Title: Pride & Popularity
Author: Jenni James
Publisher: Inkberry Press
Publication Date: May 7, 2011
Source/Format: Personal Library / ebook
Opening Sentence: “‘Taylor Anderson is the hottest guy ever!’ Madison said as she leaned in closer to me to catch a better view of him moving across the concrete basketball court in our local park.”
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Chloe Elizabeth Hart despises the conceited antics of the popular crowd, or more importantly, one very annoying self-possessed guy, Taylor Anderson, who seems determined to make her the president of his fan club! As if! Every girl in the whole city of Farmington, New Mexico, is in love with him, but he seems to be only interested in Chloe.
This modern high school adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” is a battle of wits as Chloe desperately tries to remain the only girl who can avoid the inevitable—falling for Taylor.
Pride & Popularity by Jenni James is, obviously, a young adult retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. (YES! to P&P.) I really love P&P, so I thought a YA retelling would be totally awesome. I wanted to love Pride & Popularity, I did… but I can’t very well fall in love with something I rolled my eyes at every few minutes.
For the most part Pride & Popularity was interesting enough to keep me reading. I kept reading because I wanted to know how certain events in the story (that is: Jane Austen’s) would be adapted into this new telling, but I think that says more about the original than the one James wrote. Frankly, Jenni James wrote a fluffy and weak version of Pride & Prejudice. I was never invested in the story at all because the characters didn’t seem real or believable. A lot of the events seemed rather unrealistic and written just to stay in line with Jane Austen’s novel, especially when it came to Blake, Mr. Wickham reborn. (Example: Near the beginning of the book Chloe, the main character, made a point of saying she went four-wheeling every Wednesday with her friend. She met Blake there one week and then after that four-wheeling was mentioned, like, twice again. It completely disappeared.) I felt like I made a lot of sarcastic remarks (“Oh, riiiight” “Yeah, OKAY”) while I was reading because at times the story or characters were completely unrealistic.
All that is not to say I hated the book. It was a valiant effort and not completely un-enjoyable. In fact, I enjoyed myself quite a lot while reading it. It was light, funny, and quick… but nothing more. Where Pride & Prejudice had depth Pride & Popularity was a kiddie pool. Even so, I appreciate this book as a quick read. It would be perfect as that bumper book you need in bet`ween heavier novels. Would I recommend it to everyone? No… Maybe to Jane Austen fans looking for something light and fun to read. Just a fair warning, though: this book sort of seems geared more toward fourteen-year-olds than anyone else. An older audience would definitely be in a boat with me… rolling their eyes.