the person was running on them. It made me feel as if I was right there. And as someone who travels from the books she reads (remember why my blog is named this?) this was right up my alley. It made the book a little more mysterious too.

I did think this story was going to be a slog for me to get through tho. I am not a huge fan of the original because it was kinda confusing. When I read it in Middle school it was in one of those Illustrated Classics. (Am I the only one who read those?) And I remember reading it and watching a documentary and it scared the bee-jebs out of me. But Bayron made this story her own and I actually really enjoyed it.

SPOILER ALERT FOR THIS PARAGRAPH. I also liked the twist, although it made me cry. TW/CW Not gonna lie, the way his dad forced the serum on him and what it did, it really felt like the dad’s version of conv/ersion ther/apy. Like that would be the way he was trying to do it back then. And it made me sad and mad so the tears fell. It didn’t make me stop liking it, but it did make me waffle on my rating. In the end, I settled on not changing anything because I felt like anything that made me cry was something that really pulled at my emotions.

The narrator was weird tho. I liked him, but his voice was too calming? I don’t know how else to say it. I had to speed him up, but then I saw that wouldn’t work for me. So I slowed it down and then he put me to sleep. (I think that was my ADHD tho. Anything under 1.5 won’t do it for me lol) But everything else, like his tone and the inflections and stuff were fine.

This book was so good it made me break my book buying ban. (Don’t tell my husband I admitted to that lol) All of these classics are so good! I really hope there’s a lot more of these to come. I love seeing all the different ways they’ve been changed.
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My Dear Henry is a rewrite of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, told from the perspective of Gabriel Utterson. Set, as was the original, beginning in 1883, Gabriel Utterson is a dutiful son, setting off to attend medical school because his father wants him to be a doctor, his desire to study law notwithstanding. 

Like many young men of color at the time, Gabriel stays in a boardinghouse run by Miss Laurie for young men of color, as the dormitory facilities at his college are not open to him; there, he meets Henry Jekyll, with whom he feels an instant connection, and who feels the same connection to him. The two young men are in classes together, including a class with Henry's father, Dr. Jekyll, which is taught in a dank dungeon-like room, redolent with the scents of formaldehyde, from its previous use as an operating theater - the worst room in the college, considered the only appropriate one for a doctor who, like his patients, was a man of color. As their friendship deepens into a relationship, others around them become aware - including Dr. Jekyll, who objects to his son being in a same-sex relationship, because of the societal issues inherent in being Black in London in the 1880s compounded with same-sex relationships - which leads to Dr. Jekyll attempting to convert his son to his own point of view, and disavow Gabriel, via any means necessary.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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The synopsis really intrigued me, but unfortunately the execution fell flat.  

Brief Synopsis: In this gothic YA remix of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, a teen boy tries to discover the reason behind his best friend's disappearance—and the arrival of a mysterious and magnetic stranger—in misty Victorian London.

I loved the concept behind a remix of a true classic (and I’m inspired to reread the classic), however I struggled with the pacing. At the start we meet our main character, Gabriel, who is attending the London School of Medicine to appease his father. Then enters Henry, another student and son of a Dr. Jekyll (a professor at the school). 

This is where I began to struggle. There was little character development or relationship building. Gabriel and Henry went from meeting one another, to starting a relationship, and then to exchanging romantic letters throughout a summer in a matter of pages. A Lot of the buildup to the relationship was skipped over entirely. Because of this, I found it hard to connect with Gabriel’s feelings as events unfold in the book. 

The end also fell flat for me. I craved more of a slow-burn, gothic horror suspense. Instead, I felt like the book just ended abruptly. It lacked any creepy vibes or page-turning suspense. It left me wanting more. 

Overall, I was disappointed.
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Definitely an interesting choice to read after A House With Good Bones: another book with gothic vibes and battling racism (though the latter is much more prevalent in this one). It was so nice to see Black boys just living their best queer joy lives in the beginning before everything started to go wrong… personally, I’m not familiar with the Jekyll and Hyde story (apart from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) but I really liked how Hyde was portrayed: less of a literal monster and more of what society deems monstrous. This is particularly exacerbated by Henry’s Blackness and the pressures put upon him specifically as a Black man of reasonable means.

