Saturday, March 24, 2012
Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to review the latest 2K12 book release.
Emma Townsend has always believed in stories—the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates. Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn’t come close to filling the void left by her mother’s death. And her only romantic prospect—apart from a crush on her English teacher—is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre…
Reading of Jane’s isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane’s body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she’s never known—and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own… -- Kensington
I was pretty excited to receive a copy of the new YA novel A BREATH OF EYRE by Eve Marie Mont . First of all, Ms. Mont is an almost local author to me since she lives in Philadelphia; and I love to support Pennsylvania authors. Secondly, I read and reviewed another one of her novels FREE TO A GOOD HOME, and I enjoyed it. And finally, A BREATH OF EYRE is one of the Class 2K12 books which I will be featuring throughout this calendar year.
A BREATH OF EYRE is a creative take on the Jane Eyre novel. Emma is a teen girl who loves books and feels most comfortable when she is caught up in a story (needless to say, I could relate.) She is able to forget about the pressure of her elite private school, the void left from the loss of her mother, and even guy problems. When some family friends give her a copy of JANE EYRE, her mother's favorite book, Emma finds that the novel really resonates with her... so much so that she is transported into the pages of the story after a freak encounter with a lightning bolt. Through Emma's journey between reality and fiction, she experiences a sense of belonging and realizes some important things about her own self.
I thought A BREATH OF EYRE was a very cute young adult book, and in some ways I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I am pretty sure that I would have liked this novel as a teen, and I do think tween and teen girls will feel an affinity with the character of Emma. Emma has so many traits that are universal to girls. She worries about fitting in at school and lacks confidence when it comes to guys, but she also feels as if she isn't pretty and she has issues with her stepmother. And even though Emma is dealing with some bigger things like the loss of her mother and a father who can't express his emotions, I'm betting that most girls will see not only themselves in her character, but also many of their friends.
I couldn't help but love Emma and that went a long way in my enjoyment of this novel, but I also found the premise of the story to be very creative. I don't want to say that there has never been a book where girls (or women) time travel or else become some of their favorite characters, but I do think Ms. Mont approached the story in a unique way. I enjoyed both of Emma's worlds, the real one and her fictional one, and I appreciated how Ms. Mont merged the two. Through Emma's travels, she learned some extremely important lessons about life and she better learned how to accept (and even embrace) her own self. The story was sweet (and clean) and. at the same time, it was also deep. I actually loved how much Emma matured throughout the course of the novel.
A BREATH OF EYRE is the first book in a new young adult series, and I was pretty excited to discover this. Of course, that means that I will have to read the next couple of books, but I think I can live with that. The next novel in the series is A TOUCH OF SCARLET which takes Emma into the pages of THE SCARLET LETTER; and the following is A PHANTOM ENCHANTMENT which merges reality and the story THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.
A BREATH OF EYRE would make a cute book club pick for teens or even mother daughter groups. I couldn't find a formal discussion guide, but I don't think one's necessary for a quality discussion. Some of the themes you might want to explore include friendship, loss, parent/child relationships, insecurity, discovering one's true self, and love. Most of the themes are pretty common, but I've found that girls never tire of discussing them and that they love comparing themselves to the main character.
Update: Ms. Mont has prepared a discussion guide. You can find it here.
I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining A BREATH OF EYRE was, and I recommend it to fans of young adult chick lit as well as fans of JANE EYRE.
Thanks to the publisher for sending a review copy of this book.
A few months ago, I introduced this new feature on Kid Konnection. For those of you who missed it, here's the scoop:
Throughout 2012, I will be featuring many of the authors from the Class of 2K12. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Class of 2K12, it's a group of middle grade and young adult authors who have books being released some time during 2012. You can learn more about the authors and their books here. (And while you are visiting the blog, make sure you sign up for their mailing list. You are going to want to stay informed because there will be many opportunities to win some fantastic prize packs!)
You might notice that I used the word interview in the previous sentence, and that's because I didn't really interview the authors. Rather, I asked each author to do one simple thing:
Describe your book in 200 characters or less.
I asked Eve Marie Mont author of A BREATH OF EYRE to describe her book in just a few words; and here's what she had to say:
A shy girl who gets transported into her favorite novel, Jane Eyre, must determine whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane's story or in the unwritten chapters of her own.
Now Eve teaches high school English and Creative Writing in the Philadelphia suburbs and sponsors her school’s literary magazine. When not grading papers or writing, Eve can be found watching the Phillies with her husband, playing with her shelter pup, or daydreaming about her next story.
You can connect with Ms. Mont in any of the following places:
If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!