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on April 5, 2012
I have to wonder if I and the other reviewers were reading the same book. I had my doubts when I downloaded the sample, but given all the high reviews, I decided to give it a chance, because I love Pride and Prejudice. I figured maybe it would get better later on. And the concept seemed interesting.

The plot, for being a re-write of an already established classic, is actually different enough to be interesting. Some of the scenes were obviously taken from the original book, but others were new. The characters were also similar but different. That was nice.

Unfortunately, that was about the only thing it had going for it. The book is self-published, and it really shows. The writing is amateurish; I spent most of the book wondering if it had been written by a young teenager (it wasn't). It reads like something I'd find on a site like Figment or Wattpad, where teens post stories in progress for critique and suggestions on improvement. I wish it HAD been posted up there. It definitely could have used some real critique and suggestions and editing BEFORE a price tag was slapped on it.

Warning: There are spoilers to the story ahead. Read on at your own risk.

First off, the dialogue was awkward. In some places it seemed stiff and way too formal to be natural. For example, in one of the beginning scenes, one of the friends is relating how she met the guy she likes. She sounds more like she's reciting lines from a play than an excited teenaged girl squealing to her friends over her crush. Not realistic at all. The dialogue in general could really use some work.

Secondly, Chloe, the main character, is unfortunately nothing like Elizabeth Bennet. Miss Bennet is a strong-willed, determined young woman who knows her own mind. Chloe is overdramatic to the point of being annoying. She overreacts to the least little thing. She's not nearly as rational as Elizabeth Bennet. I felt her being a dancer was also unrealistic, especially teaching classes. I admit I don't know much about ballet, but I imagine it takes a LOT of skill, discipline, and CONSTANT PRACTICE. I don't believe for a second she'd have the ability to actually teach classes, not to mention win scholarships to prestegious academies. Aside from teaching, there was no mention of Chloe doing ANY sort of dancing or taking lessons. Oh, and doing the four-wheeling thing? Would someone who claims to be a serious dancer actually go out and risk breaking something vital - like her legs - by riding around on dangerous vehicles? Doesn't seem very smart to me.

The whole Collin/boyfriend thing was too contrived and forced. What parents actually FORCE their teenage girl to date a guy she clearly doesn't like? Also, Chloe was just downright rude (and, again, way too overdramatic over the whole thing). Sure, Collin played around with his phone but other than that, what was wrong with him? He seemed like a normal teenaged guy to me. I understand the whole Collin/Mr. Collins plot point, but frankly, he could have been left out. He was just unnecessary baggage that did nothing to enhance the story. If he had to be there, then something should have actually been wrong with him. Something like a serious aversion to soap and general lack of hygiene. Or maybe being too touchy-feely at the wrong times, or possessing a foul mouth. Something that's actually a big turnoff for most girls. Just playing with a phone isn't good enough to make him "ridiculous", to deserve such a snobbish, rude reaction from Chloe. I wanted to smack her. Really.

I'm sorry, but Taylor is a jerk. I am baffled over his nearly begging Chloe to ask him to the dance, and then back out on her right away. He's an ass, there's no two ways about it. And there was no good reason given that doesn't make him any LESS of an ass. Darcy had his valid reasons for acting the way HE did, given the time period, setting, and society's expectations for someone of his station in regards to someone of her's (she was poor, her family caused scandals, ect...). Thus, when he overcame all those inhibitions, it made all the more impact.
Taylor has no such excuses. This is the 21st century. The situtation should have been entirely different. He's a jerk and nothing will convince me otherwise. End of story.

The prom was just kind of ... meh. I do not understand why Ethan - who was maybe mentioned five times throughout the course of the story - won the prom king title. Sorry, I don't care if Chloe thinks he's the "coolest guy in the world", there weren't nearly enough scenes showing the READERS how cool he is to make HIS winning of the crown, instead of the oh-so-popular Taylor-who-can-do-no-wrong, anywhere CLOSE to believable. Frankly, I felt Ethan was only there as a convenient excuse for Chloe to meet Blake. That's all. If he was really THAT cool, then the author should have tried harder to show it, and make the readers believe he actually stood a snowflake's chance in hell of winning that crown. I think she probably only did it because Taylor winning it would be too "cliche". Unfortunately, it backfired. Cliche, maybe, but at least it would actually have been realistic.

Speaking of Blake, I have to question Taylor's family's morals, for knowingly harboring a convicted rapist, helping him change his name, get a job, ect. I don't care if he's a relative or not. That's just wrong. And I'm pretty sure not entirely legal. Hm.

