Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood by Abby McDonald

8:00 AM

Title: Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood
Author: Abby McDonald
Release Date: April 23, 2013 (hardcover)
Publisher: Candlewick
Pages: 336
Source: Copy provided by publisher

Overall: 3.5 Stars

Abby McDonald gives L.A. the Jane Austen treatment in this contemporary take on Sense and Sensibility.

Hallie and Grace Weston have never exactly seen life eye to eye. So when their father dies and leaves everything to his new wife, forcing the girls to pack up and leave San Francisco for a relative’s house in shiny Beverly Hills, the two sisters take to their changing lot in typically different styles. Shy, responsible Grace manages to make friends with an upbeat, enterprising girl named Palmer but still yearns for her old life — and the maybe-almost-crush she left behind. Meanwhile, drama queen Hallie is throwing herself headlong into life — and love — in L.A., spending every second with gorgeous musician Dakota and warding off the attention of brooding vet Brandon. But is Hallie blinded by the stars in her eyes? And is Grace doomed to forever hug the sidelines?

My Thoughts: 
Abby McDonald gives Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility a cute Hollywood spin in her latest YA novel! I wouldn't say Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood is my favourite book by Abby McDonald, but I did find it entertaining to watch the two Weston sisters navigate their way through sunny L.A. while dealing with their grief and anger against their father for leaving them with absolutely nothing after he suddenly dies. Grace, Hallie and their mom are forced out of their home by their mean and selfish stepmother, leaving them all to rely on the kindness of a relative who lives in Beverly Hills.

Grace and Hallie may love each other as sisters, but their personalities couldn't be any more polar opposite. Hallie is a major Drama Queen (yes, with capital letters), but not one of the mean girl types. She loves being the center of attention and sees their move to Beverly Hills as the perfect opportunity to take the next step from theater classes to auditions. Grace has never been as outgoing as her sister. She's the smart, responsible one with a sensible head on her shoulders, but she regrets not expressing her feelings to her friend Theo before moving away.

While Grace pines away for Theo, Hallie has two potential love interests in Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood. Rest assure though, there's no love triangle. Hallie immediately finds herself falling for gorgeous musician Dakota, whose band is sure to be recognized by a record label soon. Brandon is their new next-door neighbour. He's a quiet, young war veteran who cares for Hallie, even though she's oblivious to his feelings. 

The novel is told from the duel perspectives of Grace and Hallie, but I surprisingly did prefer reading from Hallie's point of view more than Grace. Hallie's personality could have easily lead more into the being annoying zone, but she brought vibrancy to the pages with her over the top actions, and I liked seeing her learn from her mistakes. While Grace is a much more relatable character, her emotions are so much more subdued in comparison that I found her chapters a bit slower for me to read.

Drama, friendship, romance, and heartbreak... What's not to like about Abby McDonald's Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood?  

Thanks so much to Random House Canada for providing this review copy!

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  1. I'm glad you liked it! I thought this one was just so-so, it wasn't bad but it wasn't good either. Personally, I didn't like either of the POVs in particular.