May 28, 2017

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“Pride and Prejudice” YA Redux | SLJ Spotlight

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen’s classic continues to inspire new YA adaptations every year. I say, “keep them coming!” The Season features a sporty “Lizzy Bennett” who could care less about debutante balls and rich suitors. And Ivory & Bone has a gender-flipped and prehistoric spin on the classic romantic comedy. Give these titles to budding Janeites or teens looking for YA romances with a unique spin.

The SeasonDyer, Jonah Lisa & Stephen Dyer. The Season. 352p. Viking. Jul. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780451476340.

Gr 9 Up –Megan McKnight’s got her eye on the Olympics. She’s more comfortable on a soccer field than executing a “Texas Dip” for the Dallas elite as a Bluebonnet debutante. But with her family’s ranch in jeopardy and her parents’ marriage in similar straits, Megan reluctantly agrees to debut with her twin sister, Julia. What follows is a Southern-flavored Pride and Prejudice, with the Texas upper crust and one Manhattan socialite substituting for the English gentry. Plenty of familiar characters and plot points abound. The strongest literary revamp is Hank, the charming but ultimately caddish manipulator, and, of course, Megan, who jumps off the page, sticking to her guns when it’s important while also evolving. Sadly, Andrew (the Darcy) is close but not quite a match for the heroine. With extravagant parties, a car chase, family scandal, and even a brawl, the Dyers keep things interesting. Megan learns what she’s capable of (for good or ill) and what it means to misjudge others. Occasional swearing and sexual situations happen off-page. The dialogue ranges from wonderfully cheeky to occasionally overdramatic, with a few forced lines from the source material peppered throughout. VERDICT This tale covers no new territory and yet is a thoroughly enjoyable read, especially for fans of Austen retellings.–Danielle Serra, Cliffside Park Public Library, NJ

Ivory and BoneEshbaugh, Julie. Ivory and Bone. 384p. ebook available. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Jun. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062399250.

Gr 8 Up –Seventeen-year-old Kol is the oldest son of the High Elder of his clan, and while he and his brother are of marrying age, there are no marriageable women in their clan. The rhythm of Kol’s hunter/gatherer life changes, however, when a group from the clan to the south visit to build an alliance—with two eligible unmarried women in their party. Mya, also 17, is beautiful and severe, and she and Kol begin a rocky acquaintance when she saves him from a charging saber-tooth while on a mammoth hunt. Despite his acts of gratitude, Kol cannot read or anticipate Mya’s feelings, which makes his confusion about his own feelings even more complex. When Lo, a woman from the clan to the north, arrives in Kol’s village with a dark intent, the plot becomes all the more complicated. Eshbaugh packs her debut with a classic love triangle, feuding clans, a well-drawn prehistoric setting, and a handful of fan fiction elements that will appeal to teens. VERDICT Buy this Stone Age, gender-flipped take on Pride and Prejudice if your readers are on the lookout for something compellingly out of the ordinary.–Amy Koester, Learning Experiences Department, Skokie Public Library, IL

These reviews were published in School Library Journal’s May 2016 issue.

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Shelley Diaz About Shelley Diaz

Shelley M. Diaz (sdiaz@mediasourceinc.com) is School Library Journal's Reviews Team Manager and SLJTeen newsletter editor. She has her MLIS in Public Librarianship with a Certificate in Children’s & YA Services from Queens College, and can be found on Twitter @sdiaz101.

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