Little Women and Me

Little Women and Me

3.7 12
by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
     
 

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Emily is sick and tired of being a middle sister. So when she gets an assignment to describe what she'd change about a classic novel, Emily pounces on Little Women. After all, if she can't change things in her own family, maybe she can bring a little justice to the March sisters. (Kill off Beth? Have cute Laurie wind up with Amy instead of Jo? What was

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Overview

Emily is sick and tired of being a middle sister. So when she gets an assignment to describe what she'd change about a classic novel, Emily pounces on Little Women. After all, if she can't change things in her own family, maybe she can bring a little justice to the March sisters. (Kill off Beth? Have cute Laurie wind up with Amy instead of Jo? What was Louisa May Alcott thinking?!) But when Emily gets mysteriously transported into the 1860s world of the book, she discovers that righting fictional wrongs won't be easy. And after being immersed in a time and place so different from her own, it may be Emily--not the four March sisters--who undergoes the most surprising change of all.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An English assignment to find something to change in a well-loved novel becomes a catalyst for a trip into a fictional world. When insecure high school freshman Emily March isn’t obsessively trying to turn herself into someone boys will like better than her sisters, she enjoys reading. She knows exactly what she would change about her beloved Little Women: Beth would not die, and Jo, not Amy, would marry Laurie, the boy next door. Her idealizations of the March girls change, however, when she gets sucked into their world, becoming—once again—the middle March sister and competing with her sisters (especially her idol Jo) for a boy’s attention. As Emily adjusts to the lack of modern conveniences (“How I missed Facebook!”), she tries to discern her purpose for entering the novel. Baratz-Logsted (The Education of Bet) fully embraces the corniness of her fish-out-of-water premise (“Talk about being sucked into a book”; “alk about getting lost in a good book”), but those upset over the fates of certain characters in the original will find reason to rejoice in this retelling. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)
VOYA - Christina Fairman
Emily March is, in many ways, a typical high school student whose world revolves around boys, friends, and fashion. Ordinary life dissolves, however, when Emily picks up a copy of Little Women and inexplicably finds herself transported into the book as a fifth March daughter. Emily is wearing 1861 clothing, her hair is pinned up under a bonnet, and, most distressingly, everyone in the novel behaves as if she has always been there. As Emily navigates this altered reality, she discovers that she can only experience events as they occur in the original novel and apparently she cannot change what happens. The storyline parallels the plot of Little Women and features the same familiar list of characters, including Marmee, Jo, Meg, Amy, Beth, and Laurie. This delightful story will appeal primarily to younger teens. Familiarity with Little Women is not necessary, but some readers may be inspired to pick up the original after reading this version. This book does not contain potentially problematic language or subject matter. Its only weakness is the overuse of cultural expressions from 2011. Some, such as "whack" and "dude," seem contrived, while allusions to contemporary pop culture risk dating the book. That point is worth considering for libraries, where readers may pass up the book in a year or two if it contains too many outdated pop references. Nevertheless, teens of the moment will surely overlook those details to enjoy a smart, funny, and engaging novel. Reviewer: Christina Fairman
School Library Journal
Gr 7–9—High school freshman Emily March is sick of being constantly passed over as the middle sister. It was bad enough when it was just her family, but now that her crush is fawning over her sisters, it's too much. When she is assigned to pick a book and write about the one thing she would change in it, she chooses Little Women and she is literally sucked into the story. For the duration of the tale, she is part of the March family as the fifth and, of course, middle sister. Certainly fans of Alcott's work will enjoy the familiar scenes from a modern point of view, not to mention the adventures of an additional sister and the great twist at the end, and they're likely to want to go back and reread the original. Many readers will also applaud Emily's desperate attempts to save Beth from her fate and change Jo's and Laurie's marriage choices. However, for those who have not read the classic, this book gives away far too much and yet doesn't make kids realize how much they're missing. Still, there are definitely lessons to take away from Baratz-Logsted's message about finding your own voice. Overall, this is a well-done companion book for fans of the novel.—Kerry Roeder, Corlears School, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
This latest venture in literary repurposing—19th-century classic to teen chicklit—features an overlooked middle sister whose freshman English assignment propels her into Alcott's novel, where, as sister to Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, she's overlooked again. Emily assumes she's been sent to change something about the March sisters' story—perhaps she'll save Beth?—yet at first the Marches barely register her presence. Life with the fictional Marches echoes Emily's real one. There, she'd tried and failed to attract a boy with a crush on her older sister. With her knowledge of Laurie's interest in Jo, Emily moves in to nab him first, only to scare him away. Plenty of teen heroines feel invisible, but Emily's indignant reaction and optimistic determination to be noticed set her apart. The story works best when delivering Emily's contemporary-teen take on the classic's more dated elements (Marmee's lectures, the family's preachy good intentions, Victorian gender relations), which haven't worn well. Contradictions abound though. How someone as vivid and feisty as Emily can be ignored in either world is unclear. The fantasy device feels awkward, and themes and plot elements don't quite coalesce. Set churlish quibbles aside, though, and what remains is a consistently entertaining read that delivers a genuinely original heroine and frequently hilarious satire. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781619630338
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
07/23/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
575,879
Product dimensions:
5.76(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.92(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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