Debating Darcy

Scholastic. Apr. 2022. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338797695.
Gr 8 Up–The world of high school competitive speech and debate is rife with passion, dedication, and complexity. Fortunately, so is Leela Bose, a Bengali American feminist who is a devoted friend, a loyal daughter, and far more insecure than those who know her might guess. Unfortunately, the incorrigible competitor Firoze Darcy, who is of Pakistani-British descent, pushes all of her buttons. In this comedy of manners, a series of miscommunications (and very intentionally hurtful communications) drives a wedge between Leela and her speech friends and ongoing perceptions of classism continue to put Leela and Firoze into each other’s chaotic orbit. This reimagining of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice centers a diverse cast of characters navigating through experiences of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia and gives voice to Austen characters who had been voiceless. But make no mistake, Leela and crew are not Austen’s characters, they’re DasGupta’s own.
VERDICT Perfect for fans of young adult realism, comedic romances, and feminist themes.

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