FINALLY, we reach the end of the story, and I think that's all, except there's a preview for a second book. I start reading it, and am immediately confused. Throughout Pride and Popularity, I was given the impression that Chloe had only ONE younger sister, Cassidy (as opposed to E. Bennet's four sisters). And yet, in this preview for a sequel, suddenly there pops up a whole new younger sister that is not mentioned ONE SINGLE TIME in the first book. All I can say is, "What the HECK?" Where did this person come from? Why have we never seen her before? You'd think she'd make at least a FEW appearances in Pride and Popularity, but no. I cannot recall a single instance in which she appeared, not even as a brief introduction in the beginning (or, if she did appear, it was SO brief that it was instantly forgettable). Given that this sister is the star of the next novel, THIS IS NOT A GOOD THING.

Very sloppy, Ms. James. Very, very sloppy. I knocked off a whole star just for that.

So. My overall thoughts on this book:

If you're one of those types who don't give a whit about consistancy of plot, or bad characterization, or awkward dialogue, or everything else mentioned in the above review, then you'll probably like this book. It's a lighthearted, fun read at times; there were moments where I actually laughed. At least until one of the many contrived misunderstandings and subsequent teenage wangst-fests set me to rolling my eyes again.

I dunno, maybe I'm just too picky. But, when I pay real money for a book, I expect it to be something actually deserving of the pricetag. Not something I might read off for free.
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The first installment of Jenni James' The Jane Austen Diaries - a series that modernizes and rewrites the novels of Jane Austen for Young Adult audiences - starts off with retelling of Pride and Prejudice filled with the dramas of high school, cliques, jocks, and prom. In this adaptation, we meet Chloe Elizabeth Hart, feisty, outspoken, and the only girl in her school not under the spell of gorgeous and popular Taylor Darcy Anderson. The last thing Chloe wants is to be another member of Taylor's fan club, so she tries her best to ignore him and resist his flirting (he's nor for real anyway, right? But lately Taylor has started to act a little strange... Is he a player? Is he for real? Is he only attracted to Chloe because she is a challenge?

My first impression of this series: AMAZING! There was so much that was right with novel, I simply loved it! I enjoyed how, even though this story was a adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, it wasn't predictable or formulaic. With some slight tweaks here and there, Jenni James adeptly transforms the events and characters of Pride and Prejudice to the world of teenagers and creates a story that is engaging, adorable, and sparkling.

Of course my favorite aspect of this novel was looking for all the Pride and Prejudice parallels, which were so inventive and clever! I greatly enjoyed Chloe's vintage TV show Halloween party (a.k.a. The Netherfield Ball). And I had to laugh out loud on the Mr. Collins reincarnation, a socially awkward boy who needs his mom to find his dates. In addition, I thought Ms. James' modern take on the whole Wickham/Lydia debacle was very apropos for young adults and our modern society.

However, readers should expect to find some alterations in this adaptation, (the story would be a little predictable if everything was exactly like Jane Austen's novel! Georgia (Georgiana) is only four and has no relationship with Wickham. Also, the personalities for Chloe's parents only slightly resemble their Regency counterparts. And Taylor (Darcy) - besides being arrogant, conceited, and misunderstood - is also a bit of an unabashed flirt. A trait which makes him different from the hero of Pride and Prejudice. I found the alteration fitting, and I think Taylor is an excellent illustration of what a modern-day, teenage Darcy might look like!

Having read several other Young Adult retellings of Pride and Prejudice - Love, Lies, and Lizzie by Rosie Rushton, Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg, and Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard by Belinda Roberts - I must admit that Pride and Popularity by Jenni James is my top choice and receives my highest recommendation! In my opinion, it is the most plausible, accessible, and well-crafted YA version of Pride and Prejudice I have read! I can hardly wait to read the second installment in this series, Northanger Alibi due out in November 2011!!

Austenesque Reviews
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on November 14, 2012
The overlying question I feel I need to answer about this book is "How close does something based on Pride and Prejudice have to stick to the original's spirit?" Or original material.

And especially with the Darcy character in this book, Taylor. Yes, there was more to Darcy that Elizabeth discovered in Pride and Prejudice after overcoming her initial opinions of the man. But Darcy wasn't a saint. Taylor, on the other hand, apparently is. He's really into community service, is nice, well-liked and no one--but Chloe (our Elizabeth)--speaks ill of him. And that's not Darcy. In Pride and Prejudice, no one liked Darcy. Not even Mrs. Bennett, who usually threw her daughters at any man with money. So this very altruistic Darcy is not jiving with me. Especially as it makes Chloe look like an idiot. She had a bad experience with a popular kid and therefore writes Taylor off as the same type of boy. But everyone knows Taylor is this great guy who does all these great things and Chloe manages to spend four years not knowing this? And the other problem is that Taylor has no prejudices of his own to get over about Chloe. Darcy had to do so in the novel in order to really win Elizabeth over. It's why his first proposal goes over as well as a sack of bricks. He had to stop focusing on why Elizabeth and he shouldn't be together, forget his social expectations and follow his heart. Taylor has no such impediments. In short, he has no character arc.

