Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood

Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood
Abby McDonald
Candlewick, 2013

We all know I'm a fan of Jane Austen and the realm of Austenesque literature/paraliterature (what I label "Austenia" here). We also know I'm a fan of contemporary YA. Combine the two, and it's safe to assume I'm going to enjoy the read. That was definitely the case in Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood.

This contemp take on Sense & Sensibility throws some interesting twists into the original storyline, but I never got the feeling anything was "missing." In fact, I think McDonald did a masterful job of transferring a very time-and-culture-specific situation into a contemporary, relatable story. And the characters are marvelous. Simply marvelous. Grace is an Elinor that I think people will relate to more than Austen's original, and Hallie is a spot-on imagining of a twenty-first century Marianne. With cellphones and the internet, and being set in Hollywood (hello!), the whole Elinor/Edward relationship between Grace and Theo develops more "naturally", and seems more plausible. Who hasn't wondered what a guy means when he texts/emails so-and-so, or stops texting/emailing after such-and-such? Likewise, Hallie's relationship with Dakota (Willoughby) is more realistic, though just as dramatic. And I love-love-loved Brandon, who is - clearly - the contemporary remaking of Colonel Brandon.

A very fun reimagining of a favorite story, with characters I could root for (even if I occasionally wanted to shake Hallie) and relate to. A quick read that will also appeal to readers who are not fans of Jane Austen (gasp!).

ARC received from publisher for review.

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