Pride by Ibi Zoboi | SLJ Review

Gr 8 Up –This Bushwick-set, contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice tackles gentrification, Blackness, and romance with honesty, humor, and heart.

redstarZOBOI, Ibi. Pride. 304p. HarperCollins/ Balzer + Bray. Sept. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062564047. POP

Gr 8 Up –This Bushwick-set, contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice tackles gentrification, Blackness, and romance with honesty, humor, and heart. Afro-Latina Zuri Benitez is proud of her Dominican and Haitian heritage, close-knit family, and bustling block. However, the teen knows that the renovation of the abandoned house across the street into a mansion portends a gentrifying trend that she’s not quite ready for. It also ushers in the arrival of the wealthy Darcy brothers—Ainsley, the charming and friendly college boy who is possibly striking up a romance with Janae, Zuri’s college freshman sister; and Darius, the too-cool-for-school younger brother, who is as handsome as he is snooty. Zoboi follows her novel American Street with this send-up of Austen’s classic, an insightful commentary on socioeconomic class, changing neighborhoods, and the pressures of growing up and falling in love as a second-generation immigrant. Janeites will appreciate the nods to the original: Mr. Collins is the nephew of the Benitezs’ Oshun-worshipping godmother and apartment building owner; the Wickham character likes to sweet-talk younger girls into taking revealing selfies; and the five sisters’ dynamic is just as memorable. But those unfamiliar with Austen’s work will also be enamored with the warmth that permeates the characters, the spellbinding storytelling, and the tender but bittersweet love letter to Brooklyn. Teens will cheer for the protagonist as she finds her passion for poetry and hesitantly falls love. VERDICT This excellent coming-of-age take on a classic belongs on all YA shelves.–Shelley M. Diaz, School Library Journal This review was published in the School Library Journal July 2018 issue.

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