Friday, April 29, 2011

New Releases: Royal Wedding Edition

Katie snagged the Royal Wedding post! William and Kate, we wish you all the best and hope that you are secret YA readers!

Being born in the same year as a prince can give a girl ideas. Trust me. I speak from experience. So you must forgive me if I’m a little bitter that I’m not the Kate who will soon be the newest princess in Britain. Luckily, that bitterness doesn’t detract from my love of all things British. From Jane Austen to Buckingham Palace, I just can’t seem to get enough and neither can certain YA authors it seems.

Falling in Love With English Boys by Melissa Jensen

Oh, London. Melissa Jensen knows the way to this girl’s heart. She had me at English boys to be honest. The main characters here are Catherine and Katherine (you can already see the parallels, I bet). One is an American teen “stuck” in London for the summer, and the other is a nineteenth century British teen more in the tradition of Jane Austen (although she has a lot of growing up to do before she can be in the same class as Elizabeth Bennett). 
Told through alternating blog posts and diary entries, Jensen juggles the two story lines well--taking us on two distinct yet overlapping adventures as Cat and Katherine struggle to figure out the worlds they live in, develop new friendships, explore London, and, of course, fall in love with English boys. It’s light and fluffy fun, but it’s also filled with descriptions of all the best tourist destinations in London--making this book the perfect affordable alternative to a British Airways ticket and front row seat at the royal wedding.

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Oh, Connecticut. Wait? What? Yes, we can get in the wedding spirit stateside as well. You see, Elizabeth Eulberg has written an absolutely charming modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. And there really isn’t anything more romantic or British than an updated Jane Austen novel no matter what the setting. And although Eulberg may have moved the action across the Atlantic Ocean, if you’re anything like me, you’ll still hear the characters playing out this much-loved story with faint British accents.
Lizzie Bennett is a music scholarship student at a posh Connecticut boarding school (that has a bizarre obsession with prom). Will Darcy has had some bad experiences with scholarship students in the past. Naturally a bit of pride and prejudice gets in the way, but Lizzie’s amazing gift as a pianist and Darcy’s unique family may find a way to bring them together despite themselves. 

Note: Eulberg stays very close to Austen’s original story, which I’ve seen some reviewers complain about, but I found sort of perfect.

For a more historical take on the upper echelons of British society, see earlier reviews of Sarah MacLean’s The Season or Michaela MacColl’s Prisoners of the Palace: How Princess Victoria Became Queen with the Help of Her Maid, a Reporter, and a Scoundrel.

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