cover image Ordinary Girls

Ordinary Girls

Blair Thornburgh. HarperTeen, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-244781-4

In this contemporary reimagining of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, 15- year-old Plum Blatchley is the quiet, introspective foil to her dramatic, excitable sister, 18-year-old Ginny. Their illustrator mother’s small but steady royalty payments unexpectedly lost, Plum worries that they’ll be unable to keep their beloved old home, and Ginny’s anxiety about paying for college reaches a fever pitch. As the family scrambles to make ends meet, Plum develops a secret relationship with “Loud Sophomore Boy” Tate and begins to question her identity independent of her family and her late father’s authorial legacy. Though the setting and dialogue are firmly modern, the Blatchleys continually reference literature (and related film adaptations) by the likes of Austen and the Brontës, informing the family’s interactions with one another and their surroundings. A realistic depiction of siblinghood, marked by the girls’ mutual frustration with and protectiveness of one another, proves deeply dynamic as each falters and grows. Most of all, Thornburgh’s (Who’s That Girl) exploration of the power of social comedies and books by and about young women—works often deemed insignificant—shines. A funny, beguiling story of sisterhood, burgeoning self-awareness, and first love. Ages 13–up. [em]Agent: Uwe Stender, TriadaUS Literary. (June) [/em]