Monday, October 20, 2014

Reading on a Theme: Inspired by the Classics

This weeks post is one of my favorite Readings on a Theme so far. There's something so fun about reliving a favorite story.

Peter Pan:

After John and Michael go missing, Wendy is certain they are out there somewhere. She goes on a quest to find the beaches they may be surfing and meets Pete, Belle, and their gang at Kensington Beach. The question remains: are they real or figments of Wendy's imagination born from her grief? I found Second Star haunting. If the original Peter Pan were not full of whimsy, it would feel exactly like Alyssa Sheinmel's story. Despite the sadness of the book, I was drawn to it and found it hard to put down. I enjoyed the re-imagining of many of the characters and felt it was true to the original, if only emotionally. Review copy from NetGalley.

Brideshead Revisited:
Chelsey Philpot's Even in Paradise is a gender-swapped retelling of Evelyn Waugh's classic novel. The Buchanan family, like the Flytes, is beautiful, rich, powerful, and deeply wounded. Philpot's book reads like a classic. There is something old fashioned about this book. Perhaps it's that the Buchanan's function like an old aristocratic family. Perhaps it's that the narration always seems to keep the reader at arms length, so that we, like Charlie, are part of and separate from the Buchanan's world all at once. Personally, I found this style perfectly suited to this type of story. The Buchanan's and their island retreat remind me of the Kennedys or the sparkling Sinclairs of E. Lockhart's We Were Liars. Even in Paradise is out October 14th, 2014. Review copy from Edelweiss.

Romeo and Juliet:
Girl on a Wire is the least obvious retelling of the bunch. In fact, at first I didn't even realize I was reading a Romeo and Juliet tale. Wire-walker Julietta (Jules) Maroni joins the Cirque American with the hope that her family will finally receive the recognition they deserve. However, the Cirque American is also the home of a family of trapeze artists who are the Maroni's rivals, the Garcias. Together and in secret Jules and Romeo (Remy) Garcia seek to unravel the mysteries of the past, discover why their families are enemies, and who wants the past to repeat itself. Gwenda Bond's book is full of mystery and the romance of the circus. Out October 1st, 2014. Review copy from NetGalley.

The Fall of the House of Usher:
The Fall is a retelling of Edgar Allen Poe's classic tale told from Madeline Usher's perspective. The Fall is spooky and wonderful and in every way worthy of Poe's original. The details in Griffin's story are what really add to the overall creepiness. In Bethany Griffin's hands the House of Usher comes alive. It is a character in itself, sentient and malevolent and extremely jealous. The doctors are creepy as well. Madeline gets a voice in Griffin's story, and I thought she told the story of her life trapped in a hungry house very well. The disjointed narration adds to the suspense and psychological aspects of the horror story. Out October 7th, 2014, The Fall is the perfect read for the Halloween season. Review copy from Edelweiss.

Cecilia Gray's idea to put all of Jane Austen's characters together in one high school is pretty fun. Only With You is the only book in the series that I have read, but I could definitely see that the best part about these books is how all the characters' stories interweave. Only With You is Emma's tale. However, instead of trying to set up a Harriet, she attempts to set up the Anne Elliot character from Persuasion with the George Wickham from Pride and Prejudice. As in many retellings the fun comes not from the surprise ending but in reliving a beloved classic in new clothes. These stories will probably be most loved by Jane Austen fans. Review copy from NetGalley.

P.S. You might also enjoy this Reading on a Theme: Inspired by the Classics.
Second Star reviewed by Paige.
Even in Paradise, Girl on a Wire, The Fall, and Only With You reviewed by JoLee.

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