A Classic Remix

You might like this book if you…

  • are a fan of Pride and Prejudice,
  • enjoy YA books that explore coming of age in a world rife with social prejudices,
  • like sassy leading ladies,
  • want to be transported into the world of Afro-Latino culture in Brooklyn,
  • are looking for a strong #ownvoices book,
  • want to listen to an audiobook read by a New Yorker with poetry and soul in her voice

The story

Zuri Benitez loves life in Bushwick, her little corner of Brooklyn. The community is old and alive; it’s not perfect, but it’s home. As she prepares to move out and go to college, Zuri is motivated by the thought that she will come back to help Bushwick thrive. When the Darcy family moves in across the street, she sees the roots of gentrification forming and eroding the foundation of her home. Her sister Janae falls for the oldest Darcy boy, Ainsley, but Zuri is far from charmed by the younger Darius. The story follows Zuri as she grapples changes in her community, her family, and in herself. Inspired by Jane Austen’s classic, Pride stays close to the original’s plot points, while at the same time able to stand on its own as a relevant, engaging, and timely tale.

My Review

I am a die-hard Pride and Prejudice fan. I’ve stayed away from novels that rewrite or add to the original because I’m generally not interested in a sequel. I love the original too much. But a few things convinced me to pick this one up:

  • its gorgeous cover,
  • the promise of an Own Voices story that explores gentrification (a modern social issue I can use in my AP classes!),
  • hearing Ibi Zoboi and Elizabeth Acevedo talk about what’s important to them on a panel at the North Texas Teen Book Festival, and
  • the marvelous Elizabeth Acevedo as the narrator of the audiobook.

That last one clinched it for me. If you’re looking for an audiobook with a strong story and a badass narrator, this one’s for you.

Ibi Zoboi masterfully transforms the classic tale of Pride and Prejudice into one that fits modern America. She keeps the soul of the original–not only the romantic comedy bit, but also the social commentary–and honors my favorite plot points from the original. On top of that, she somehow managed to make this a story that is all its own. I’ve said it already, but I’ll say it again: that level of remixing a classic is masterful.

In the imaginary world where I can teach whatever I want, I would add this book to my curriculum, either as a book club read about current social issues or as part of a Pride and Prejudice book study. I’ve already recommended it to all my students who chose to read Austen’s novel this year. If you enjoy YA and Jane Austen, pick this one up!

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