And Gabriel - honest, sweet, sensitive Gabriel - is a perfect balance to that.
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I admit, I have never actually read the original Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but it's so ingrained in our western culture, that I somehow just know the basics of the story. I was really intrigued to see what this remix did with the story, and it did not disappoint.

Bayron took what was originally just a creepy gothic story and made it into something relevant. She managed to address so many things - racism in Victorian England (because yes, there were Black people in Victorian England!), homophobia, and what it was like to be black and queer at that time. 

I loved how devoted Gabriel was to Henry, I was rooting for their relationship the whole time. I also really enjoyed the ambiance of this story. The author really captured that dark gothic feeling, and between that and the angst of the protagonists, I just ate this story up. 

And the ending! I really wasn't sure where this story was going to go, but I absolutely LOVE the way the author played with our expectations and gave us something fresh and new. 

I am definitely going to need to read more in this Remixed Classics series if this is what I can expect!
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I’ve read two other books by Kalynn Bayron before, one that I absolutely loved and another that I liked, so I was really interested to see where on that spectrum MY DEAR HENRY would fall.

The tone of the story drew me in pretty quickly. It reads in a style similar to the original story, but a little simpler and warmer, too. I liked that balance of a nod to the old with a fresh, accessible feeling, too.

Gabriel Utterson is a great character. I felt like he was easy to identify with and easy to root for. I also liked Henry Jekyll and Hyde, too. So, the characters pulled me into the story as well.

The author lists a content warning at the opening of the book, letting readers know that a medical experiment with an effect similar to conversion therapy takes place within the story. While that part of the story is heartbreaking, I loved that there are voices challenging the director and participant.

I thought the story fit very well within this particular reimagining, and that it’s a very timely version. The writing makes me want to read more work by this author– I think I have THIS POISON HEART on my shelf, but I haven’t read it yet. This book may be the push I needed to change that!

I think readers who enjoy reimagined classics or dark Victorian stories should definitely check this one out.

Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions my own.
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Take the gay subtext of Jekyll & Hyde, make it text, and throw in a smattering of Black history and struggle, and you'll get My Dear Henry. Gabriel Utterson and Henry Jekyll were friends in medical school in London, the lone non-white students in a racist system. When their closeness leads to their expulsion, the two lose touch, until Gabriel returns to London and a job as a law clerk. Gabriel thinks he spots Henry, but every time he tries to speak with his friend he finds only Hyde. With subtexts about conversion therapy and the lack of options for everyone expect the most privileged, My Dear Henry is a fascinating update to the classic story, and will have you rereading the original and exclaiming over details you missed.
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Set in 1885 London, My Dear Henry has the gothic feeling down in Kalynn Bayron’s new book. We follow Gabriel Utterson, who wants to grow up and be a lawyer, but his father has a different job in mind for Gabe and has set him off in the same profession as him, a doctor. While in London at Ms. Laurie’s boarding house he meets another young man by the name of Henry Jekyll and the two become fast friends and a little something more. But being black men in the pursuit of a education under the white man’s eye they are continually told that they are lesser than and no more fit to be doctors then to be the ones mules carrying bodies for the “real” doctors. 

What I liked about this book was the fact that I felt totally drawn in with the atmosphere of London of the time and I can easily imagine the smells, smog and fog of those London streets. The cloying smell of the formaldehyde filling the air of the less then ideal classrooms. And in true gothic nature, this was slow burn of a tale. There were even some moments when I felt reading from Gabriel’s POV that the book was a wee bit slow. I wish we were able to see the story from Hyde’s POV. I was able to grab the audiobook from my library using the Overdrive app, heard at 1.25x, it was read slowly and I believe it was done this way to give homage to the original story with the gothic, eerie feel. Following along with Gabe as he tries to figure out why the interactions between himself and Hyde had such familiarity was pretty cool, knowing what was bound to happen. 

