Friday, November 29, 2013
When I'm With You
Gray Life, L.L.C., 2012
YA Contemporary Austen
Source: Received an e-copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I decided to end this month on a comforting note, tackling Gray's contemporary twists on Austen novels with the additional bonus of her throwing all six heroines together as each gets her own book but all linked together by the Jane Austen Academy. This book does things a bit differently as main character Kat spends hardly any time at school or with the other girls, mirroring Catherine's travel and isolation in Northanger Abbey. I wasn't sure about that change but I think this ended up being my favorite yet!
In comparison to the first two novels, this really only focuses on one heroine in the person of actress Kat who is finally getting her shot at stardom by serving as Josh Wickham's personal assistant on the set of his latest film. This ends up giving her a role as an extra, subjects her to some scheming, and introduces her to love interest Henry. I was skeptical about leaving campus but it actually worked out perfectly. It's winter break so why not send the girls off. Plus it serves as a nice halfway reminder and we do still get a few conversations between Kat and best friend Fanny whose book comes next. This also mirrors the original novel as the author notes because Catherine left her home.
Speaking of the original, I feel like while this Kat has some naivety in regards to how Hollywood (particularly the paparazzi and celebrity interaction) operates, she is more worldly than Catherine. This is most likely due to being a modern girl receiving an excellent education. Not that it's a big deal but it was something I reflected on during my time reading this book. I also really like the twist on Kat staying at Henry's house. She does not think it is haunted by the ghost of Mrs. Tilney but she does espy Henry's father engaging in an affair while his wife is in Paris-drama!
Oh and what about Henry? I have always had a soft spot for Mr. Tilney and I think this iteration is my favorite of the three heroes we've met so far (all bets are off when we get to the Emma reimagining though!) This Henry has grown up in Hollywood with a very famous father and has frequently sought solace in his characters as he has attempted to forge his own identity. He's just that touch more sophisticated than Kat and unfailingly kind and polite, very important qualities that aren't always seen in YA males (or at least not in ones that get the girl.)
Overall: Another great installment in the Jane Austen Academy series-I look forward to the other books in the series!