Your modern retelling of Mansfield Park. Cue cute love interests, witty dialogue, and awfully difficult decisions.
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Based on a classic
Why I love it
Arts & Culture Writer
Take one part Jane Austen romance, two parts ‘90s teen movie decadence, add a generous splash of youthful introspection, shake it all up, and divide it into two tall, equally beautiful glasses: That’s my recipe for the sweet and sour cocktail that is Jacqueline Firkins’s debut YA contemporary novel, Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things.
Our heroine Edie Price has just moved to her aunt and uncle’s home in Mansfield, MA, after a year spent in foster care. Following her free-spirited musician mother’s death, Edie is struggling—with her creativity; a falling out with her best friend, Shonda; and figuring out where she fits in the high-stakes world of her sophisticated cousins, Maria and Julia, and their wealthy friends. Things only get more complicated (and the book’s plot delightfully steamier) when Edie is thrust into a love triangle with her longtime crush, Sebastian, and Mansfield’s most sought after bad boy, Henry, whose reputation as a heartbreaker precedes him.
I wouldn’t consider myself an Austen fanatic, but you don’t have to be familiar with the source material to fall in love with this modern Mansfield Park retelling. Firkins perfectly captures the all-consuming emotions of first love(s), the struggle to decide who we truly are, and the exhilaration of standing at the precipice of adulthood—feelings that anyone who is, or has ever been, a teenager will know all too well.
Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.
But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First there's Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love. He’s sweet and smart and ... already has a girlfriend. Then there's Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player. He’s totally off limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive.
Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone's heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn't hers.