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Mary John

Ana Pessoa · Bernardo P. Carvalho

I've been writing to you for weeks. I'm not really sure why. I'm not really sure what for. Who are you, Julio the Pirate? I keep thinking about our story. From the very beginning. From our first encounter. From the very first question: "Are you a boy or a girl?”
I am a girl because of you, Julio. I let my hair grow for you, I pierced my ears for you. I live and die for you. Every month when I get my period, I die a little bit and I think of you. You say: "You’re dead!" and I die. I throw myself on the floor.
And I don't want that anymore. I never want to die again, Julio. I want to live forever. Every minute of every hour of every day.

In a long letter addressed to Julio the Pirate, Mary John reflects on the childhood and teenage years spent on the little square where they both lived. 

Between sorrow and humour, Mary John organises her thoughts and emotions, gathering strength to inaugurate a new chapter of her story.

After 'Supergiant', Ana Pessoa returns with an intense story that magnificently captures adolescence, in a book illustrated by Bernardo P. Carvalho that will conquer all teenage readers and adults that appreciate great literary masterpieces. 

Recommended for readers from 14 years on.

– Listed on the White Ravens 2017 catalogue


© Rights sold: Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish (Latin America).

First edition: November 2016

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Mary John represents a massive leap, a perfect shot at the ownership of language and forbidden subjects. It is a juvenile romance very much out of the ordinary that makes its way into romantic seduction and discovering the body and sexuality, without sliding into a vulgar or pseudo-moral tone.
Carla Maia de Almeida, in “O Jardim Assombrado” blog, 09/01/2017 


What makes this novel a first class literary piece is the way it combines the singular with the universal. It dismisses any moral and mainstream socially accepted ideas, telling instead the story of the daughter of a broken marriage, who makes up an ideal special relationship with her neighbour best friend.
Andreia Brites, in “Blimunda” magazine, December 2016


Ana Pessoa once again surprises her readers with an intense, engaging and must-read story. It is a safe space where any teenager will see their reflection and, one that any adult should go and visit. 
“Hipopómatos na Lua” Blog, 22/12/2016


Ana Pessoa has paved a new path in Portuguese fiction, targeted at a young public. (…)
The book is more than an epistolary novel. In its essence, it ends up being a journal, as the letter stretches further through time and ends up swallowing this girl’s entire life – her longing for a place, a voice and a path of her own.
Ana Pessoa encloses all the echoes of this discovery process within a rich, flexible prose that breathes adventure. Nevertheless, it still sticks to a genuine tone, with believable dialogues that are accessible to their target audience (“14 and older”, as it says on the back cover). 
It is also a recommended for adults, whether as a way to return to their own youth or simply as a literary fulfillment.  
José Mário Silva, Expresso newspaper, 30/04/2017


The author is masterfully adept at describing the cosmos of maturing teens, with its challenges and dramas, turbulences, moments of happiness, disappointments, and catastrophes. She writes in an authentic language that captures the protagonists’ sense of life and closely orients itself to their pulse. In an astonishing way, her newest book does all this and more. “Mary John” sets itself apart from the author’s previous novels by its even more coherent storytelling, its undisguised, intense language, and the deep insight it offers into the emotional world of the protagonist and first-person narrator. Maria João, called Mary John, writes a single, long letter to Júlio “Pirata”, her first, unrequited love. She openly writes of friendship, longing, desire, and sexuality and the painful process of dealing with feelings such as rejection and loneliness.
White Ravens 2017 Catalogue


192 pages · 165 x 230 mm · ISBN: 9789898145772