Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman
“There is little more likely to exasperate a person of sense than finding herself tied by affection and habit to an Enthusiast.” Julie knows from bitter experience: her best friend, Ashleigh, is an Enthusiast. Ashleigh’s current fancy is also Julie’s own passion, Pride and Prejudice, and the heroine’s quest for True Love. And so Julie finds herself swept along with Ashleigh, dressed in vintage frocks and sneaking into a dance at the local all-boys’ prep school. There they discover several likely candidates for True Love, including the handsome and sensitive Parr. And Julie begins to wonder if maybe this obsession of Ashleigh’s isn’t so bad after all. . .(Goodreads)
Julie’s BFF, Ashleigh tends to get a teensy bit obsessed when she likes something. She’s what you’d call an Enthusiast. And since Julie loves her and all, she deals with it. She supports her. And for better of worse, she goes along with things.
This time around it’s Julie’s beloved Pride and Prejudice that has Ash going crazypants (I know. I am SO feeling you, Ashleigh). She was to live and speak and dress like an Austenite. She even decides that the girls will crash a dance at the snooty all-boys Forefield Academy–so they can dance like an Austenite because for reals, Ashleigh is serious about that shizz.
At the dance, the girls are rescued from being outed as party crashers by the dashing Grandison Parr and his sweet but dorky sidekick, Ned. Julie is taken with Parr, you know, because he’s hot, but by the end of the night Ashleigh has decided that Parr is her Darcy (it would be so Caroline Bingley of her if she weren’t so sweet). Loyalty to her cray cray BFF wins though, and Julie keeps her little crush a secret. As Julie has future encounters with Parr, every sign he gives that he may be possibly falling for her, or for Ashleigh, or a mysterious girlfriend she keeps hearing rumors about prove to confuse things all the more. Plus, what if Parr actually, maybe even a teensy weensy bit liked her too? It’s not like she could do anything about it because of the code of friendship (you never go out with a guy your BFF likes. Never!).
This book is like a hug. It’s adorable. It’s not so much an Austen retelling as it is a cute romance that includes a crazy best friend obsessed with Darcy. And we all have those, right? Or maybe, you know, since we’re the bookish, bloggy type, maybe we’re that friend? Eeeks!
Anyhoo, the friendship between Ashleigh and Julie is funny and has so many cute moments. Julie is great because she’s your typical girl. She doesn’t see how awesome she really is. And she’s a little slow when it comes to boys—I say this not as a put-down, but because I can totally relate to it. For example, it’s only been in the last couple of years that I’ve recognized that certain boys in high school may have actually been hitting on me. And this epiphany happened during a conversation with Vee, my voice of reason, where she said, “Wow, you really were slow.” So I’m sayin, I understand. I mean, it’s been*&%$#^$ years and I just now get it, sort of.
What were we talking about?
Parr and Ned are sweetly charming as are all the boys–even the swarmy ones. Shulman is a fun writer sticks to the important stuff, finds the humor in everyday moments and doesn’t bore us with the lame details. This book made me smile in every way and I was sad to see it come to an end.
Crush Intensity: 4/5 So cute! Thanks to my friends at Gone Pecan for recommending it!