By the Book

by Amanda Sellet

This is a lovely, frothy, literative allusion wish fulfillment fest of a YA high school love story wherein the awkward transfer-from-experimental-school finds herself in a posse of friends and pursued by a handsome boy who seems to have a thing for bookish misses.

Nobody gets hurt. Everyone loves everybody else. It all turns out okay in the end. Mary, (yeah, she’s a literal Mary Sue of a character but you’ll forgive her) has three older sisters and a younger brother and she’s always felt overlooked. She also kind of lives with her nose in books: mostly Austens, Brontes, and George Eliot and the gang.

When she’s suddenly forced to transfer to the public high school sophomore year and is dissed by her one friend who makes the jump with her, she finds refuge in a group of quirky friends who seem to dig how she labels boys in their classes with personalities from her beloved books. She also gets pursued by a boy she’s warned the others away from dating because she thinks of him as a rogue/scoundrel based on a misunderstanding you’ll see through within the first few minutes of his appearances…but that’s okay. This is escapist, fun YA romance, not reality-based nor really in depth emotional work.

It’s also YA that includes family relationships, slight reference to physical stuff other than kissing, and safe for the younger set. And if you have an Austen or Bronte fan in your circle, they should definitely read this one just for the fun literary allusions.