Todays Book Recommendation YA Edition is The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd.
This wonderful young adult novel takes the classic story The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G Wells and imagines it from the point of view of the Doctor's daughter. It begins after Dr. Moreau has been discovered and proclaimed as a madman for his experimentation on animals. While they were unable to truly prove what the doctor was up to, it caused enough of a scandal to disgrace his daughter Lydia. However, she has managed to scrap together some semblance of a normal life working as a maid. All of this changes when Lydia discovers that her father is not only alive but has continued his experiments on a remote tropical island she is determined to seek him out and find out if the rumors are true.
In the first few pages Lydia proves that she is a force to be reckoned with. She isn't afraid to stand up for herself despite the limitations imposed on her by the London society she lives in. When she arrives on the island she is reunited with a childhood companion and also saves a man adrift at sea. This gives Shepherd a love triangle to play with which might sound like typical young adult content. What makes this stand out is the back drop of her father's island which is inhabited by strange half man and half animal servants. Along with the threat of an escaped creature turned violent. Shepherd manages to weave the story of madness along side the love story with such ease that they compliment each other rather than detract.
I was instantly taken with the novel. At one point while reading I was perched on the edge of my seat and hyperventilating. Shepherd's writing had pulled my in so that I felt like I was right there on the island with Lydia and that the danger she was in was right outside my own bedroom door. The only thing more distressing would've been if someone at knocked on my door. Eeep!
It also examines some of the themes that another of my favorite novels, Frankenstein, does. A question of who is really the monster here and who is the man? Who is the mad man and who is the genius? Do good intentions justify the means? Ultimately Lydia realizes that she has to stop her father's experiments but she eventually discovers that his madness may have stretched as far as her own blood.