S for Sisters in Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood, by Abby McDonald (book review) – Sense and Sensibility and sunscreen

book cover of Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood by Abby McDonald published by CandlewickPoor relatives can’t be picky about things,
Change can be painful…
but landing on your feet in Beverly Hills – wow!

Hallie and Grace’s very rich stepmother sells the sisters’ home so that their half-brother will “be provided for” – curses on Dad for dying without a valid will!

And Grace is attracted to stepmother’s brother (her step-uncle?) who appreciates her love of science combined with art.

You can read the first three chapters  free here, then be ready to head for your local library or independent bookstore because you’ll want to read the rest of this updated version of Sense and Sensibility ! While you’re there, look for other titles by McDonald, like Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots  (my no-spoiler recommendation here).

What other modernized classics have you read lately?

Book info: Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood / Abby McDonald. Candlewick Press, 2013. [author site] [publisher site]

My recommendation: Dad suddenly died and left everything to his new wife, including their childhood home. So Mom, Grace, and Hallie leave the misty cool of San Francisco and move in with Mom’s cousin – in his Beverly Hills mansion. Reinvent themselves or stay the same?

So weird to meet their stepmother’s brother at Dad’s wake – he’s just a bit older than the sisters. Theo and Grace visit all her favorite places in San Francisco one last time before she moves to L.A. and he heads back east to college. They were getting along so well…

Sometimes, Grace feels like the parent as big sister is dramatic to extremes and mom is artistic, laid-back. For them, being in Cousin Auggie’s guesthouse is starting anew; for shy Grace, it’s anguishing to change, no matter how nice their cousin’s young starlet wife is to them.

Hallie can’t wait to start her acting career, but agencies won’t even let her in the door. A chance encounter on the beach gets her into an exclusive circle of young actresses where she meets Dakota, lead singer for the hottest band, new love of her life! She’ll be his inspiration now, and life is very, very good. Never mind scarred Brandon next door, offering to photograph her for agency headshots, trying to get over his tour in Iraq.

Grace stays by the pool at Auggie’s all summer, then tries to find her place among the rich and ritzy at her new high school. Her lab partner Harry at least does his share of work and business-builder Palmer is a crazy-fun antidote to the celebrity gossip around them. Mom is so wrapped up in painting a new portrait series that she honestly has no idea what her daughters are experiencing, aside from the careful comments they make during family Sunday brunch.

Will Hallie ever get an audition? Will Dakota stay true to her?
Can Grace get over what might have been with Theo?
What happens when the in-crowd gossip hits a little too close to home?

Yes, this is Sense and Sensibility  transplanted into 92010 with all the social posturing and misunderstandings intact – and an added dose of sunscreen, rock music, and current events.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

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