M Is for Monster

Abrams ComicArts/Surely. Jun. 2022. 224p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781419762208. pap. $17.99. ISBN 9781419751974. .
Gr 7 Up–In a young teen-friendly graphic novel, Dutton provides a sweet tale of identity, family love, ambition, and grief. After the death of her sister, Maura, during a lab maneuver gone wrong, the young Frances Ai attempts to cope by reanimating her, Dr. Frankenstein-fashion. However, her creation, who ultimately chooses the name M, lacks Maura’s memories, both personal and scientific, and must rely on Maura’s ghost to keep her informed of Frances’s expectations. Blue washes across the Edwardian-esque imagery keep readers firmly rooted in the characters’ moods as Frances, M, and Maura all find a way to extract themselves from the past and move on, discovering that love can lead to acceptance in those temporarily caught in frustrated wishes.
VERDICT Dutton’s storytelling and art excel, making this a story with popular appeal that’s also bound to inspire deeper discussions about accepting the limitations of one’s personal control.

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