The Code for Love and Heartbreak

Inkyard. Oct. 2020. 304p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781335090591.
Gr 7 Up–This modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma presents a coming-of-age story about love and friendship in the last, formative years of high school. Emma Woodhouse knows what she likes: numbers, not people. Her sister is a socialite but Emma would rather stay home and plan her future at Stanford University. Everything changes when she comes up with a project to write a code to find true love. Suddenly she’s learning that not everything in life is as rational as a math equation, and that’s not such a bad thing after all. Readers will find Emma by turns maddening and charming but always compelling as she navigates a time of difficult transitions. Her story of being a high-school outsider is sure to resonate with many tweens and teens who are similarly growing in their romantic and platonic relationships. This book has a tendency to tie things up a little too neatly—both at the end and in places where the story glosses over heavy topics like date rape. However, in this sense, the book again echoes Jane Austen and her sometimes surface treatment of romantic relationships.
VERDICT A warm coming-of-age story recommended for readers who enjoy a good Austen-esque romp with more modern themes.

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