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Book Review: Jane

When I first spotted Jane in a bookstore, I will admit it:  I was horrified and wanted to cry, maybe got a little teary eyed.  I could tell exactly what it was from the cover (however awesome it was) and could not believe someone had decided to publish a modern version from the story.  As a lit freak, I can get a little annoyed, and even upset, by some modern updates.  But there are some that I can really fall in love with.  After leaving, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  Would it be good?  Would Jane Eyre fans be interested in this new Jane Moore?  Could the mysterious Rock Star that acts as April Lindner‘s male protagonist live up to the magnificence that is Edward Rochester?

In a word:  YES.

I gave in a couple weeks later and grabbed a copy, unable to hold on to my attempts to maintain my ever faltering “I don’t read published fanfiction” superiority.  And boy, was it worth it.

Our modern Jane is not traditionally pretty, nor is she cool.  She has regretfully dropped out of college after her parents’ sudden death.  With serious financial need and no real consideration of modern pop culture, she’s perfect for the nanny position at Thornfield Park, the Connecticut estate of the semi-reclusive rock star trying to make a comeback, Nico Rathburn.  When she and Nico finally meet, their reaction to each other is not instantaneous, but still intense.  The romance that follows has some serious ups and downs, but we can all be happy with the ending.

There are times when it feels like the author is trying too hard to create parallels (the giant black Labrador named Copilot, for instance), but overall, this is a new story, with a few surprises along the way.  Jane’s charge Maddy is even more adorable than her 19th century counterpart, and Jane herself is more approachable an intriguing as a narrator.

Why I picked it up:  Love Jane Eyre, love new authors, and have a repressed and semi-secret adoration of modern retellings like Clueless and Austenland.  And the cover is gorgeous.

Who I would recommend it to:  older teens in need of a good romance-mystery, open-minded lovers of Jane Eyre or anything similar, people who like mysteries, people who like romantic stories.

What might be a problem:  While very easy to find at both chain and privately-owned book stores, only two library systems within 25 miles of me have a copy.  This seems to be pretty common unless you live in New York or Chicago (I checked).  While this can be an issue for those of us who don’t have the funds to go to our local Big B, it’s definitely worth the 18 bucks.  Make a group purchase and share it if you have to, but let’s give April Lindner our support on her first novel in hopes that she writes more.  And YA librarians, let’s see it in your collections!

–Jessica Pryde

One Comment

  1. […] If you want to see more from The Hub about Shut Out, check out Faythe’s post from last September about Mythology in YA, and Sharon Rawlins’ Libraries in Teen Books. For earlier posts about updated classics, have a look at Sharon’s Alternatives to the Classics and my first post from long long ago about April Lindner’s Jane. […]

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