This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I was very eager to read this book and the rest of the series for that matter because it took Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice tale, dusted it off and brought it into the twenty-first century. It now takes the form of a YA Contemporary Romance that combines the new with the tried and true. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was actually a bit nervous even while curiosity raged so I was delighted to discover that I liked it for the most part. It was fun to see how the story both followed the P&P script and deviated a little in ways that made sense.
Lizzy Egmont returns for her junior year at Jane Austen Academy to discover that change is in the air and in her book, it’s all bad. The school has new anonymous owners, her nemesis of a teacher is now the principal, and her bestie seems to be acting odd and withdrawn though that might be because Lizzy sold her out by trading their chance to room together to become the managing editor of the school paper. Then there is the bit she overheard with Anne about the school getting a name change which will just be the worst. However, the biggest travesty in her mind is that the all girls’ school is now infested with boys making up half of the school population. And none of the boys are half so infuriating as Dante, the arrogant hottie who has made his disdain for Lizzy and everything else clear. Between following her journalistic instincts to smell out a story about Dante’s little sister, attempting a bit of matchmaking with Anne and Rick to get them back together, nosing out who the new owners are and teaming up with Anne to thwart Bergie, Lizzy has a full plate. So why do her thoughts keep drifting to Dante the guy who can’t stand her and always stares at her?
The storyline was fun and light for the most part. This is no deep character piece or angst-ridden plot. Lizzy is the narrator and I have to say her voice, behaviors, thoughts and words were very believable for a teen of her age. Truthfully, she annoyed me at first. I wanted to laugh when she called another girl a drama queen because that was what I had been thinking about Lizzy from page one. She has this totally skewed view of everything, but I do applaud her tenacity, compassion and zeal. She has a lot of growing to do and I warmed to her when I saw her start to open her eyes and really see things clearly as the story progressed. I liked how the spotlight was on the friendships and other connections and that it wasn’t just one of those numerous stories where the focus of the romance pushes everything else away. Speaking of romances, this story gives two romances for the price of one with that secondary one going on between Anne and Rick.
That brings me to the connection of this story and how it is loosely based on the original Pride and Prejudice. Lizzy and Dante’s story line is obviously that of Lizzy and Darcy. Lizzy has the beginnings of attraction to Dante and a curiosity about him until his mannerisms and his snubs drive her away. Then later, when she softens toward him, his secrets put a huge wedge between them which is ironic because Lizzy’s secrets put a wedge between her and her best friend too forcing Lizzy to reassess what really has her miffed about Dante. The only niggle I really have is that things were rushed a bit in the end and the end came abruptly for me. I’m going to take a wait and see about this since it’s a series and maybe the next books offer the closure and tying up of loose ends that I need.
As a YA, this is one that could be put safely into the hands of even the youngest teen as it is all sweetness with not a hint of language, violence or sex.
I would recommend this one to those who enjoy YA Sweet Contemporary Romance and those who enjoy Jane Austen novel retellings.
My thanks to Net Galley and Cecilia Gray for the opportunity to read and review this book.