Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book ever. And I am a complete and total sucker for sequels, re-writings, and modernizations of it too. So although I don't generally read YA literature, I couldn't resist the chance to read Tristi Pinkston's Turning Pages, which updates and uses Pride and Prejudice as a loose framework, setting it in a library. Pride and Prejudice set amongst books? Be still my beating heart.
Addie Preston has been working her way through community college with the ultimate goal of becoming a librarian but after the unexpected death of her father in a car accident, she is mainly focused on her part time job at the local library and trying to hold her family together. An assistant librarian position is shortly opening up and Addie has been all but promised the promotion. So she's shocked when the arrogant and superior Blake Hansen is brought on board into that position instead of her. He doesn't even have a library science degree at all; he's got a business degree. Addie dislikes him even before she finds out he's been given what she's come to think of as her job. When his presence is explained by the need to raise funds to replace the old library with a new, state of the art building, Addie is almost completely destroyed, vowing that she'll save the venerable old building despite its limitations as a library.
Addie's life has taken quite a few hits and she faces more losses as she fosters and feeds the continuing tension between Blake and herself. Her step-mother is still paralysed with grief over the accident that took Addie's father leaving Addie to try and hold the family together. Meanwhile, Addie continues to harbour an unrequited crush on her best friend's older brother, a guy who looks at Addie as nothing more than a sweet kid on whom he can always rely, even if that reliance gives her the wrong idea and ultimately ends up hurting her. The plans to replace the library just add to her unhappiness as the old building holds countless memories of her father for her. Add to that the news that there's no choice but to also sell her childhood home and to move into something smaller and more affordable and the fact that Addie cannot give an inch with Blake, allowing her to see that he is in fact a good guy, is not surprising.
This is not a simple retelling of Pride and Prejudice as the plot and character situations veer quite far afield from the original plot. Addie is much more adrift than Lizzie Bennet ever was although she is quite as quick to jump to conclusions as her predecessor. Blake is engaged to a rather nice woman who is just a tad too perfect and although Addie suggests at one point that she is Caroline Bingley, there really isn't much of a similarity at all. And the tension between Addie and Blake is almost entirely one sided with the bulk of the animosity coming from Addie. There are definite sparks between the characters throughout the story but the ending is wrapped up too abruptly even if there was never a doubt about the outcome. Addie often seems younger than her years, perhaps because of her goofy quirks, like forever locking her keys in the car, but Blake comes off as younger than he is as well so they are well-suited. Overall, this is a cute, sweet, very clean YA tale and I definitely plan to pass mine along to my young teen because I think she'll like it a lot.
Thanks to the author for sending me a copy of the book for review.