Goodreads: The Curie Society
Series: None (yet)
Age Category: Young Adult Graphic Novel
Published: April 27, 2021
A covert team of young women–members of the Curie society, an elite organization dedicated to women in STEM–undertake high-stakes missions to save the world.
An action-adventure original graphic novel, The Curie Society follows a team of young women recruited by an elite secret society–originally founded by Marie Curie–with the mission of supporting the most brilliant female scientists in the world. The heroines of the Curie Society use their smarts, gumption, and cutting-edge technology to protect the world from rogue scientists with nefarious plans. Readers can follow recruits Simone, Taj, and Maya as they decipher secret codes, clone extinct animals, develop autonomous robots, and go on high-stakes missions.
The Curie Society is an exciting and inspirational graphic novel that invites readers to see the potential of women in STEM and the potential of STEM to improve the world. While there was a risk the story could have been a bit too “on the nose” with its “women can be smart scientists, too!” message, the overall effect is not preachy but genuinely uplifting and celebratory, and the fact that the book includes actual science and discussion of science and formulas, rather than hand wavy explanations, is a big plus.
I do think The Curie Society suffers from one flaw I find affects a lot of graphic novels — which is that while the art and the premise and the side stories are all excellent, the overarching plot is a bit predictable and lackluster. The general gist is that the three protagonists (conveniently all roommates at college) need to go on a secret mission to stop some bad guys, but who the bad guys are and what their motives are is signaled practically from the start of the book.
Luckily, I enjoyed the book for other things. Each protagonist has her strengths (and flaws), and it’s fun seeing them as capable individuals (except the one who keeps flipping out and screaming in the face of danger!) and as a team. They do a good job of representing the diversity of students one finds at a college, in terms of class, race, interests, etc. They come together through the Curie Society but also through their excitement for learning, which gives the story some great college vibes, for readers looking for that in YA.
I also love that, though I did find the plot predictable, this does really read like a fully fleshed out story, which is not true of all the graphic novels I’ve tried. A lot of thought clearly went into all the details, the characters and their relationships, the art, the backstory, the potential future stories, etc.
This is just such a fun and smart read that I think it can find an audience in nearly anyone, but of course you’ll love it most if you like stories about STEM and college and secret societies saving the world.