Jane Austen’s work is continually reimagined in youth literature, Pride and Prejudice more often than not. If your students are fervent Austen fans, there perhaps you can point them in the direction of these titles.
Penguin – 2011
Euberg has transplanted Austen’s Pride and Prejudice into the world of an American private boarding school. Lizzie is the new scholarship student who befriends the lovely Jane, immediately clashes with the stuck up Will Darcy and crushes on Charles Bingley. While many aspects of the story are exceedingly loyal to Austen’s tale, Eulberg has used the modern setting and the social clashes in a school to good effect. Some narrative shorthand leans on the reader’s pre-existing knowledge of this story but it has got heart.
HarperTeen (US) – 2011
Not unlike Eulberg’s efforts, LaZebnik has used a private school setting as the backdrop for P&P-like shenanigans. Elise is the second daughter of the newly hired school principal (imagine a slightly less frantic Mrs Bennet as your principal and mother). The Bentons come from humble stock and are immediately out of their depth in a school filled with children of Silicon Valley millionaires and Hollywood stars. The motivations for the characters are nicely shifted to this materialistic, flashy environment, the Bentons tough rules and different values contrasts in thought provoking and fun ways.
PanMacmillan – 2010
A YA historical take on the author herself.
Jenny Copper, the best friend/cousin of Jane Austen, ‘saves’ Jane’s life at a nasty boarding school. In return for her actions, Jane’s mother whisks them both back to the Austen household. This tale incorporates illustrations and snippets from Austen’s writings but is in no way a biography. The characters borrow heavily from those that populate Austen’s titles.
Penguin – 2009
Callie buys some ridiculous shoes to impress her “friends” – she falls, hits her head and wakes up in 1815…as one tends to do. Instead of adapting Austen for a present day setting, Hubbard has plonked her modern teen square in the middle of the 19th century. While there is a romantic element, it is much more about Callie realizing her own worth. Hubbard has a great sense of the ridiculous and this plays well.
Simon and Schuster – 2011
The fourth title in the Mother-Daughter Book Club series sees Emma’s family house swapping for the year with a British family. Through the wonder of technology the book club continues to function, exploring Austen’s P&P. While Emma deals with a new culture and isolation, her friends find two British boys (reminiscent of Darcy and Bingley) living in Emma’s house. There are Austen facts sprinkled throughout with relevant English sites that one might like to visit if they find themselves in the UK.
Random House (US) – 2011
Unlike the previously mentioned titles, Ziegler has taken on ‘Sense and Sensibility’ which is only fitting as she explores the push and pull of sisterly ties. After their parents divorce, Daphne and Gabby found themselves siding with different parents. But these sisters differ in other ways – one is a dreamy optimist, the other a realist. While there are romantic elements, the focus is squarely on the sisters and their relationship to one another and the world.
Have you got a recommendation that we may have overlooked?