cover image Jo & Laurie

Jo & Laurie

Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz. Putnam, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-9848-1201-8

De la Cruz and Stohl’s affectionate tribute to Louisa May Alcott’s work takes place in the year between the 1868 release of Little Women and the 1869 publication of Good Wives, two volumes that are today published as one. At 18, Jo March struggles to produce a sequel after the success of her domestic novel loosely inspired by her family. Buoyed by the novel’s success and overwhelmed by demands for a happy ending—that is, marriage—for the sisters, she toils to find direction on and off the page. Eventually, Jo must balance commercial callings, reality, and fiction as the siblings’ real lives (and shifting relationships with Laurie, the steadfast boy next door) overlap and diverge from Jo’s imaginings. The authors carefully mimic the setting and dialogue style of Alcott’s works, making their care for the characters apparent. Inspired by the original novel’s events and further structured around Alcott’s history and letters, de la Cruz and Stohl’s novel is a playful addition to the world of Little Women, providing readers with a richly imagined look at grief, creativity, and authorship that infuses the beloved characters with new life. Ages 12–up. (June)