Critically acclaimed author Chandra Prasad has written a new book, “Mercury Boys” (August 3, 2021, SoHo Teen/Penguin), an evocative Young Adult novel with a historical twist that’s filled with first loves, the struggle to adapt, and the imperious world of young female friendships. School Library Journal recommends the novel for libraries serving teens, writing, “the novel blends history, romance, friendship, and a touch of magic into a compelling story.” Prasad is also listed as a recommended author for students in Grades 9-12 in the suggested summer reading list compiled for the Connecticut State Department of Education.
16-year-old Saskia Brown finds herself struggling to fit into her new school not only as a transplant, but also as a biracial teen in a predominantly white town. However, she finds solace in her only friend, Lila, and a tattered old daguerreotype of Robert Cornelius, a brilliant young inventor from the nineteenth century. While visiting Lila at a local university library, Saskia does something dangerous–she touches a vial of liquid mercury. That same night she has a dream that she’s transported to the 1800s and meets Robert Cornelius himself–a dream so realistic she wonders if maybe she’s stumbled upon a way to time travel.
Excited for her new friendship and the potential to make more friends, she shares her startling discovery with Paige Sampras, the most popular girl in school. Their new group steals vials of liquid mercury and various daguerreotypes to form the Mercury Boys Club, a secret society in which girls visit their “forever boyfriends” at night and divulge their juicy adventures the next day. At first, the Mercury Boys Club yields camaraderie and sisterhood, but soon it takes a turn for the worse as harsh rules are enforced and cruel initiations demanded. It’s not long before casual friendships turn ugly and jealous, and Saskia faces unexpected peril within her new friend group.
With the unexpected and creative force of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” and the edgy, suspenseful impact of “The Fever”, “Mercury Boys” is a gripping, timely, and compelling YA adventure that explores the all too obscure in-betweens that exist between race, gender, and identity, past and present, and childhood and adulthood.
Chandra Prasad is the author of the critically acclaimed novels “On Borrowed Wings”, “Death of a Circus”, “Breathe the Sky”, and “Damselfly”, a female-driven young adult text used both individually in classrooms and in parallel with “Lord of the Flies.” Prasad is also the editor of—and a contributor to—“Mixed”, the first-ever anthology of short stories on the multiracial experience. Being half-Asian herself, Prasad has long acknowledged the dearth of significant mixed-race characters in literature, especially for teens and children, and has sought to bring awareness to this issue. For this reason, Prasad chose multiracial protagonists for both her YA novels, “Damselfly” and “Mercury Boys”.
Prasad’s shorter works have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Week, and Teen Voices. She is also a contributor to New Haven Noir, a short story anthology edited by Amy Bloom, and the author of a how-to guide for young jobseekers. A graduate of Yale, Prasad is currently working on several books and writing projects. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, sons, and assorted pets. Find out more at https://chandraprasad.com/. Follow Chandra on social media: Twitter: @; Instagram: @chandraprasadbooks; TikTok: @chandraprasadbooks.