Apr 092013
 

A Spectacular Series for Junior Janeites!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Gift From Mom 🙂

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Young Adult, Modern Adaptation

TIME FRAME: Present-day

MAIN CHARACTERS: Amanda Ellis, Gregory Wentworth, Kylie Russell, Sydney Ellis, Collin Farnsworth

WHY I WANTED TO READ THIS NOVEL:

  • It’s part of a great series! The Jane Austen Diaries started in 2011 with the fantastic Pride and Popularity.
  • I love modern adaptations of Persuasion…and this one is a YA modern adaptation, something new!

WHAT I LOVED:
  • Clever Modernizations and Updates: I thought this modern, YA retelling worked really well, I just love the creative ways Jenni James modified and revamped specific plot points and events from Persuasion! Instead of encountering each other after eight years and a rejected marriage proposal, Amanda and Greg meet again after three years and a rejected dating proposal. Instead of lacking wealth and connections, Greg is deemed unworthy byAmanda’s friends because he is unpopular and uncool. Instead of taking a trip to Lyme where accident befalls someone on The Cobb, the gang of friends head to Moab and a terrible mishap occurs on their ATV excursion.
  • Accessible Themes: Giving into peer pressure, feeling invisible, having regrets – these are all things teens and young adults (and adults) can relate to and understand. Not only do these themes relate well to the themes in Jane Austen’s Persuasion, but they also teach valuable and important lessons to young readers.
  • A Lovable Heroine: Amanda captures our hearts from the moment we meet her and witness the self-reproach and regret she has been living with for the last three years. She is such a sweet and endearing character, and like Anne Elliot, she is surrounded by selfish people who give her little love or value. I think what I liked most about Amanda, is how mature and selfless she is for such a young age. Amanda experiences a lot of pain and insults, and yet she remains kind, compassionate, and unresentful.
  • Reoccurring Characters: I love how characters that were in Pride and Popularity like Madison (Charlotte Lucas), Collin (Mr. Collins), and Kylie Russell not only made appearances in this novel, but doubled as minor characters from Jane Austen’s Persuasion. For example: Collin Farnsworth, who was the Mr. Collins type of character in Pride and Popularity played the part of a heartbroken Captain Benwick in Persuaded. What a creative way to unify this series!
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
  • Kylie Russell: It seems that Kylie, Amanda’s best friend, dips into the roles of Lady Russell and Louisa Musgrove in this adaptation. I must admit I wasn’t too fond of Kylie because she was the main person who persuaded Amanda not to go out with Greg, and than three years later, she pursues Greg herself (acting as if she had no memory of him and his unsuitability three years ago). Plus she seemed a little unstable and overly-dramatic in her jealousy and possessiveness over Greg.
  • Far Fetched: Some aspects of the story like, a teen having command of his parent’s private jet to use (unnecessarily) on a date or a young couple of teens getting engaged after only a few weeks of dating felt a little hard to believe. I’m not saying that they are impossible, it’s just situations like these kind of felt a little less realistic and accessible to the audience.

CONCLUSION:

I think this series is just phenomenal! Jenni James beautifully and skillfully translates the spirit of Jane Austen’s novels and characters into a world that is relevant and identifiable to younger audiences. Persuaded is a well-crafted, inventive, and engrossing adaptation that Janeites can find much pleasure in and have no qualms about sharing with their younger friends and relations!

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2 Comments on "Persuaded – Jenni James"

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Ceri

I definitely want to read this series! Do you know if there is an order to the series or could you read them in any order? I am guessing they are stand-alone books but if some characters appear in more than one book I imagine that reading a later book first might give plot points from another book away?

Meredith

Hi Ceri! Like you said, these books are stand alone, but probably would be better if read it correct order. I think starting with Pride and Popularity might be a good idea because it is was the first one published and seems to be her first book. I know Northanger Alibi (#2) was published early so it isn’t necessarily the one that should be read next.

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts once you do get a chance to read these! As you might guess…I loved them!

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