Audiobook, Books, Contemporary, Debut Author, Fiction, Romance, YA

Being Mary Bennet is a quite delightful YA contemporary retelling of Pride and Prejudice from Mary Bennet’s POV

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Being Mary Bennet by J.C. Peterson
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My rating: 5 of 5 stars (4.5 rounded up to a 5)

I honestly wasn’t aware that Being Mary Bennet by J.C. Peterson was a debut novel until I listened to the Acknowledgements section. I really enjoyed the YA rom-com–I flew through it–and the cover is very cute. I’m listing a few CWs at the end of this review, but I think the topics are handled pretty well.

Our heroine is seventeen-year-old Marnie Barnes, who wishes she was Lizzie but wholeheartedly believes she is more like Mary Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. She is a bookworm and feels like the odd child out in her large family, headed by her socialite mother and technology bigwig father in San Francisco. While managing a huge project tying together animal adoption and bookmobiles to vie for the prestigious Hunt Prize, Marnie decides to reinvent herself at the same time. Thankfully, she has the help of her fashion-minded boarding school roommate, Adhira.

Watching Marnie blossom out of her curmudgeonly shell and learn how to develop her various familial, platonic, and romantic relationships felt very true to life for me. I identified with this character a lot; she made quite a few decisions (and/or mistakes) that I probably would have also made in her shoes. I didn’t find her completely unlikeable at the start because I’ve been in her shoes, and she goes through a LOT of personal growth throughout the novel.

The eBook version is 384 pages. Big thanks to NetGalley for providing a voicegalley that was about 9 hours long for review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

Tropes: retelling from other POVs, friends to lovers, boarding school, dysfunctional family

CW: casual body and food shaming, racism, bullying, pregnancy/infant loss, off-page car accident, mention of inappropriate relationships between adults and minors

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