October 31, 2006

Jump on the Austen Craze!

This book is a 2006 Cybil Award Nominee for YA Fiction.

A quick read and a funny one, Enthusiasm is another romance worthy of Jane Austen.

The year Julie's nutty best friend reads Pride & Prejudice sparks a new craze in Ashleigh's life -- now she and Julie must find themselves a Mr. Darcy and a Mr. Bingley. Only problem is there are yucky guys at their high school, and really -- they've never had boyfriends. They're only sixteen. But Ashleigh, never daunted by mere facts, is determined -- this is THEIR time, and they WILL model their lives after Jane Austen's characters.

And then Ashleigh goes forth to be WEIRD! She will only wear long skirts and ballet slippers. She speaks with weirdly Victorian sentence structure. And though Julie, an Austen lover herself, hates to encourage her best friend's weirdness, somebody has to look after her the night she crashes a dance at an all-boy's private school. That night has its good points... and it's great points... and it's also weird and ...pure Ashleigh.

Ashleigh's ditziness leads the girls from one complication to another, but as in real life, there are some tears along the way. Julie's father and stepmother are not nice, really, and they never become nicer. And it's not easy on Julie having a friend who doesn't actually... listen to her much. But rough edges and unresolved issues aside, this frothy and fun book is refreshingly light, filled with actual sonnets and some decent poetry, and will encourage readers to sally forth and try their hand at reading both Shakespeare's comedies and Austen's novels. It's the classics made understandable, believable, modern and more than palatable. A great one for high school reading lists.

1 comment:

a. fortis said...

This one sounds very cute.