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James, "Pride and Popularity" (reviewed by Tristi Pinkston) Options · View
jeffneedle
Posted: Sunday, January 22, 2012 10:02:15 PM

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Joined: 10/21/2007
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Review
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Title: Pride and Popularity
Author: Jenni James
Publisher: Inkberry Press
Genre: YA Contemporary
Year Published: 2011
Number of Pages: 238
Binding: Paperback
ISBN10: n/a
ISBN13: 978-0-9838293-0-0
Price: $11.99

Reviewed by Tristi Pinkston for the Association for Mormon Letters

Into a world teeming with teenage angst, vampires, demons, and dysfunctional families comes Jenni James, a new contemporary Young Adult author who wants to provide clean, uplifting reading material for teens--and has chosen Jane Austen's classics as her vehicle. Taking the six world-famous Austen novels and rewriting them, James is capitalizing on the Austen trend that has taken the literary market by storm, but she's doing it in a totally unique way--by bringing the stories into our day and age.

In this first installment of The Jane Austen Diaries, we meet Chloe Hart, a girl who despises popular things and popular people. She doesn't believe you should have to be "cool" to be liked--she wants everyone to have an equal chance at the good things in life. When totally hot and totally popular Taylor Anderson pays attention to her, she snubs him. He's only playing games with her head, and she refuses to be another in a long line of his girlfriends. But over time, as she gets to know him, she realizes that he really is perfect, and she wonders why she never saw it before.

Of course all the characters in “Pride and Prejudice” make an appearance. We see Jane reflected in the mild and thoughtful Alyssa, and Mr. Bingley is portrayed by the shy Zack. Charlotte Lucas is played by Chloe's friend Madison, and of course there must be a Wickham--what is this story without Wickham--aptly represented by Blake.

What this story has - a lot of personality, a way to introduce today's teens to the wonderfulness that is Jane Austen, a clean read appropriate for a reader of any age level, and many moments that made my heart go pitty-pat.

What I wished this story had - I felt that the Mr. Collins portion of the story could have been played up just a little bit more, and I would have liked more foreshadowing of the younger sister running off with the scurrilous Wickham. Both these instances, which were very central to the plot of the original “Pride and Prejudice,” were somewhat skimmed over in “Pride and Popularity.”

That said, it's easy for me to see why this book, and Jenni James, are becoming overnight sensations. I'm delighted to have a book on my shelf that I can hand over to my daughter without any hesitation--in fact, she read it before I did, and I had no doubt whatsoever that it was a safe read for her. What a nice change ... I can't do that at the library anymore.
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