Saturday, March 2, 2013

Review: Pride and Popularity by Jenni James

Hi all!

A retelling of a classic.




Author: Jenni James
Series: The Jane Austen Diaries #1
Release date: 7th of May 2011
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 240 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

Taylor always gets what he wants—until now.

Chloe Elizabeth Hart despises the conceited antics of the popular crowd, or more importantly, one very annoying self-possessed guy, Taylor Anderson, who seems determined to make her the president of his fan club. As if! Every girl in the whole city of Farmington, NM, is in love with him, but he seems to be only interested in Chloe.

This modern high school adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is a battle of wits as Chloe desperately tries to remain the only girl who can avoid the inevitable—falling for Taylor.

Review:

Ok, I LOVE Pride and Prejudice, and anything that bears the slightest hint of retelling the story, I always can’t wait to get my hands on. This was also the case with this book. And while the potential was there, and to some extent all my expectations were fulfilled, there were also many aspects I didn’t quite like.

I thought the way the original PP plot was accommodated and realized in the new context was quite nicely done, everything was recognizable, but still exciting and fresh. I like that this was not a direct retelling, but also took liberties to play with the plot and characters to make them both old and new. While it felt slightly slow in the beginning, it got quite gripping after the “first rejection.” And I have to bring out that I absolutely adored the “finally coming together” scene, it was sweet and swoony.

I also imagine this as a pleasant and fun introduction to the actual PP book for young girls. In their later year it’s easier then to get to the grand finale (original).

From the aspects I wasn’t quite wild about: the narrative and its characters (mostly the girls) were at times too naive, childish and simplistic. I guess I’m not really the primary target audience so maybe that’s why I couldn’t really feel this story 100% and thought the characters too juvenile. I felt that the latter were more 13/14 than 17/18 years old. But then again I can’t really judge this story for being cute, clean, simple and just sunny, mushy, cotton-candy-sweet and perfect for young readers.

One more quibble: there wasn’t enough back-story or description to various plot devices and characters. I would have liked to see more of Chloe dance abilities and what made her so amazing at it, the younger sister Cassidy, why Chloe disliked Taylor to that degree, etc.

Characters:

Chloe was a nice, opinionated and spunky girl. She wasn’t near the original Elizabeth’s level of awesomeness, but she was an ok heroine. She was willing to help her friends, was generally sweet and nice to everyone (except Taylor of course) and had a job doing something she was passionate about. I didn’t, however, like her often overreacting and constantly coming to conclusion without much evidence, all this mostly related to Taylor. I felt she acted like a brat in regards to him initially and it wasn’t justifiable in regards to his behavior since she didn’t have any substantial evidence on why she perceived him being so incredibly “bad.” So in the end she only made herself look unreasonable because of that.

Taylor wasn’t a total modern day replica of Darcy, he was socially and personality wise quite different, which I liked about him. Everyone saw him (and he actually was) as someone wholesome and saintly, except for Chloe, but she was very irrational in regards to him anyway. He was a really really nice guy (ok, so he dated a lot but come on) and I really really liked him. He was great boyfriend material.

I couldn’t really stand Chloe’s parents, they had their highs and lows, but they came across too unexplainably harsh at times. In addition, her mother’s matchmaking with Collin gave me the creeps, why would a modern mom go to such lengths and use force?

Overall:

This is fluffy and sweet book for younger girls who I bet will gobble it up. I felt slightly old for this even tough it was quite enjoyable. This is a quick and easy read. I’m also thinking of picking up other Jane Austin novel retellings from the same author, they seem like fun.



3 stars!


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2 comments:

  1. I lurve a good PP remake but this one sounds a little too young for me - agree with you though that it might be a good intro to PP for younger readers :-)

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  2. I'm waiting for the upcoming Spies and Prejudice and keep my fingers and toes crossed that it's going to turn out awesome. Till then, this book was a fun read to keep the PP spark alive, but not if your are looking for something mindblowingly great :) Especially if you're not in your teens anymore.

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