Cover Image: Mercury Boys

Mercury Boys

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Member Reviews

A lot of the interpersonal relationships felt underdeveloped and the pacing was not consistent. I feel like if they had been more fleshed out I would have enjoyed this book a lot more!
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I can see this appealing to high school mystery and historical fiction readers. I did feel like their are many unanswered questions left at the end.
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The premise of this book had me so excited to read it. I did still live the unique concept. What lost it for me is the petty squabbling between the girls, it really pulled me away from what should have been a bonding experience, because if this I found most of the characters unlikable. I also wish that some outcomes could have been better.
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An extremely intriguing plot summary resulted in a good read that overall I didn't feel as much connection with as I would have liked.
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This book has such an intriguing premise that, unfortunately, doesn't reach its full potential.  I wanted so much more from the girl's visits to their "Mercury Boys".  Instead, the book focuses on the high school girls' toxic relationships with each other.  The only character I found likable was Lila, who is horribly used by the other four girls.  The book wasn't at all what I thought it would be and leaves you with way too many unanswered questions.

Thank you to NetGalley and Soho Teen for access to this arc.
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Unique and different and well written and highly enjoyable. Thr only thing im sad about is the pictures didnt show up on my kindle i feel like that would have made me love the story even more so i picture everything in my head i have nothing bad to say about this book because it did set well with me and made me indulge into the book and hels ny interest.
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First of all, thanks for Soho Press and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for a honest review! 

I had a lot of hopes for this book because everything about it sounded very intriguing and interesting, but I literally had to force myself to keep going at several points. Even though I still can see the potential with the synopsis, the delivery wasn't good at all. 

Many plot points lacked depth and explanation, the friendships were too shallow and the way the author tried to imitate teenage friendships was just a failure- reading the text messages almost gave me a stroke. 

This book could've been one of my favorite reads this year and it really did made me excited from time to time (though that didn't happen until I was almost halfway done with it) but I was still not very impressed. Many questions were left unanswered as well. Like I stated earlier, it lacked explanation and depth which made me question what I was reading. 

And for the characters; every character from this book excluding Lila (because she was literally the only sane one out of all of them and it was obvious that Saskia and the others were just using her) was a bore and irritating to read. I didn't feel a connection to any of them or their friendships at any given point which is surprising because I started this book thinking that "female friendships" was somewhat an important topic but it really didn't do a good job. 

As for the main character, she barely got any character development and the her ending wasn't satisfactory at all. The author could've handled her a lot better than she have, especially the fact that she's biracial... I know that Chandra Prasad is biracial herself but I don't think she's Black which makes certain descriptions and parts in this book very odd and unnecessary, maybe even problematic. As much as I understood she didn't really care about the rep because it wasn't even average, it was just bad. 

I'm rating this book 2 stars because of Lila and the potential it had. I expected so much better from this book.
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Trigger warnings: infidelity, blood / gore, violence, amputation, near drowning, micro aggressions, slut shaming. 

I had such high expectations for this book because the synopsis sounded incredible - characters discovering a way to travel back in time using daguerreotypes of long lost boys in the past and forming a secret club of sorts. This element of the novel was definitely the most compelling aspect and I enjoyed how each girl; Saskia, Lila, Paige, Sara Beth and Adrienne, met their respective ''mercury boy' and had such different experiences. I also thought the slowly creeping tension and foreboding as the girls grow closer and things start getting more dark and twisted was great. 

While the core idea was interesting and certainly unique - none of the characters or relationships were well developed enough to really grip me and immerse me in the story. Even the supposed romances were so flat - other than the fact that the boys are attractive? there's literally nothing else to characterise them. One major relationship which just struck me as so flat was the dynamic between Saskia and her mom, who she is currently estranged from after her mom had an affair and engaged in a relationship with another man and chose to divorce Saskia's dad. I feel like there's such a simplistic portrayal of the mother / daughter relationship and it's like her mom makes one mistake and is tossed to the curb, it would have been so much more realistic had the author explored the complexities of this relationship and how hard this situation can be, instead of this over simplified 'good vs bad' portrayal. There's this bizarre scene where Saskia's mom calls her and wants her to move back to Arizona to babysit once she has another child and it's just so odd and unnecessary. 

It all lacked depth and was so anti climactic, especially when it came to the build up to the end and the actual ending itself. The whole time travel via old photographs isn't explained or touched upon other than the fact that they can all somehow do it? and there's a few throwaway comments suggesting it could be as a result of some sort of chemical plant that is in the town or mass hysteria between the girls but I found this to be such a lazy way to tie that all up. This was so unfortunate because I really wanted to like this book more. 