All in all it was an okay book, I like the diverse characters and seeing gay black men find happiness in each other at a time, holding hands, letters of love, it bought joy to my heart. Even if it brought them some heartache. I enjoyed this take on a classic and I would suggest that if you like this and wanted to read an adult gothic slow burn eerie feeling read, try Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno Garcia.
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Kalynn Bayron does it for me every time. I love her take and twist on mythology and stores we all know. This re-telling of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde takes the battle of being a black gay man in this time period. We follow Gabriel throughout his life who has to come to terms with (like his peers) because he is who he is he will never be able to rise in society. To add to this he develops a relationship with his classmate Henry and has to fight to hide his feeling and affections. Gabriel and Henry are not good at this and many people become aware of their relationship which causes them both to be expelled from their school of medicine. I felt for Henry and Gabriel and just wanted them to have their happily ever after. Even knowing the source material I still was hanging onto every word wondering what would happen next. The ending was poetic and I wish their was an epilogue to see how the consequences played out long term. 

This author is my definition of "If she writes it, I'm going to read it". Can't wait to read more!
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Kalynn Bayron did an amazing job on this retelling. The best way I can describe it is hauntingly beautiful.
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<I>"We cannot escape the nature of man's duality, but we can control its monstrous urges."</I>

<I>"But I was still there, as was Henry. We hadn't disappeared simply because polite London society wished us to be invisible. If I wasn't rendered invisible for loving Henry, I'd be rendered invisible because of the color of my skin. There was nothing polite about it. 
'We can exist,' I said to him. 'And we do. We endure because we have no other choice.'"</I>

TL;DR: A masterclass in intersectional retellings. A Gothic remix of R. L. Stevenson's classic <I>The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde</I> in which Bayron more explicitly defines the 'monstrosity' which Jekyll seeks to isolate (from himself) and in doing so, highlights the lives of queer, Black Victorian men.
<b><I>I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.</b></I>

Vibes: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, but queer-wash it and add a sprinkle of pixie dust. 

Genre: YA/NA Gothic Retelling / Queer Romance

Romance Meter: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 ♡
We lean *heavily* into the romance on this one. 
Character MVP: Eh...the characters fell a little flat for me (not that that's entirely Bayron's fault, as they're super vague in Stevenson's original work) -- but I'd have to say Lanyon. I was really rooting for him. 

Verdict: 4.5 stars, rounding up, mainly because I think this is exactly the type of book that should be assigned in schools.

Disclaimer #1: I love these YA remixes that Feivel & Friends are publishing -- I mean, yes, they're featuring some of my favorite YA authors at the moment, but more importantly, I think one of the biggest issues with high school English classes is the stubborn insistence on assigning canonical works by dead white men. That's not to say they aren't important -- but they can be out of touch for high schoolers, and I definitely grew to appreciate some of them more *after* high school (and college). So I think works like these do and should have a place in the classroom, because they get at the same ideas & themes as the canon, but in a more appealing and relatable way.

Disclaimer #2: I am a Victorian lit nerd -- I got one of my MAs in 19th Century Brit Lit -- so I 100% reread Stevenson's original before reading Bayron's remix. (Which I recommend, if only because it is such a quick read.)

For me, Stevenson's work is a 3-star read. 
One reason is simply because of the novella format -- I like novels, chunky stories, fully-fleshed out character arcs and full-circle plots. We don't really get that in the original. Stevenson -- like Mary Shelley in another famous Gothic science fiction novel -- relies heavily on narrative frameworks and letters/accounts to tell the story. Which means that after we hear Jekyll's story, the novella is over -- we don't learn what happens to Gabriel or anything after Jekyll's death.

Second -- and I know this is a deliberate ambiguity on Stevenson's part, so it doesn't necessarily detract from the story, but -- the nature of Jekyll's monstrosity is left unclear. Which, means it can be interpreted in a lot of different ways, based on what a reader wants it to me. Is Jekyll a drug addict (like Sherlock Holmes)? A murderer? Gay? A cannibal? Yes, to all of them. What Stevenson wanted to emphasize (I think) is just Man's (specifically males here, because there are NO female characters or domestic spaces in the original) capability for depravity, and how close we really are to backsliding evolutionarily. 

