It's no secret that I love Pride and Prejudice. I read the book, watched both the BBC mini-series and the movie that stars Keira Knightly. So when I saw this book on Goodreads I was immediately drawn to it, despite its somewhat cheesy title.
Berry is a teenage private investigator and she works for her Dad's PI firm. Veronica Mars anyone? I'm not sure if this is what the author is aiming for but if it is, she was successful in that endeavor. In my head, I thought of the lovely Kristen Bell, my favorite teenage detective, when Berry was described.
Totally unrelated to this review but who's excited for theVeronica Mars Movie? I can't wait! *fangirl squee*
So anyway, we first meet Berry in a stakeout with her best friend, Mary Chris. Because she was wearing spy paraphernalia, she was able to overhear two guys, Tanner and Ryan, talking about them. If you've read Pride and Prejudice before, you know where this is going. The friendly and likable Ryan was immediately drawn to Mary Chris while the aloof Tanner made not-so-favorable comments regarding Berry's looks which immediately placed him on her sh*t list. But the more Tanner got to know Berry, the more she fascinated and intrigued him and despite his better judgement, he soon falls for her. Tanner and Ryan also have secrets though and when Berry stumbles on a mystery close to her heart, she is determined to get to the bottom of it, even though she knows that it will surely effect everyone around her.
I like how the book was able to keep the essence of P&P -- this is a retelling after all -- but also manages to stay original by combining mystery and light suspense in the story. I like Berry's determination to find out the truth once she realizes that not everything that happened in the past is what it seems. She is funny, snarky, and sarcastic, with a hint of darkness in her. She is slightly damaged because of what happened to her family in the past and everything she is now is because of that.
Tanner shows a bit more passion than our Mr. Darcy and since I'm thinking along the lines of Veronica Mars for Berry, I really can't help but see him as Logan Echolls.
The chemistry between the two is strong and sweet, the attraction between them solid. I love how their romance develops, it's clear that they are both struggling with their growing relationship and even though we only get to read Berry's POV, Tanner's character is pretty honest and direct enough for us to know his feelings. I also loved discovering who the characters from P&P were in this book and some of them are a pleasant surprise.
Despite having murder and espionage thrown into the story, the book remains light and I really like that the teenagers portrayed here are less angst-y than most teenagers we read about in YA books. Berry is the angstiest (I don't think this is a word ^_^) of them all and I think she has a pretty legitimate reason why she's that way.
I don't really want to talk about the book's mystery much because I want to focus more on the characters but it's a mystery Berry needed to unravel for her to be able to move on from the past. Throughout the book, it's clear how important it is for her to know the truth and I was rooting for her to get to the bottom of it.
The blurb says that Spies and Prejudice is a playful nod to the classic Pride and Prejudice and it really is, but the book was also able to stay unique versus other P&Pretellings. I enjoyed the book, it was exactly what I was looking for when I wanted something light and easy to read. Clearly I'm a huge fan of Veronica Mars so I think other fans of the TV show will enjoy the book as well, but even so, if you are just on the lookout for something cute, fun and YA, this is definitely it.