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review: “scones and sensibility” March 28, 2010

Posted by Katie in reviews.
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Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland.
EgmontUSA // Hardcover // 320 pages.
Reviewed from purchased copy.

Polly Madessa has fallen in love — with the works of Jane Austen and especially of “Pride and Prejudice.” After being inspired by the likes of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, she sets out her summer speaking as her idols did, determined to find romance in everyday life. When Polly struggles to find what she’s looking for, she decides to create it by playing matchmaker for her older sister, her best friend’s father, and the local owner of a kite store. Farce and comedy ensue as Polly tries to make the perfect couples she read in books.

This was a very cute novel. At first, Polly’s use of archaic language grated on my nerves, but I was soon smiling at the charm of the novel. It reminded me very much of the style of books I read as a tween (Anne of Green Gables, Betsy-Tacy, Little Women), but with a modern twist.

The romance and couples were obvious to me, and I knew exactly where things were going to fall apart. But I was happy to accompany Polly on her journey as she learned that her matchmaking wasn’t as thought out as she had planned.

I was surprised that Polly’s family and friends didn’t give her a harder time about her language and her behavior. Especially during one incident that actually has the police getting involved because Polly wrongly assumes that someone is unattached when in fact they are in a relationship.

What I struggle with is who to sell this novel to. My tweens are very young, and I think the ones that would make age-wise to Polly would have difficulties with the language that she speaks in. This is definitely a book that has a very tight niche, and it might be hard to sell it to a tween.

On the other hand, it is quite enjoyable and I think it might work well as a mother-daughter book club read. I am definitely looking forward to what the author will write next.

SWAN catalog
Lindsay Eland



review: “jessica’s guide to dating on the dark side” July 29, 2009

Posted by Katie in reviews.
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Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey.
Harcourt // Hardcover // 368 pages.
Reviewed from library copy.

Jessica Packwood thought her life was about as normal as it could get. She’s a member of 4-H, a bit of a math geek, and has her eye on her neighbor, Jake. A typical normal life. That was, until Lucius Vladescu shows up on her doorstep after stalking her all day at school. It gets worse once her parents let him stay and reveal to Jessica that she’s a vampire princess and Lucius is her betrothen.

I really enjoyed this take on the vampire legend. So many of the vampire books coming out these days are all true love and immediately falling for the vampire. This book is completely the opposite of that. If anything, Jessica digs her heels into the ground and refuses to even like Lucius. (At first!)

The characterization is this book is awesome. Jessica is funny and fresh; Lucius is every bit the old Romanian gentleman. And you get to hear both voices because while Jessica tells the story, Lucius’s letters home are also included in the narrative. And the letters truly had me clutching my side and laughing out loud. Particularly the lines about basketball.

The conclusion to this book is a bit sudden (at least, for my liking), but I was satisfied about where we left the characters at the end of the novel. I know a lot of my teens will be clamoring for a sequel, but I hope that this is it for Jessica and Lucius. Too many good vampire stories are ruined by trying to draw them out further.

Half romance and half comedy, this book will for sure lighten up the vampire genre while still giving teens the vicarious vampire romance that the crave. A great, light alternative to “Twilight.”

SWAN catalog
Beth Fantaskey