Book review ~ Mercury Boys, Chandra Prasad

Mercury Boys
: Chandra Prasad
Genre : Contemporary/Paranormal
Pages : 360
Publisher : Soho Teen
Release date : 3rd August 2021

After her life is upended by divorce and a cross-country move, 16-year-old Saskia Brown feels like an outsider at her new school—not only is she a transplant, she’s biracial in a population of mostly white students. One day while visiting her only friend at her part-time library job, Saskia encounters a vial of liquid mercury, then touches an old daguerreotype—the precursor of the modern-day photograph—and makes a startling discovery. She is somehow able to visit the man in the portrait: Robert Cornelius, a brilliant young inventor from the nineteenth century. The hitch: she can see him only in her dreams.

Saskia shares her revelation with some classmates, hoping to find connection and friendship among strangers. Under her guidance, the other girls steal portraits of young men from a local college’s daguerreotype collection and try the dangerous experiment for themselves. Soon, they each form a bond with their own “Mercury Boy,” from an injured Union soldier to a charming pickpocket in New York City.

At night, the girls visit the boys in their dreams. During the day, they hold clandestine meetings of their new secret society. At first, the Mercury Boys Club is a thrilling diversion from their troubled everyday lives, but it’s not long before jealousy, violence, and secrets threaten everything the girls hold dear.

Disturbing & fascinating.

Those are the first words that come to mind after reading this. Reading the summary, I had no idea where the plot was going to take me. And to be fair, I still have no idea after reading it. I mean, we have this group of girls who suddenly are able to meet long dead people by touching/eating mercury and holding a daguerrotype of them. Saskia, new student at her school befriends Lila, another student who also works at the archives. There, after an encounter with the daguerrotype of a handsome man from the 1800 and a vial of mercury, she is suddenly able to talk to him in her dreams. Saskia then develops an obsession for that man, and embarks Lila and some other friends in her theories.

So, I really picked this book because of its concept. It’s so unique! I loved the mystery of understanding how this all works. How can Saskia fall in love with a man who died over 100 years ago? How do the daguerrotypes and mercury work? I was really curious.

In the book itself, we get to read more about the interactions between the girls, and their own adventures with what they call their “Mercury Boys”. We merely are brought into this social circle, watching how far the group of friends is willing to take the whole dead boyfriend thing. I must say this is something which was interesting to read. The tension kept building and building! There is this horrible want to know just how far it can go before it blows up!

And this is where I got a little disappointed. I didn’t see where the book was taking me. There was no real BANG at the end. I was just like “oh… That’s it?”. I didn’t get the answers I was looking for, and in the end, I was left somewhat confused. It feels like it’s not finished. Like there’s more to know.

I also strongly hated the girls around Saskia (except Lila, she’s a great friend!). I know they are supposed to be a little cliché of teenage girls, but this was sometimes painful to read. I also felt they were a little odd for accepting the whole eating mercury and dating dead guys so easily, but well…

Overall, it was a VERY captivating book because it’s so original and unique, but it left me with many unanswered questioned. It made me super frustrated and some things didn’t make too much sense for me. But it still caught my interest by how disturbing and fascinating it is? It’s actually tough to put words on it. If you like books that stick out from the rest, you might want to try this!

That’s it for today! Thank you for reading 🙂
See you soon,
Jade ❤

2 thoughts on “Book review ~ Mercury Boys, Chandra Prasad

  1. Would someone be a good or bad friend for accepting the dead guy dating AND the mercury eating? Because… it seems like a grey area 😂


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