Rosewood: A Midsummer Meet Cute

Scholastic. Mar. 2023. 320p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781338797725.
Gr 8 Up–Loosely based on Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility, this novel follows Desi American sisters Eila and Mallika Das as they head to Regency camp for the summer. They will spend two weeks at Norland Manor, where they will wear only Regency fashion, take lessons on various Regency activities, and even eat and speak based on the Regency era, all the while hoping to catch the eye of the producers of the hit Regency detective show, Rosewood. When a rumor spreads that one of the newly cast leads is among the attendees of camp, where his chemistry with the female campers will be tested, and casting prospects go from a walk-on role or murder victim to a leading lady, things get dramatic. With Austen and Shakespeare references galore, DasGupta’s novel has just the right amount of old-fashioned charm mixed with modern sensibilities, like stowing away a cell phone rather than giving it up for the duration of camp. Eila’s burgeoning romance with fellow camper Rahul is sweet and has the perfect amount of tension for a summer fling. The overly dramatic acting of the campers makes for plenty of silly moments to offset some of the heavier aspects of the story, and the sisters have just the right amount of development, bettering themselves and their relationship with one another, over the course of the camp. Included among the racially diverse cast are several queer characters including Mallika, who identifies as bisexual.
VERDICT A not-to-be-missed, lighthearted romantic comedy with great representation.

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