AUTHOR: Ibi Zoboi
PUBLISHER: Macmillan Children's Books
GENRE: Young Adult, Romance, Retelling, Contemporary
RATING: 3.5/5 Stars
Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood from becoming unrecognisable.
When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.
But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.
What I Liked:
- The promise of diverse cultural references really drew me to this book, and I definitely got what I wanted here! Zuri, the MC, is a Haitan-Dominican and fiercely proud of her afro-latino roots, while Darius was born in London and his behaviour and upbringing raises a lot of interesting reflection on race and class.
- I found a real sense of comfort and fun in finding the numerous references to the original story. In fact, Zoboi follows the plot very closely and it made me smile to rediscover my love for the original novel while reading this!
What I Disliked:
- I suppose my biggest issue with this book and what turned me off from a super high rating was the fact that I really didn't like Zuri, the MC. In the original story, despite her pride, I LOVE Elizabeth Bennett. She represents a fierce woman who refuses to fit the path laid out for her by her gender and position in society. Zuri is selfish, bratty and rude. On every page. I could not understand why Darius liked her AT ALL.
- The timeline here, compared to the original novel, is super condensed. This means that the romances, especially the sub-plots, were a little too instantaneous for my liking. Ainsley and Janae really didn't excite me in the way that Bingley and Jane did in the original novel, and that was a bit disappointing.
This was a likeable read, full of diversity and culture, and I really liked it's contemporary setting. It drew some great reflections regarding race and class, and also included a ton of poetry which was actually really good! The problems with it were a little hard to overlook though - an MC that made me roll my eyes every page, insta-love, stilted dialogue and a slightly rushed ending. But I'd definitely recommend this to be one of the better contemporary retellings of 'Pride & Prejudice'.
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