Book Review: Pride and Popularity by Jenni James
Pride and Popularity
first book in The Jane Austen Diaries
by Jenni James
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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, New Mexico, 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.
Who could honestly say that I love Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice? I mean, I watched the 1995 BBC series, and pointed out that Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth are in The King's Speech; watched the 2005 Keira Knightley movie (and also pointed out that Mr. Darcy's a monk in The Pillars of the Earth); read the real one after that (and sported a British accent for awhile along with my roommates); and read every possible "sequel" thereafter.
So, Pride and Popularity is one of those various adaptations of a beloved classic. Yet I honestly thought, before I read it, that it was just going to be one of those YA books that are paying homage to P&P and would be boring and predictable. So, although I like to read them, I still have reservations.
I was surprised.
It was fast-paced but it was written just so that it won't feel like the story was hurried. It allowed the chance for characters to grow and stand in their own stories. Also, I would like to point out that even if the original characters were incarnated in one way or another, except for some characters, they and their stories were not in the same places and their roles were altered a little bit. And I liked that because it was refreshing.
For example, even though the Mr. Darcy here was an ideal person if you really get to know him, he was not the saint I thought he would be. He was a player for crying out loud. Of course, Elizabeth would scare you to death with her temper and her prejudice is really 20x more than the original's. Thank God, there were no typical Lydias or Kittys here or I would just have been irritated and annoyed. Chloe's two sisters were just normal and she got along with them well. But don't think that one of them was Jane. In addition, I also liked the fact that Mr. Wickham's character was never involved either with Chloe's sister (though it really came close - you got to love an irate older sister who would defend you from online stalkers) not with Taylor's sister (who was so sweet and any involvement with Blake aka Mr. Wickham would seriously gross me out).
All in all, I loved this book. Thank God my mind urged me to read it ever since I saw it (my mind was nagging me in-between meals, during class, when I was trying to research, etc.) and what do you know, I couldn't put it down (and seriously cut down my time making my paper).
I'm pleased to know that the sequel, Northanger Alibi, would also revolve around some of the characters from the first book.