So, what I appreciated here was the way Bayron explicitly linked Jekyll's monstrosity to queerness, specifically the intersectionality of Black + Gay, which is about as silent a voice in literary history as you can get. (Her acknowledgments at the end are *well* worth the read.) 

The characters are all still there -- the story is told through Gabriel Utterson's POV, and his close friendship with Henry Jekyll and Lanyon are explained through their queerness. Poor Lanyon still dies after learning the truth about Jekyll and Hyde (how Victorian!), but Bayron does rewrite the ending of the story a bit, and shifts the villainy of the story onto Henry's father, the "Dr. Jekyll" of Stevenson's original. I wasn't sure I liked that bit at first, because I think you lose a little of the nuance in the villainy but (1) it's a clear way for Bayron to denounce homophobic parents and how they contribute to queer kids' internalizing their Otherness and villainy; and (2) by focusing on a family unit, Bayron reclaims the domestic spaces left out of Stevenson's original. (And, like many of Bayron's other stories, Henry's mother is the best ally.)

The one quibble I had -- and I had this with Bayron's other retelling, [book:Cinderella Is Dead|43900612] -- is that Bayron doesn't spend much time in developing Henry and Gabriel's relationship. A few pages on their love for each other, and then they're torn apart and the real action of the story begins. I wish we had spent a bit more time with them, even quiet moments, despite how difficult it would have been for them to spend time together, historically. Instead, much of the relationship is developed over the course of the letters, and you just kinda have to accept it. I think this is why Bayron's relationship in This Poison Heart worked better -- she had the full space of a duology to develop it.
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As some one who has never read the original JEKYLL & HYDE (but I am familiar with the tale), this book was such an amazing look at the way being “different” was viewed in the time. For the original Jekyll, and for our dear Henry, that different-ness was being who one is — gay. 

This book was an absolute triumph in its unapologetic Blackness, queerness, and the author’s handle on such matters is evident. Gabriel Utterson is all of us — the outsider just trying their best day by day. And just like he did, we have to keep going. Keep asking questions, keep living life out loud.
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Book Review of My Dear Henry by Kalynn Bayron

Cover Story: Portrait, Interruptus
BFF Charm: Let Me Love You
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: Of the Era
Bonus Factor: Queer Representation
Anti-Bonus Factors: Predators, Conversion Therapy, Sexual Assault, Queerphobia. Racism … ; Dan Scott Award for Awful Parenting
Relationship Status: I’ll Be Your Beard

Content Warning: Bayron includes this at the beginning of My Dear Henry: “This book contains references to racism and queerphobia in the context of the late nineteenth century, instances of sexual harassment, assault, attempted sexual assault, and fictional elements reminiscent of conversion therapy.”

Cover Story: Portrait, Interruptus
I can imagine the photographer of this portrait was quite unhappy when the candles started smoking, obscuring the face of this very handsome and dapper young gentleman. (For the story within, however, it’s just the right amount of spooky.)

The Deal: 
Gabriel Utterson doesn’t want to be a doctor, but his father wants nothing more than for him to make a place for himself in the world. But as a young black man in the 1880s, making a place as a medical professional means doing the drudge work for actual doctors, or finding a marginalized community somewhere in the country in need of a doctor—certainly not living and working in the city or being a part of London society. But he goes off to school anyway, wanting to make his father proud.

There, he meets Henry Jekyll, a fellow medical student who makes his heart race, and who might just feel the same. And Gabriel begins to think that being a doctor might not be so bad, after all.

