Mercury

( 1 )

Overview

August 31, 5:15 PM, French Hill, Nova Scotia: A girl named Tara is running. She runs through her nice neighborhood and up a road to the burned ruins of what was once a beautiful house—her family's house.

August 31, 1859, French Hill, Nova Scotia: A girl named Josey is picking blackberries with her friend Connie. As the girls gossip, a handsome stranger knocks on the door of Josey's house. His name is Asa, and with his coming, Josey's life—and ...

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Mercury

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Overview

August 31, 5:15 PM, French Hill, Nova Scotia: A girl named Tara is running. She runs through her nice neighborhood and up a road to the burned ruins of what was once a beautiful house—her family's house.

August 31, 1859, French Hill, Nova Scotia: A girl named Josey is picking blackberries with her friend Connie. As the girls gossip, a handsome stranger knocks on the door of Josey's house. His name is Asa, and with his coming, Josey's life—and later in time, Tara's as well—is about to change forever.

Because there is treasure in the woods that belong to Josey's family. Gold—an untold fortune. Asa has a secret way of finding it, and his partnership with Josey's father could make them all rich. But there is darkness in the woods, and in Asa. And in the present day, Tara, Josey's descendent, is about to discover the truth about what really happened in the family's past.

Eisner award winner Hope Larson weaves together history, romance, and a touch of her trademark magical realism in this remarkable graphic novel of how the past haunts a teenage girl's present.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
*"The beautifully rendered black-and-white drawings capture the gorgeous, magical, and mundane details of both time periods. The tales are by turns mystical, funny, suspenseful, and tender. Graphic novels make great fodder for voracious readers and offer encouragement to reluctant ones, and it is supremely satisfying to see yet another excellent girl-focused offering from Larson." —Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Set in Nova Scotia, this book relates two coming-of-age stories in tandem, showing how the past interweaves with the present. In the present, Tara and her mother have lost their old farmhouse in a fire, and Tara's mother is struggling to support them from far away while Tara lives with relatives. She loved the old house and wants to rebuild it, but her mother is pressured to find a job elsewhere. In 1859, Josey, Tara's ancestor, falls in love with a gold dowser who has convinced her father to open a mine. Her mother, who has supernatural sight, is sure that the dowser means no good. The stories collide as Tara goes searching for the gold said to have been hidden on her property, and Josey's tale reveals how it came to be hidden. Elements of the supernatural echo in both settings as Josey experiences the same visions her mother has and Tara discovers that she has a knack for dowsing. Though the end of the story leaves things hanging for Tara and her mother, the actions that the girl takes to gain control of her destiny suggest that she will find a way to achieve her goals. The storytelling, both in words and pictures, brilliantly offers details from Canadian history and modern life. The dialogue varies from funny to poignant. An excellent graphic novel, particularly for fans of Faith Erin Hicks's The War at Ellsmere (Slave Labor, 2008).—Alana Joli Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT
Publishers Weekly
Beginning with a quick historical progression through the fictional town of French Hill in Nova Scotia, from the wilderness of 1400 through soldiers in 1775 to one of the story's main characters going for a run in 2009, this visual history, with fascinating detail, sets up the alternating narrations of the book. One takes place in 2009 and tells the story of Tara, while the other, set in 1850, tells the story of a girl named Josey. That the two are linked by blood is evident. They're also each in possession of the same necklace, a small glass pendant containing a drop of mercury with the mysterious ability to prospect for gold. The stories alternate in quick succession, making it sometimes difficult to keep track of narrative threads as crushes, friendships, and parental conflicts develop in both time periods. Larson's drawings are full of motion and life, her characters' faces expressive, and she uses decorative details to illustrate emotions and ideas. Compared with the wonderful art, the story comes up short, with little action for much of the book, but readers may take pleasure instead in the book's atmospheric appeal and the manga-like illustration of fluttery emotional states. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)
VOYA - Kristin Fletcher-Spear
Two interconnected stories are the focus of this graphic novel in black-and-white. Tara, a teen who runs cross country, lives with her relatives in town after a fire destroys the family farm. Her story of integrating back into high school life after being home schooled for two years is the classic new-kid story line. She joins track, meets a boy, has misunderstanding with the boy, and then falls for the boy. The secondary historical story line features Josey, Tara's ancestor in 1859. Gold has been discovered on her farm by a handsome charmer named Mr. Curry. When her father disagrees with Mr. Curry, he is murdered and the gold disappears. The two stories merge as Tara uses Mr. Curry's mysterious necklace to find the missing gold. Larson's black-and-white artwork focuses primarily on the character's faces and expressions. The artwork defines the different time periods very well, using black backgrounds for the past. Josey's story line is stronger than Tara's. There is plenty of intrigue and family dynamics detailed in the dialogue and artwork to keep the reader entranced. Tara's plot is more insular, with only Tara being of much interest. Still there is enough momentum from the interconnected aspect to keep readers turning the pages. Libraries looking for quality one-volume graphic novels should consider this one a solid option. Reviewer: Kristin Fletcher-Spear
Kirkus Reviews
Lost treasure, mother love and misbegotten romance form the bases of this richly rewarding intergenerational graphic novel. Alternating chapters tell the story of Tara, a contemporary teen who is starting over after her house was destroyed by fire, and Josey, Tara's Canadian pioneer ancestor, who lived on the same piece of land 150 years ago. When a handsome stranger approaches Josey's family with an unbelievable offer, her mother's suspicion is aroused, leading to tragic results. Magical realism appears in the form of a necklace containing mercury that supposedly attracts gold and serves as a catalyst for change in both girls' lives. When fate brings the necklace to Tara, she is able to right prior wrongs and recover a hidden fortune that lays all the old ghosts to rest. Larson skillfully maintains suspense through a deliberate revealing of facts that eventually come full circle, much like the mythical necklace with its spherical pendant. Classic themes of love, family, betrayal and renewal combine to create multilayered historical fiction that perfectly illustrates how the past continues to influence the present. (Graphic historical fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416935889
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 4/6/2010
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 572,621
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Hope Larson is the author of Who Is AC? and the author-illustrator of Mercury, Chiggers, Gray Horses, and Salamander Dream, which Publishers Weekly named one of 2005's best comics. She won a 2007 Eisner Award, the highest honor for a comic artist. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles. You can visit her at HopeLarson.com.

