Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins. If you enjoy a great Austen retelling, this is one book to check out. Keep reading to learn more about the book and find out about Jacqueline Firkins’ favourite book and film retellings.
Author: Jacqueline Firkins
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 17, 2019
In this charming debut about first love and second chances, a young girl gets caught between the boy next door and a playboy. Perfect for fans of To All The Boys I've Loved Before.
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.
Jaqueline Firkins, Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
Top Ten Favourite Retellings
My top ten favorite retellings: I included both films and books since some of my favorite retellings were written directly for film
- Clueless: Amy Heckerling. The quintessential Austen reboot. She nails it.
- 10 Things I Hate About You: Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith. Taming of the Shrew is a hard piece to present even without the challenge of contemporary adaptation. The film not only gives the heroine agency, it allows the romance to flourish in a genuine way.
- She’s the Man: Ewan Leslie, Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith. 12th Night translated to modern day. A little less brooding, a little more soccer. The perfect almost-kiss. Loads of fun.
- Easy A: Bert V. Royal. Who knew The Scarlet Letter would work as a YA rom-com? The film gets to the heart of Hawthorne’s societal criticism while allowing Hester Prynne a new chance to rise as a feminist teen role model. It’s fast and funny, but it packs a punch.
- Wicked: Gregory Maguire. I love the way the book took us into Oz through a whole new lens, tearing apart what we thought we knew about good and evil. The friendship between the young witches is a fabulous example for YA, even though the book as a whole is geared for adults.
- Bridget Jones’ Diary: Helen Fielding. This one’s not YA but it can certainly be read by teens and it remains one of my favorite Austen adaptations. Fielding writes her heroine with tremendous wit and with the sort of flaws that are refreshingly relatable for readers. We can’t help but root for her.
- Ella Enchanted: Gail Carson Levine. A total classic and a great twist on a tale we all thought we already knew. Ella’s no longer just pretty and petite-footed. She’s funny and smart and conflicted in a very real and relatable way.
- The Bloody Chamber: Angela Carter. This one’s not specifically YA, but I first encountered it as a teen and it stuck with me. Carter remains my favorite fairy tale reteller. She draws out the themes and symbols in such profound and visually stunning ways. They cling to my brain.
- The Penelopiad: Margaret Atwood. This one’s also not specifically YA, but I would’ve loved it if I read it as a teen, especially while I was studying The Odyssey. Atwood takes a male centered story and gives us the female perspective. Her retelling retains the timelessness of the Ancient Greek myths while incorporating a distinctly modern sensibility. That balance can be tricky. She does it brilliantly.
- West Side Story: Ernest Lehman, Arthur Laurents, and Jerome Robbins. Of all the Romeo and Juliet retellings, this one nails the earnest connection of the young lovers and the tragic impact of societal pressures and prejudices. What’s not to love?