BFF Charm: Let Me Love You
Gabriel is a sweet, caring, dedicated boy who deserves so much more than his circumstances allow. Not only is he Black in 1880s London, but he’s also queer. He has so many prejudices stacked against him, but he rarely wavers in being true to himself, even when bad things happen because of it. I wanted nothing more than to wrap Gabrial up in a big hug and let him cry it out on my shoulder. And then go throttle the folks who put the ache in his heart.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Gabriel and Henry’s relationship seems typical for the 1880s—it starts with the two being friends, then sending letters over summer break that get progressively more passionate, then slowly giving in to said passion when they’re back at school, then breaking up due to societal pressures, then not seeing each other for months, then being concerned for the health of one of the people in the relationship, then thinking one person is hiding and/or seeing someone else, then realizing that something even more insidious is afoot, then discovering that the father of one of the people has done something abhorrent to rid their son of feelings, then one person saving the other from nearly killing themselves “for the greater good,” then recovering and reconnecting. Typical.

Talky Talk: Of the Era
I recently read two of Bayron’s other books (This Poison Heart and This Wicked Fate) back to back, and I got a feel for her writing style. My Dear Henry doesn’t read like one of her books at all, but that’s not a bad thing. In this book, Bayron emulates the style of a novel from the Victorian era, and does a bang-up job of it. My Dear Henry, which is a retelling/reimagining/remix (or whatever we’re calling it these days) of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, reads much like the original, with more formal language and dialogue that fits the era. 

London had a great many faces, some of which were unknown or, at the very least, unseen by the average Londoner. To be poor was to be frowned upon, stepped on. To be poor and Black was akin to being invisible.

A pang of anger knotted in my gut. What I would give to not see those terrible, twisted faces looking past me as they trampled me underfoot.

That said, Bayron has leaned into the aspects of the original story that—as she says in her author’s note—”convey society’s struggle with the negative, and often violent, perception of anyone considered ‘other.'” I got caught up in the story easily, but the content is terrible and hard and poignant. I’m not sure if Stevenson was a good dude, but I think he’d be proud of this take on his tale.

Bonus Factor: Queer Representation
The idea that queer folks—specifically queer Black folks—didn’t exist in certain eras of humanity is a laughable one, and Bayron does a great job of writing a story about gay boys in Victorian England that doesn’t feel totally fictional (although the whole Hyde bit is, obviously). She doesn’t shy away from showcasing the struggles queer folks might have experienced, but she also shows that not everyone was against the idea.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Predators, Conversion Therapy, Sexual Assault, Queerphobia. Racism …
I’ll point you to the Content Warning at the top of this review. There is a lot to dislike about the themes of this book, but that’s not to say that Bayron doesn’t include them in thoughtful and impactful ways. (i.e., she doesn’t just throw these terrible themes around for funsies).

Anti-Bonus Factor: Dan Scott Award for Awful Parenting
In a book filled with crappy adults (I’m specifically glaring at you, Sir Hannibal Hastings and Sir Danvers Carew, you shitty garbage ghouls), Henry’s father takes the cake. Imagine—just IMAGINE—trying to rid your child of something that you think is wrong with them through abusing them. Because you think it’ll help them in the long run. When in actuality, it’ll just make things easier for you and your perception in society, you selfish and hateful monster.

(I think you can guess my stance on real-life conversion “therapy.”)

Relationship Status: I’ll Be Your Beard
I might not be what you’re looking for in a romantic partner, Book, but I’d absolutely be willing to fake a relationship if it meant that you could be happy and safe in your real one.
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Trigger Warnings: Racism, homophobia, blood, violence, knife violence, death, murder, funeral, biphobia, bullying, cursing, abuse, gore, hate crime, police brutality, outing, alcohol, sexual harassment, classism, body horror, suicide attempt, sexual assault 

Representation: Black, Gay

My Dear Henry is a queer, YA retelling of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. It is 1885 in London and Gabriel has returned home after being expelled from medical school. Desperate to discover what's become of his best friend, Henry Jekyll, Gabriel takes to watching the Jekyll house. Enter Hyde, a strangely familiar young man with white hair and a magnetic charisma who claims to be friends with Henry. The secret behind Henry's apathy is only the first part of a deeper mystery that has begun to emerge. 

