Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Whitney Finalist: Pride & Popularity by Jenni James

Our next spotlight is a retelling of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, with many of the major characters replaced by high school students.

While I don't consider myself an Austen fan, I do enjoy her writing. I've read Pride & Prejudice and liked it. Surprisingly, I liked it more than my wife did, who is a true romance fan. (I'm not sure what that says about me, but, thankfully, this spotlight isn't about me.)

When I heard that Pride & Popularity by Jenni James was a faithful retelling, I had two reactions: "Hmmm, sounds interesting," and "Sigh, another one?"

This book was light and enjoyable. The scenes were snappy. The characters and situations were interesting. And Jenni manages to stay true to the original story line. Which, I think, makes the writing that much more impressive.

Since I'm familiar with the original, once I figured out which characters were Elizabeth, Darcy, Jane, Bingley, Lydia, Wickham, Charlotte, and Collins then I knew how things were going to turn out. The story doesn't try to keep these roles a secret. In fact, several of the characters are named after their archetype. The real fun was in seeing how they were going to fill their roles. Jenni did a good job of making enough changes to keep things modern and interesting.

I asked Jenni what made this story special to her.
Pride & Popularity is special to me, because not only did it begin my fascinating craving for the writing world (Teaching me that writing a book was WAY more fun than reading one!), it also launched a career I never knew I would have four years ago. It has changed my life in more ways than one, and allowed me to contribute to the world. I've written several books (10) since beginning this one, and all are slotted for publication through different publishers over the next couple of years. I hope every single one gives a happy voice and cheerful hope to those teens who are struggling to find their way right now, or the ones who'd like to break from the norm and read something light and fun for a change.
And here's a bit of the story to get you hooked.
As I spun around in the crowded hallway by my locker, Madison caught me up in a bear hug. She had gone to stay with her cousins in Florida for two months of summer break, and she had come back tan and beautiful. I laughed as I removed a piece of her streaked blond hair that was caught on my backpack. 
"Wow! Maddi, you look gorgeous. You obviously had a great time in Florida." 
Madison sighed. "It was wonderful!" 
"So, tell me, did you find some amazingly hot lifeguard to sweep you off your feet?" 
She rolled her eyes. "I wish." then she glanced at me suspiciously. "So how about you? Did you find anyone this summer?" 
I laughed. "Yeah, right. I just hung out and did my theater gig. Besides, every guy I'm remotely interested in ends up too self-centered and a total jerk anyway, so--" 
"You know, Chloe, one of these days some guys is going to prove you wrong. And when he does you're going to fall for him hard. Personally, I can't wait."
If you're looking for a light, clean, teen romance, you should get your own copy.

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