Debating Darcy

Scholastic Audio. Jan. 2022. 818p. $83.99. ISBN 9781338813746.
Gr 8 Up–Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice gets another 21st-century update, its fancy balls replaced with high school forensics league meets. Bengali American Leela Bose of Longbourne High and biracial Pakistani British Firoze Darcy of Netherfield Academy walk the circuitous enemies-to-lovers line. Fellow Bengali American Jishnu will reverse that path from seeming soulmate to scheming cad. Deepa Samuel energetically assumes the vast cast, endowing Leela with biting wit, Firoze with (occasionally dismissive) maturity, Jishnu with smarmy insincerity. Her considerable talents are even more notable amongst the supporting characters, including the team coaches—yes, excitable Mrs. Bennet; calm Mr. Bennet; composed team captain, Tomi; awkward “brainiac” teammate, Colin; dazzling best friend, Jay; adoring little sister, Gigi.
VERDICT Samuel dexterously reflects DasGupta’s spotlight on persistent social ills—bullying, coercion, misogyny, racism, classicism, colorism, homophobia

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