My Dear Henry: A Jekyll and Hyde Remix

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Industrial Age

My Dear Henry: A Jekyll & Hyde Remix
Author: Bayron, Kalynn
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Time Period: Industrial Age
Time Frame: 1883-1885
Geographic Area: Europe
Country: Great Britain
Topics: Victorian Era, Retelling, LGBTQ+
Genre: Fiction
Reading Age: Young Adult, Adult
Format: Novel
Published: 2023

Content Warning
homophobia, racism, sexual assault/harassment

World History > Industrial Age > LGBTQ+

In the Remixed Classics series, authors from marginalized backgrounds reinterpret classic works through their own cultural lens to subvert the overwhelming cishet, white, and male canon. This gothic YA remix of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde subverts the cishet white perspective of the original, starring a Black queer teen searching for the reason behind his best friend’s disappearance and the arrival of a magnetic stranger.

London, 1885. Gabriel Utterson, a 17-year-old law clerk, has returned to London for the first time since his life― and that of his dearest friend, Henry Jekyll―was derailed by a scandal that led to his and Henry's expulsion from the London Medical School. Whispers about the true nature of Gabriel and Henry's relationship have followed the boys for two years, and now Gabriel has a chance to start again.

But Gabriel doesn't want to move on, not without Henry. His friend has become distant and cold since the disastrous events of the prior spring, and now his letters have stopped altogether. Desperate to discover what's become of him, Gabriel takes to watching the Jekyll house.

In doing so, Gabriel meets Hyde, a a strangely familiar young man with white hair and a magnetic charisma. He claims to be friends with Henry, and Gabriel can't help but begin to grow jealous at their apparent closeness, especially as Henry continues to act like Gabriel means nothing to him.

But the secret behind Henry's apathy is only the first part of a deeper mystery that has begun to coalesce. Monsters of all kinds prowl within the London fog―and not all of them are out for blood...

Emily's Review

I admit, I have never actually read the original Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but it's so ingrained in our western culture, that I somehow just know the basics of the story. I was really intrigued to see what this remix did with the story, and it did not disappoint.

Bayron took what was originally just a creepy gothic story and made it into something relevant. She managed to address so many things - racism in Victorian England (because yes, there were Black people in Victorian England!), homophobia, and what it was like to be black and queer at that time.

I loved how devoted Gabriel was to Henry, I was rooting for their relationship the whole time. I also really enjoyed the ambiance of this story. The author really captured that dark gothic feeling, and between that and the angst of the protagonists, I just ate this story up.

And the ending! I really wasn't sure where this story was going to go, but I absolutely LOVE the way the author played with our expectations and gave us something fresh and new.

I am definitely going to need to read more in this Remixed Classics series if this is what I can expect!

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