BOOK REVIEW: The Romance Diaries (Jenna Austen, HarperCollins)

The Romance Diaries is a fun, fast-paced and modern read for lovers of the Clueless style of Jane Austen updates. In this first book in a new series written pseudonymously by author Sophie Masson, we are introduced to the quirky character of Ruby. Ruby’s a bit clueless herself about matters of the heart but she decides that she’s come up with the perfect plan to help her mother, sister and friends find the men of their dreams: the guys they like are either a ‘Jane Austen’ type (sweet) or a ‘Jane Eyre’ type (brooding), and what they really need to do is switch types. So Ruby starts some elaborate plotting to make it happen. This book’s language is all kinds of ‘totes aMAZing’ and ‘SM. OOTH’, which can be somewhat jarring for those not used to the teen talk (i.e. adults!), but it will be fun for those who really do communicate that way. Plenty of pop-culture references also keep it very ‘now’. Though the romantic topic is relatively mature and the characters are mostly aged 15-plus, this book will really appeal to the tween audience who are on the cusp of this stage of their lives.

Hannah Cartmel is an editor with Macmillan and co-founder of the Rag and Bone Man Press. This review first appeared on the Bookseller+Publisher website in October. View more pre-publication reviews here.

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