And the journey where he goes from stuck-up popular boy to really nice love interest doesn't count. That's Chloe's character arc. And she's a pretty realistic teen. She worries about school, spends time with her friends, works and has struggles with her parents. All without the melodrama one has come to expect from anything aimed at teens. Her problems with her parents, though, seem a bit unfair. I'm not sure if it's because it's from a teen perspective or what, but it seemed the struggles between Chloe and her parents were contrived. For example, Chloe is caught reading a note in class. She opts not read it and is assigned detention. Taylor serves it in her stead because she refused to read the note to protect his privacy. But the teacher still contacted her parents. Now, I was a good girl at a Catholic school. They didn't call home unless there was a serious problem. Getting caught reading a note once doesn't warrant "a serious problem." Nor does it warrant such a response from her parents about her needing to take on more responsibility. Because Chloe read one letter in class. It's a way to get Chloe into a job as a dance instructor, allowing her to meet Georgia, Taylor's sister. This could've been done in a less ridiculous way. Chloe is a senior; perhaps she has to earn money to pay for her own prom dress? Another confusing aspect is the whole deal with Collin. I get the part where her mother agrees to the date as if Chloe were seven rather than seventeen because, hey, moms. It's later when Chloe turns Collin down that seems, once again, contrived. It seems to be just a way to mirror the Collins/Elizabeth rejection scene and to get Mr. Hart to repeat Mr. Bennett's line about not forgiving Elizabeth were she to marry Collins. Why is Mrs. Hart so invested in the relationship? Especially in one that was already shown to be going nowhere? Chloe went on one date with Collin and then proceeded to go out with another guy. She showed no other interest in Collin. And then there was a line about how this also about Chloe pulling away from her family. Huh? I see a mother meddling, not a teen pulling away from her family.

Otherwise, her parents are good--if strict--ones. It's a bit odd because Elizabeth and Mrs. Bennett have a strained relationship but I think in this case it works. Her sisters, Cassidy and Claire, don't play too much of a role in the book. Which is strange in Cassidy's case as she ends up playing the Lydia role. But she isn't fleshed out. No one really is except for Chloe.

And character development isn't the only thing lacking. Description was needed more. I understand the difficulty balancing it, especially as Ms. James wrote the story in first person. It's easy to give in to the temptation to write "My name is Joanie Everygirl and I am tall, skinny, with brown hair" etc. But it takes a while to learn our protagonist has red hair. Or that Alyssa was of Asian decent. Race isn't important, but I had difficulty imagining what Alyssa looked like until then. The same thing happens to Collin. Chloe says he's handsome but we don't know what he looks like to make our own decision.

So why isn't this a two-star review? Because there was still something compelling about it. Especially toward the end, once it started the main Pride and Prejudice plot. The book sucked me in and I found myself reading to find out what happens next. So that's why I gave it three stars.
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on August 24, 2012
When I finished this on Goodreads, a GR friend asked me "Have you no shame?" and I just want to state for the record: no, I do not. I will pick up every damn thing with "Pride and _________" or "___________ and Prejudice" in it... Nor do I regret that, because sometimes they turn out to be worth it. This was actually really enjoyable, though certainly aimed at a particular segment of the reading public.

It started out really rocky for me, actually, because it just felt like James was getting the characters (or the characters of the characters) wrong; Chloe-aka-Lizzie was really closed-off and downright rude, and Taylor-aka-Darcy was too suave and likable. I mean, Darcy's not likable - he's an ass. You grow to love him, and you appreciate him for appreciating the fantasticness that is Elizabeth, but he didn't write the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, ya know? (Well, maybe How to Influence People, but not so much the making of the friends...) They dynamic that works so well about this story is that Elizabeth is strong, smart, and lovable - but blinded - and Darcy is honorable, caring, and thoughtful - but doesn't show it. When you mess with that dynamic, you may have a pleasant story that works in its own right, but it fails as a P&P retelling by default. (For me, anyway.)

So on some level, yes, this did fail as a P&P retelling, because I don't think there characters were ever fully rectified, though they did have the classic moment of understanding and the reversal. But that aside, it's very recognizable as P&P, even as modern and young as it is, and (amazingly, because I wasn't expecting it), it did even inspire some of the same feelings I had with P&P. It pulls you in in a similar way, and you find yourself loving how the characters are always talking at cross-purposes and misunderstanding each other (willfully or otherwise), just as in P&P. The story moves very quickly, and other than a tendency towards telling over showing and some general cheesiness (especially in the dialogue, which is rough, and which was a big part of what was throwing me off in the beginning), it remains charming and wholesome throughout.

