Review: My Dear Henry by Kalynn Bayron

My Dear Henry by Kalynn Bayron

My Dear Henry: A Jekyll and Hyde Remix
Kalynn Bayron
Feiwel & Friends
Published March 7, 2023

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About My Dear Henry

In this gothic YA remix of DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, a teen boy tries to discover the reason behind his best friend’s disappearance—and the arrival of a mysterious and magnetic stranger—in misty Victorian London.

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 expuslion 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…

My Dear Henry on Goodreads

My Review

I’ve read two other books by Kalynn Bayron before, one that I absolutely loved and another that I liked, so I was really interested to see where on that spectrum MY DEAR HENRY would fall.

The tone of the story drew me in pretty quickly. It reads in a style similar to the original story, but a little simpler and warmer, too. I liked that balance of a nod to the old with a fresh, accessible feeling, too.

Gabriel Utterson is a great character. I felt like he was easy to identify with and easy to root for. I also liked Henry Jekyll and Hyde, too. So, the characters pulled me into the story as well.

The author lists a content warning at the opening of the book, letting readers know that a medical experiment with an effect similar to conversion therapy takes place within the story. While that part of the story is heartbreaking, I loved that there are voices challenging the director and participant.

I thought the story fit very well within this particular reimagining, and that it’s a very timely version. The writing makes me want to read more work by this author– I think I have THIS POISON HEART on my shelf, but I haven’t read it yet. This book may be the push I needed to change that!

I think readers who enjoy reimagined classics or dark Victorian stories should definitely check this one out.

My Dear Henry on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Gabriel and Henry are both Black and gay.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between two boys.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
Some homophobic statements. References to sexual assault and attempted sexual assault. Forced participation in a medical experiment meant to repress feelings of same gender attraction.

Drug Content
A man makes an elixir from purple flowers.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of MY DEAR HENRY in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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