cover image Sixteen Scandals

Sixteen Scandals

Sophie Jordan. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-358-20621-7

Red-haired, freckled Primrose Ainsworth, sheltered and perpetually overlooked, has longed for the freedom that turning 16 will bring ever since witnessing her three elder sisters enter London society in succession. But when her birthday arrives in June 1821 and her mother dispassionately declares that Prim’s debut will be delayed for at least a year, Prim rebels. Enlisting the help of her best friend Olympia Zaher, the striking, brown-skinned daughter of a renowned opera singer, Prim dresses in a daring borrowed gown and dons a mask to covertly visit Vauxhall, the scandalous outdoor pleasure gardens. When a brawl separates the duo, Prim finds herself in the company of a handsome, unquestionably well-off stranger also missing his companions, who insists she call him Jacob, and infuriates and intrigues her in equal measure. Though offering a brief, two-day glimpse into Prim’s life, Jordan (Kissing Lessons) neatly evokes the familiar beats of a Regency romance and credibly establishes the setting. The charming Pride and Prejudice–reminiscent romance effectively renders the privilege and societal power dynamics at play and imbues forward-thinking, dynamic heroine Prim with refreshing agency. Ages 12–up. (May)