Hope Larson is the author of Who Is AC? and the author-illustrator of Mercury, Chiggers, Gray Horses, and Salamander Dream, which Publishers Weekly named one of 2005's best comics. She won a 2007 Eisner Award, the highest honor for a comic artist. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles. You can visit her at HopeLarson.com.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com

    Are you looking for a graphic novel to try for the first time? Or you are already a fan of the genre? In either case, look no further than Hope Larson's MERCURY.

    MERCURY is a story told in two voices: Josephine and Tara. Separated by over 100 years, the two girls are connected far more than Tara could imagine.

    The story starts in the present. Tara is currently living with her aunt and cousin because the old farmhouse she had lived in with her mother has burned down. The fire has forced her mom to look elsewhere for work. So in the meantime, Tara is back at the school she attended until her mom started homeschooling her two years previously.

    In the past, Josephine's family is approached by a drifter, Asa. The traveling gentleman has discovered there is gold located on their farm. For a part of the profits, he is willing to help Josephine's father mine the gold.

    Tragedy happens both in the past and the present, but a mysterious necklace seems to hold the key to what happened before and could help Tara eliminate problems in the now.

    You may wonder where the title comes from. If you pick up MERCURY and give it a go, the mystery will be solved. Ms. Larson slowly builds the story until the ending starts to come together into a whirlwind of a crescendo. The plot is woven brilliantly. It took quite a few pages until I was able to predict the outcome. Which in my opinion is always a plus!

    The illustrations are creative and the distinction between the past and the present is clearly depicted. Even though the story is told in graphic form, there were moments clearly expressed showing budding romance, creepy environs, anger, mistrust, adventure, and any other myriad of feelings.

    MERCURY is not to be missed. It has put Hope Larson on my list of authors to watch.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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