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Friday, March 09, 2012

Plotless, Cheesy, Predictable—I Could Go On, But Why?

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Every girl in Farmington, New Mexico, loves gorgeous Taylor Anderson. Except Chloe Hart. The 17-year-old despises Taylor, who really doesn't need a league of admirers since he's already his own biggest fan. Why he seems determined to win Chloe over is a mystery to her. They're obviously not meant to be together. Not even as friends. Except when she actually gets to know Taylor, she discovers there might be more to him than just his cover model face. Which isn't going to stop her from hating him, of course. No matter how charming he is, Chloe refuses to fall for Taylor—until she realizes that's exactly what's happening.

I'm not going to belabor the point here: I gave Pride & Popularity, the first book in The Jane Austen Diaries series by Jenni James, a D because it deserves it. On the bright side, the novel is quick, clean and teaches some good life lessons. On the not-so-bright side, the writing is terrible, the editing sloppy, the characters flat, the dialogue unnatural, and the plot nonexistent. I could go on, using words like cheesy, predictable and unrealistic, but you get the message. If the book wasn't a Whitney Award finalist, I wouldn't have read past the first page.

I know that's a harsh assessment, but, as Randy Jackson (of American Idol fame) likes to say, "I'm just keeping it real." Of course, I could be totally off-base here, especially since Pride & Popularity gets (mostly) rave reviews on sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc. If you've read it, what's your keeping-it-real opinion? Am I crazy? Have I lost all sense of what makes a good book? What's your take?

(Readalikes: Um, I can't think of anything. Can you?)

Grade: D

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG

To the FTC, with love: I bought Pride & Popularity at Deseret Book with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger. Ha ha.


  1. I love all things Jane Austen and I have a copy of this but have not gotten around to reading it. It will probably slide a little further down my TBR list now.
    Truly Bookish

    1. I usually love twists on Jane Austen works, too, but this one just wasn't written well enough to satisfy me. At all.

  2. I read the first chapter online just now... and... yeah. Nuff said.

    Or maybe not.

    Gorgeous Adonis can play flawless basketball and still spare most of his attention to pinpoint the ONE girl in the crowd who isn't cheering? Who abandons her skepticism after a single round of shameless flirting? Enough to cheer louder than all the other lemmings? Right before he goes back to SIT BY HIS GIRLFRIEND? What kind of game is this? Even married players sit on the bench with the team.

    I started the second chapter, too, but couldn't get past the maid-butler dialogue, knee-high cheese, and inexplicable 3-year ongoing grudge. She's never had a class with him? Everyone still loves him? Everyone?

    Okay, I'll stop.

  3. Uh oh, I just won Northanger Alibi from goodreads. Hope maybe she got her writing improved a bit?

    1. This is the author's first book, so yeah, hopefully she improves with each novel she writes. And the cover of NORTHANGER ALIBI is cute so that's something, right?

  4. Ouch.

    I haven't read it. I'm wondering how it made it as a Whitney Finalist if it's that bad.

    1. I wondered the same thing. Sometimes the finalist selections make no sense to me whatsoever. And, unfortunately for James, she's up against some pretty stiff competition in her category. It will be interesting to see what happens ...

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  6. I really loved this book! Of course it was cheesy! Some days I really enjoy sitting back and reading a light-hearted cheesy book.
    Here is My Review

    1. I can deal with a certain amount of cheese as long as the book is well-written otherwise. This one was cheesy AND poorly written - not a winning combination in my book :(

      Your review made me smile, though. I love that you're so happy and that the book made you smile. I'm glad the story worked for you, even if it didn't for me :)

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  8. Well, I can sorta tell it wouldn't be very good and I'm irritated that the author has the same name as me albeit a different spelling.

    1. C'mon, now, Jenny (or Jenni) James is a GREAT author name! I'm sure this JJ will get better with time ...

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  10. I think I still plan on reading this maybe eventually, but I won't rush out to get a copy of it. I think a lot of retellings are pretty much predictable if they're following the plot of a classic such as P&P. But then again, I'm a little disheartened to hearthat the writing was not up to your standards.

    1. Well, there's predictable and then there's predictable, but I get what you're saying ... That wasn't even my biggest problem with the book, though. Mostly it was the clunky writing and flat-as-a-pancake characters. If you do read the book, let me know what you think.

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