It is a truth universally acknowledged that any serious Jane Austen devotee must be in want of a retelling. Fans—or “Janeites,” as they’re often known—have had no shortage of screen adaptations in recent years, including Autumn de Wilde’s Emma., Julian Fellowes’s Sanditon series (taking Austen’s unfinished final novel as inspiration), and a modern spin on Persuasion forthcoming from Netflix. Shonda Rhimes’s sumptuous Regency romance series, Bridgerton (based on the novels by Julia Quinn), also has an Austenian touch—sex scenes notwithstanding. Each of these reworkings pays homage to the author’s core themes of love and friendship, while bringing a contemporary sense and sensibility to intersectional issues such as gender, sexuality, race, and, of course, class.

The trend extends to publishing, too. We’ve rounded up a selection of noteworthy YA Austen re-imaginings, spotlighting new and forthcoming releases and memorable backlist titles. And don’t miss our feature on teen lit that pulls from other classic stories.


Being Mary Bennet

J.C. Peterson. (HarperTeen, $17.99 Mar. 15, 2022; ISBN 978-0-06-306013-5). Ages 13 and up.

In this debut contemporary rom-com, 17-year-old Marnie Barnes longs to be witty and confident like Pride and Prejudice heroine Elizabeth Bennet. In reality, she’s more of a Mary Bennet: bookish and insecure. With the help of her outgoing roommate, Marnie sets out to be the main character in her own story. Up next from Peterson is a novel focusing on Marnie’s mischievous younger sister, a sort of modern-day Lydia Bennet.


Debating Darcy

Sayantani DasGupta. (Scholastic, $18.99 Mar. 1, 2022; ISBN 978-1-338-79769-5). Ages 12 and up.

DasGupta, author of the Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series, turns from middle grade fantasy to YA romance in this novel set in the competitive world of high school speech and debate. Facing off at the state tournament are the ultra-driven Leela Bose and elitist Firoze Darcy. Could there be something more to their fierce rivalry? Spoiler alert: yes.


Fresh

Margot Wood (Amulet, $18.99 Aug. 2021; ISBN 978-1-4197-4813-4). Ages 14 and up.

In her YA debut, Wood—a book marketing professional and founder of HarperCollins’s Epic Reads community—draws inspiration from Jane Austen’s Emma, Amy Heckerling’s cult classic movie adaptation Clueless, and her experience at Emerson College in Boston. The result is what PW called “a sex-positive romp through freshman college life,” featuring a queer cast. In a q&a at the time of the book’s launch, Wood discussed the appeal of imperfect heroines: “I like characters who are a bit messy. Emma and Elliot are similar in that they are women who mean well, but don’t always do well.”


Pride and Premeditation

Tirzah Price (HarperTeen, $17.99 Apr. 2021; ISBN 978-0-06-288980-5). Ages 14 and up.

Price kicks off her trilogy of Austen-inspired mysteries with this Pride and Prejudice retelling set in Regency-era London. Here, Elizabeth Bennet is an aspiring barrister who sets out to prove the innocence of the prominent Charles Bingley after he’s arrested on suspicion of murder. Her sleuthing by turns irritates and intrigues Charles’s solicitor—you guessed it—Fitzwilliam Darcy.


Sense and Second Degree Murder

Tirzah Price (HarperTeen, $17.99 Apr. 5, 2022; ISBN 978-0-06-288983-6). Ages 14 and up.

Book two in Price’s trilogy finds scientist Elinor Dashwood and her sister Marianne, a fledgling detective, teaming up to solve the mystery of their father’s murder.


Where the Rhythm Takes You

Sarah Dass (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99 May 2021; ISBN 978-0-06-301852-5). Ages 13 and up.

Using the plot of Persuasion as a launching point, Dass’s debut explores the tensions that arise when 17-year-old Reyna’s ex-boyfriend, Aiden, returns home to Tobago with his now-famous, Grammy-nominated band—and a pair of attractive socialites. The book received a starred review from PW.


Noteworthy Backlist

The Code for Love and Heartbreak

Jillian Cantor (Inkyard, $18.99 2020; ISBN 978-1-335-09059-1). Ages 13 and up.

The Emma at the center of Cantor’s high school rom-com is no social butterfly; she vastly prefers working with numbers as co-president of her school’s coding club to partying with her peers. But when she develops a dating app for a state competition, Emma reluctantly takes on the role of campus matchmaker... with unexpected results.


Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance

Jennieke Cohen (HarperTeen, $17.99 2019; ISBN 978-0-06-285730-9). Ages 13 and up.

Seventeen-year-old Lady Victoria Aston is on a mission: she must marry by the end of the season in order to save her family and their estate from the clutches of her dastardly brother-in-law. Along the way, Vicky finds solace in her favorite novels of the day—penned by Jane Austen, of course.


First & Then

Emma Mills (Holt, $17.99 2015; ISBN 978-1-62779-235-6). Ages 14 and up.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in Mills’s debut teen romance. When Devon’s athlete cousin moves in with her family, she is thrust into the high school football scene. Soon, she finds herself in the orbit of the team’s handsome but haughty captain, Ezra.


Ordinary Girls

Blair Thornburgh (HarperTeen, $17.99 2020; ISBN 978-0-06-244781-4). Ages 13 and up.

Thornburgh follows sisters Plum and Ginny Blatchley—one a wallflower and the other outgoing—as their single mother struggles to make ends meet, in this modern spin on Sense and Sensibility. PW’s starred review described the novel as “a funny, beguiling story of sisterhood, burgeoning self-awareness, and first love.”


Pride: A Pride & Prejudice Remix

Ibi Zoboi (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 2018; ISBN 978-0-06256-404-7)

Zoboi’s incisive contemporary remix charts the romance that develops between two Black teens, both from different social classes, in the swiftly gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick. In an interview with PW, Zoboi said, “At the center is a love story of a girl who comes to love and accept change within herself and in her community as well.” The book received a starred review.