On top of the lack of depth, there were some moments which felt a bit uncomfortable to me in regards to the on page rep of Saskia, our biracial teen protagonist. While the author is biracial herself - from what I could find out online and please correct me if I'm wrong but Chandra Prasad isn't a Black woman and there's certain moments in the novel in regards to Saskia which just didn't sit right with me. One instance is where Saskia's hair is described as 'like 'she'd stuck her finger in an electrical socket - twice' in direct comparison to another characters artfully mussed 'rockstar' hair and another moment where two white characters are mentioned as being ' almost as dark as she was' after being out in the sun. Additionally there's another moment where a character says something along the lines of Saskia being her 'long lost Black twin' and she (Saskia) doesn't know whether to laugh or blush? Odd choices all round honestly. I don't know if this is just me but it just didn't sit well and I thought it was worth mentioning because these moments just didn't feel right one bit. 

Overall, I didn't really enjoy this book but appreciated the unique time travel plot, it's just a shame it didn't live up to how great the synopsis sounded.
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Starting off I wasn't sure if this book was for me but I was able to get invested the more I delved into it. The development of the story was amazing as things got more intense and the characters were pushed more and more until a surprising truth gets revealed even I didn't expect. Although I do wish the conclusion was a little more interesting and satisfying. Things ended very neatly and it felt as though not much has changed since the beginning of the novel despite everything that has happened. Despite the conclusion feeling a little lackluster I did enjoy reading this story and its blend between the historical world and ours was done beautifully.
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Thank you to Soho Press and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Mercury Boys by Chandra Prasad is an innovative YA fantasy novel about a group of girls who can speak to the boys in old photos called daguerreotypes when they're dreaming.  Firstly, I think it's so important to support #ownvoices authors in YA fiction right now.  To the best of my knowledge, both the author and Saskia, the main character, are mixed-race.  Saskia specifically is half-white and half-black, which comes into play when she "travels" back in time to the days of slavery. through the daguerreotypes.  I am so excited to be able to support this book, and I truly believe that we need more diversity in YA fantasy and YA fiction books in general.

Secondly, this book is amazing and exciting in its own right.  I've never read anything with a concept like this before.  Being able to speak to the boys in daguerreotypes is a crazy new idea, and I couldn't stop reading.  It reminded me a bit of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, but more interesting because the girls actually fall in love with the people in the photos.  I had to find out how Saskia and the other girls were able to do it and what the consequences for talking to people from the past would be.  Here's an excerpt from the beginning of the book when Saskia "sees" Robert Cornelius for the first time:

"She clicked on "images," not expecting much, but getting an eyeful. The same grainy, black-and-white photo appeared over and over again.  "Robert Cornelius: Self-Portrait," the captions read.  Here was a striking young man with an intense, arresting stare. His arms were crossed defiantly. The collar of his dark coat was turned up.  He looked, frankly, like a nineteenth-century badass.
She heard a whistle from behind.
...
"He's not bad for a dead guy," Lila said, gazing at Robert Cornelius.  "He is dead, right?"

And here is an excerpt from later on, after Saskia sees Robert Cornelius "for real" and talks to him in her dreams:

"Her heart was beating so hard she could feel it hammering against her chest. She couldn't recall ever remembering a dream in such detail. Such exquisite and alarming detail. If she shut her eyes, she could still see the lamps and statues. She could still smell the noxious odor of burning whale oil. She had memorized the exact color of Robert Cornelius's eyes; green-gray, like the New Haven Harbor.
...
Growing more worried  by the second, she texted LIla.
S: ha weirdest dream. EVER. met Cornelius. woke up sweaty. mercury poisoning?"

I can't emphasize enough have cool I think the concept of Mercury Boys is. Wouldn't a boy from the past be a better boyfriend?  One of the characters hilariously put it best when they said that boys nowadays only want to play video games. I enjoyed reading this book so much.  I couldn't put it down and finished it in one day.  The romance, the action, and the fantasy all blended together seamlessly into a cohesive and interesting narrative. I can't wait to see what Chandra Prasad comes up with, and I will read whatever she writes next.  

Overall, Mercury Boys is an amazing new YA fantasy novel that is perfect for readers who are more used to YA romance and contemporary fiction and new to YA fantasy.  If the description or the excerpts in my review above seem intriguing to you, you won't regret checking out this book when it comes out in August!
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