Love, Lies and Lizzie by Rosie Rushton.
It's been a while since I reviewed a young adult novel here, and I thought this was a great time of year to do it. This is not a mystery, but one of my other passions, an update of a Jane Austen novel.
Rosie Rushton takes on what is probably Austen's best-known work, Pride and Prejudice (she has also written similar books based on Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility and Emma.
She doesn't make the mistake of trying to follow the Edwardian story too closely. For example, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet call each other by their first names, as contemporary adults are likely to do. Nor is it shocking for a young woman to be alone with a young man or speak to him first.
Here, Mrs. Alice Bennet has inherited a large sum of money from a distant cousin, and promptly moves the family to a new development overlooking a golf course. She's still as flighty as Bennet mère. What has remained the same is the class distinctions: James (who would name their child "Fitzwilliam these days?) Darcy looks down at people who went to state schools and the nouveau riche, like the Bennet family.
The book does take place in England, and North American readers may have some difficulty with some of the slang used, but generally it's decipherable by context.
This is a charming, light riff on Pride and Prejudice, barely touching on the secondary plots concerning Mr. Collins and Darcy's aunt. It will most likely be enjoyed by teens who like the Georgia Nicolson books by Louise Rennison or the Girls Quartet by Jacqueline Wilson. But there's always the possibility that some young reader will use this as a stepping-stone to the actual Austen novels.