Good morning, book nerds!!
Confession: I am a huge Pride & Prejudice fan. My bridal shower had a P&P theme, I often end texts with “ILYMA” (read: I love you most ardently), and I’ve seen the various cinematic adaptations so many times “you can hardly expect me to own to it.” 😉 So you can imagine I was Lydia-attending-a-ball levels of excited when I got the opportunity to review a P&P retelling set at a Texas high school in the 1980s. Pudge & Prejudice is one of those joyful reads that makes you smile & swoon from start to finish! Scroll down for my review and enter the giveaway below for a chance to win YOUR very own signed copy!
Pudge & Prejudice by A.K. Pittman
Title & Author: Pudge & Prejudice by A.K. Pittman
Genre: YA Romance/Classics Retelling
Release Date: January 12, 2020
Publisher: Wander (an imprint of Tyndale House)
Series Details: Standalone? Stay tuned!
Page Count: 352 pages
A Mixtape of Big ’80s Style, High School Angst, and a Classic Jane Austen Tale
It’s 1984 and after moving to Northenfield, Texas, with her family, Elyse Nebbit faces the challenge of finding her place in a new school, one dominated by social status and Friday night football. When Elyse’s effortlessly beautiful older sister Jayne starts dating golden boy Charlie Bingley, Elyse finds herself curious about Charlie’s popular and brooding best friend, Billy Fitz. Elyse’s body insecurities eventually complicate her relationship with Billy, leaving Jayne and Elyse’s exceedingly blunt friend, Lottie, to step in and help Elyse accept herself for who she is, pant size and all.
Thank you so much to LSBBT, the publisher, and the author for providing me with a finished copy in exchange for an honest review.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a teenage girl in possession of a double-digit jeans size must be in want of a diet.”
Pride & Prejudice is a beloved classic that has been reinterpreted countless times over the centuries. I’ve personally read 4 different retellings over the past year alone, so I consider myself well versed in all things Bennet. And from this YA contemporary’s opening line, I immediately knew I’d found a new favorite.
Opening in 1984 in a small Texas town, Pudge & Prejudice tackles Elizabeth’s story via a 15-year-old, plus-sized bookworm that is as amusing as she is awkward. Forced to relocate from her home in Phoenix, Elyse (our MC) knows that fitting in at a new school won’t be an easy task. She’s not effortlessly beautiful & kind like her eldest sister, Jayne, and she lacks the confidence & charisma of her 13-going-on-25-year-old sister, Lydia. But thanks to an early run-in with two of the school’s most popular athletes (Charlie Bingley & Billy Fitz), Elyse is quickly thrown into the social scene at Northenfield high school.
Although it stays fairly loyal to the source material, this novel finds plenty of creative ways to make the beloved story its own. Chock-full of 80s classics & self-deprecating humor from our unconventional MC, this Austen adaptation takes you on a familiar — yet entirely new — ride. And whether you can sing along to the power ballads, or flashback to the innocence & uncertainties of falling in love for the first time, I believe this novel can provide a little bit of nostalgia for everyone. The completely accurate depictions of a football-fueled Texas high school personally took me back to the days of cheering on my team to State & falling for my very own football player. (Fun fact: we’re married now!)
“Did I really want to judge my beauty, my worthiness, my Future Wonder of Endless Romance by the likes of my sisters?”
In addition to the social hierarchy of NHS, this book also takes on family drama and body image. And while the author did a great job balancing the sisterly affections between Jayne & Elyse, I feel like Elyse didn’t get enough on-page body positivity. She has several confident speeches that made me want to cheer for her, but between her mother’s belittling comments, and Fitz’s first confession speech, her doubt and lack of acceptance seemed to linger until the very end. Perhaps this was an attempt to authenticate a young teen’s self-conscious voice, but I would have loved to see Elyse be genuinely less critical of herself before the novel’s conclusion.
“There’s always more to any story.”
Despite this minor issue, I very much enjoyed Pittman’s fun & fresh take on one of my all-time favorite stories. One aspect that truly left me smitten was the inclusion of several other Austen beaux roaming the hallways of Elyse’s high school. Coupled with the final line, I can only hope this means we’ll be returning to Northenfield for new stories and adaptations. If you’re a fan of classical retellings, clean romances, or just general feel-good reads, I highly recommend giving Pudge & Prejudice a chance!
TW: Death of a parent, cancer, bullying, body shaming, infidelity, divorce.
Allison Pittman is an award-winning author of thirteen novels, including the Christy-nominated Sister Wife series and the critically acclaimed The Seamstress. An enthusiast for all of the writing world, Allison holds active leadership in her local American Christian Fiction Writers chapter, and she heads up a thriving critique group in the San Antonio area. When not writing, Allison teaches middle school English, working as a conduit to introduce her students to new, fresh literature. You can follow her around on Instagram or Twitter and keep up with her writing news on her Allison Pittman Author Facebook page. Here you’ll learn what’s going on with new books, next books, and day-to-day life with Allison and her husband, Mikey. You’ll also get a peek at Snax, the world’s worst dog.
Prize: Signed Copy of Pudge & Prejudice, a hair scrunchie, & a $25 VISA gift card
February 3, 2021 – February 13, 2021
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