This finished copy was provided by the publisher as part of the Hear Our Voices tour. The eARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This was a great retelling of the classic Jekyll and Hyde. I love that the story was made queer and I thought the author did a great job honoring the original but still making it her own. I was so impressed by the author’s twist on the story. I loved the longing between Gabriel and Henry. The story was so inherently queer, which made it incredibly enjoyable. The story was also painfully honest and allowed the reader an opportunity to learn about the injustice experienced by others. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and think it’s a great read for everyone!
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am an avid fan of retellings and a big fan of Kalynn. I was highly excited to dive into this one. Overall, it was enjoyable. The creepy and mystery elements were done well. It kept my interest the whole time. I wasn’t a huge fan of the pacing and the development of the relationships Gabriel had with other characters. It didn’t feel natural at times. I still remain a huge fan of the mystery. It was done really well. Another solid retelling.
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While I typically love Kalynn Bayron’s work, My Dear Henry didn’t quite hit the mark for me. I liked Gabriel, the main character, quite a bit, and I can absolutely see what Bayron was intending to do with this book. For me as a reader, the pacing felt off throughout the story. The character development fell a little flat in parts, as well. 

I did think that this was a fascinating twist on the Jekyll and Hyde story, and I liked that it was still set in the early 1900s, rather than bringing it into the present. Having the main characters be queer Black men didn’t feel contrived or forced, and I felt deeply for both Gabriel and Henry throughout the story.
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I’ve been seeing My Dear Henry: A Jekyll & Hyde Remix all over most anticipated YA books list since art work was was first presented online! The cover was striking and a retelling of a classic story with black and LGBTQ+ representation intrigued me even further!

We meet Henry and Gabrielle as they begin school at the London School for Medical Studies. Being black students it’s immediately understood how unwanted they are in the space. However as their friendship blossoms and love flows naturally between them, it drives a fissure deeper between them and the rest of their school community.

I don’t want to tell too much of the plot because I do think the author did a fantastic job setting the scene of 1800s London and making us have natural care and concern for the characters…eventually rooting for their “forbidden and misunderstood” love. I think with the pacing the author used began to lose me half way through the book. 80% into the book we still hadn’t been given enough of what drove Henry and Gabrielle apart since that is essentially the overall conflict. Us knowing they aren’t together but watching Gabrielle chase his tail for as long as he did exhausted me as a reader. Thankfully my buy in was there and by the time I got to the conclusion I was rooting for reconciliation and a positive resolve for all involved!

I do think it’s important for historical fiction to include minority characters and for these books to revive all the hype and backing that historical fiction without minority characters recorded. For this audience I think this book is important, well written, exciting and I can’t wait to see more historical fiction from this author!!
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I was very excited to read this remix of Stevenson’s classic tale, but it did fall a little below my expectations. That is most likely because this is intended for a young adult audience and I wanted more horror elements to match the original tale. The real horror in this story is the reality of marginalized communities in England in the late nineteenth century. The author does not shy away from the blatant racism of the time period or the harassment that people of lower rank had to endure.

In regards to the Jekyll/Hyde story, that was a lot of fun. I was honestly very surprised with the way things turned out amongst the members the Jekyll family. 

The love story between Gabriel and Henry was so heartbreaking. You will definitely suffer with them both before the end. The other part of this story that I didn’t love was how much time these two spent apart and suffering alone.

Recommended for: young adults

Content warning: racism; homophobia; sexual harassment; assault; abusive parent

I received a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I’ve always found the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to be particularly fascinating, but Bayron delivered the queer, Black gothic retelling that I didn’t know that I desperately needed.

Bayron does an incredible job of making the reader fall in love with Henry and Gabriel all the while feeling the angst and yearning that comes from the forbidden love that Black boys are not granted in Victorian London. This one pulled at my heart strings so much, and I wanted nothing more to protect them both.

I think what makes this story even more striking is knowing that the bigoted and racist characters that we still in this story still exist and thrive almost 200 years later.

I honesty think where Bayron shines the most is being able to take a classic such as this and write it with such beautifully immersive words all while ensuring inclusion and giving the readers a twist that they won’t see coming!

Bayron is an auto-read/auto-buy author for me, and I can’t wait to devour more!

Thank you to Macmillan Children’s Pub and Macmillan Audio for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.
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