August 15, 2010 | Graphic novels


Hope Larson
Atheneum Books For Young Readers
$12.99 (Paperback)
**** (out of five)

Hope Larson may not be a Canadian resident anymore, but it’s nice to see her time made a deep impression.

The Eisner Award-winning graphic novelist behind such fresh and fanciful works as Salamander Dream, Gray Horses and Chiggers lived in Nova Scotia for a good while with husband (and celebrated Scott Pilgrim creator) Bryan Lee O’Malley, inspiring the setting for her superb new book, Mercury.

Set in the fictional town of French Hill, N.S, Mercury weaves together the lives of Josey and Tara Fraser, two girls with a lot in common, in spite of the fact they were born 150 years apart. Each is coping with the complications of being a teenager, discovering young love and is surrounded by some rather unusual, perhaps even magical, influences.

Josey has fallen for a mysterious stranger who has promised to help her family unearth a hidden treasure on their farm. But can she truly trust him? And Tara finds herself drawn back to the same land a century and a half later with a strange feeling that she might solve her family’s current woes by helping clear up some past misdeeds.

With a mix of elegant art and well-chosen words, Larson crafts an intriguing tale of Canadiana, full of mystery and magic, almost a love letter to her life in the Great White North that may even help ease the blow of losing her and Mal, who have since relocated to her hometown of Asheville, N.C.

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