Pudge and Prejudice

Wander. Jan. 2021. 352p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781496442826; pap. $15.99. ISBN 9781496442833.
Gr 7 Up–Set in the 1980s, this novel follows pale-skinned Elyse (also known as Pudge) as she comes to terms with her body issues and other high school dramas with the help of her friend Lottie. Elyse is new to Northfield Texas High School in 1984, and of course her beautiful older sister quickly starts dating the football captain. Soon, Elyse starts to become interested in his moody friend, Tom Cruise look-alike Billy Fitz. Thanks to Lottie’s quick wit, she doesn’t let Elyse’s body issues ruin her budding relationship with Billy Fitz. Although this is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, readers who aren’t familiar with the original novel will enjoy the story. It’s fresh and inventive enough to transcend age brackets, and young adult Austen fans will appreciate the time period, quirky characters, and new spin on a classic. Filled with the drama and teen angst in classic 1980s teen movies, this book is reminiscent of a John Hughes film. Readers of all ages will be laughing out loud at the offbeat but relatable characters.
VERDICT A relatable retelling of Jane Austen’s classic.

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