cover image Belittled Women

Belittled Women

Amanda Sellet. Clarion, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-358567-35-6

In this lighthearted take on Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women from Sellet (By the Book), a trio of Kansas siblings play their namesakes in “semiprofessional tourist attraction” Little Women Live! High school junior Jo Porter—alongside her older sister, Meg; younger sister, Amy; and a revolving door of Beth-hopefuls auditioning for a permanent role in the cast—has spent seven years performing in their mother’s Little Women–inspired theater production. Jo, frustrated that her mother’s Alcott obsession leaves her with no time to pursue her own goals, including joining the school’s track team, is desperate to regain control of her life. When deadpan New Yorker Hudson and his reporter mother arrive to write a piece on the show, Jo believes they’re her ticket out of Kansas. The Porter siblings’ personalities mirror the March sisters largely at a surface level, occasionally lending to caricature. Nevertheless, the characters’ snappy repartee is both biting and affectionate, and the premise’s cheeky inventiveness—a remix within a remix that both enacts and interrogates the source material—buoys this playful jaunt. Most characters read as white. Ages 14–up. Agent: Bridget Smith, JABberwocky Literary. (Nov.)