Now, that being said, I think I should share the author's disclaimer:

"If you are hoping to find a YA book full of paranormal beasts, sex, or teens who act much more like under-aged adults, I suggest you save your money and do not buy this book. In fact don't buy any of The Jane Austen Diaries. However, if you are looking for a clean, lighthearted, sweet romance, where teens are good and happy and normal--like all of the teens I know (including my own!) then read on. You've come to the right place. :) --Jenni"

This is going to be the major deciding point for most readers. Pride and Popularity is a very youthful, very wholesome retelling, definitely geared toward younger readers, and those hoping to avoid even the whiff of anything "quesionable" - and readers should know this going in. I didn't know, and just plunged right in, and it took me a bit to readjust my perception of what the story was going to be and who it was aimed at. The characters are, I wanna say, fifteen, which inevitably means the content is going to be cutesied up and a bit fluffier - and even more immature - than some Janeites may be looking for in their adaptations. I myself am hesitant when it comes to "fluff" but I think in this case, it's well done fluff. It's just wholesome and harmless, and it made me smile. And as I mentioned, it's a very quick read, so certainly not a waste of time for insatiable Janeites or those looking for something age-appropriate and sweet to introduce P&P to their pre/young-teens.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon June 22, 2014
This books was fun. I love Jane Austen and I love clean young adult fiction so this was a perfect mix for me. Pride & Popularity was completely predictable but that didn’t keep me from enjoying every minute of it. It’s a cute story that retells Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in a modern day setting.

If you read for enjoyment you’ll likely be taken with this book. If you read with a more critical eye there are a few things that might detract you from the story. Since I am one who reads purely for entertainment and enjoyment this book was a hit with me.

There are 6 books planned in this series:
Pride & Popularity
Northanger Alibi
Mansfield Ranch
Sensible & Sensational
I’m looking forward to reading them all!

Rating: 4 Stars – Great Book

Source: From Publisher for Review

Content: Clean
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on November 14, 2013
I really enjoyed this book. I loved how Jenni James took Pride and Prejudice and changed it into a more modern, high school expeirence. It was easy to understand and I could not put it down! I liked how it had some romance in it, and it had some parts leaving you dying to know what happens next. This book was an easier one to read, but it was very well written. I would definitely recomend it!
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on January 24, 2012
I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this book for review. When it came in the mail yesterday I paused the book I had been reading to start this immediately. Once my kids were in bed at 7:30 last night I started reading Pride and Popularity and couldn't put it down! I stayed up until 1:30 in the morning to finish. I've never been happier to lose sleep. I was still happy this morning. You can't help but be happy when reading this feel good book. Thank you Jenni for the fun night!

I know I've said this before, but let me remind you. I love retellings! There is something peaceful and relaxing about knowing how a book will end but not knowing how it will get there. I love Jane Austen books and her characters. Before I began reading I knew I would love the "Elizabeth" and "Darcy" characters, and I was right. Chloe and Taylor are so fun!

The chemistry between Chloe and Taylor is amazing! Don't worry, it wasn't steamy or anything. :) I loved every scene with Chloe and Taylor whether they were hating or loving each other. The tension was so great. Chloe was fiery, prideful, and afraid of getting hurt. She surprised and mesmerized Taylor. I don't think I'll say any more about how these two change throughout the book; I'll let you read and find out for yourself.

This was a fun, light, clean read that I loved! If you're in the mood for a light-hearted fiesty romance go read this book!

*I received a copy of this book from Amy at Inkberry Press. Thank you! I do not get paid for any of my reviews. My reviews are solely my opinion.*
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on October 13, 2011
This was such a fun retelling of Pride & Prejudice. The story takes place in a modern-day high school, with Chloe and Taylor as our leads. Chloe was really likable. I really liked her personality and thought she was fun to read about. I'm glad she didn't fall all over Taylor like literally every other girl. He really had to earn it. =) Taylor was also likable, we're able to see his charming side, but also his sincere side as well. I had to give the book five stars simply because I caught myself with a huge idiot smile a few times while reading. Jenni James did a great job of making P&P her own. It was fun to see the different characters in P&P worked into this story, and it was just fun to see it all take place in a modern setting. Really well done.

The end of the book lists the books in the Austen Diaries series, and I want to read all of them, like right now. Definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys a fun, clean romance!
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on January 26, 2013
This book had a lot of giggling and chuckling. Could they have used better words? But I did like the twist of popular Darcy.
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on January 4, 2013
I find the Jane Austen Diaries series as a whole cute, but rather shallow. I wish the author would have gotten deeper into the characters, had more character development, and stuck more closely to the book's plots and original characters. As other reviewers on here have said, Taylor Anderson seems too perfect, for instance. There are other faults with the book but the other reviewers on here have already taken the trouble to lay them out more clearly than I could. I'll finish with this: it's cute and a three-hour read, rather shallow and not worth the 5 dollars you'll spend for it. If you're lookng for modern renditions of Pride and Prejudice, check out "Prom and Prejudice." By no means perfect, but very entertaining and better than Pride and Popularity.
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