Mercury Boys: Young Adult Fantasy & its Issues w/ Chandra Prasad

Dropping In

Oct 1 2021 • 1 hr

OFTEN USING HISTORY AS A LENS TO GAIN INSIGHT INTO THE ROLES GENDER AND RACE PLAY IN SELF-DETERMINATION, CHANDRA CREATES VIVID CHARACTERS IN STORIES THAT ENGAGE READERS AND INSPIRE DISCUSSION. Prasad says, “I knew from an early age, eleven or twelve, that I wanted to be an author. When I was a child, one of my favorite activities was spending quiet hours in my room writing short stories (come to think of it, that is still one of my favorite activities). I also reveled in make-believe games with my two brothers; I remember pretending to be pirates and Ghostbusters and jewel thieves and deep-sea divers. Those early, fanciful imaginings no doubt gave me creative fodder for the books that I’ve written, and the books that I hope are still to come.” 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. The other girls steal portraits 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 or Girl 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. Drop In with us to find out what happens and whether there is a real life happy ending ~