cover image My Plain Jane

My Plain Jane

Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. HarperTeen, $17.99 (464p) ISBN 97

Hand, Ashton, and Meadows follow up My Lady Jane (about Lady Jane Gray) with another tongue-in-cheek novel about a famous Jane—this time, Jane Eyre. In this take on the classic, Jane and Charlotte Brontë are good friends from school, and as Jane’s story unfolds, Charlotte records every moment of it—at first writing it as a murder mystery, then a romance. Jane can also see ghosts, and the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits determines that she is a rare Beacon (someone who can control ghosts), offering her a high-paying job. The chapters switch among the handsome young Alexander, a member of the Society; Charlotte, who convinces Alexander to give her a temp job (and who falls for Alexander); and Jane, who spurns her job offer, heads off to Thornfield, and falls for Rochester. The authors’ prose holds all the flavor of a juicy period novel yet with the addition of numerous, witty asides. The narrative is full of wry humor—at one point, Jane thinks to herself about Rochester, “He was everything she’d ever dreamed about. Tall. Dark. Brooding”—and laugh-out-loud commentary. The authors’ affection for their source material is abundantly clear in this clever, romantic farce. Ages 13–up.[em] (June) [/em]