Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A Fresh Take On P&P: Pride by Ibi Zoboi

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A Fresh Take On P&P: Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Pride
Ibi Zoboi
Genre: Contemporary, Retellings, YA
Publication date: September 18, 2018
by Balzer & Bray

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Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.
-A copy was provided by Balzer + Bray for review-

I consider myself a ~connoisseur~ of Jane Austen retellings so when I heard about Pride, I was P U M P E D. As a ~connoisseur~, I realize that some of them are basically indistinguishable but Pride takes the best elements of Pride and Prejudice and transforms them into something unique. It is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in a Brooklyn neighborhood that is slowly becoming gentrified.

Zuri Benitez is not gonna be everyone’s favorite heroine. She is stubborn, hates change and is definitely the kind of person who likes to win an argument. BUT she is extremely loyal to her fam, sisters, friends and neighborhood. She is also passionate about the world around her and is determined to leave her mark on it.  While she isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea I love her, flaws and all, I love her determination and her occasional self-righteousness.

Darius, our love interest, was a tough nut to crack but it becomes clear very early on in their acquaintanceship that Darius realizes he got on the wrong side of Zuri and he tries really hard to make amends. Zuri being Zuri takes a while to figure out what’s going on but in the end, all that angst is worth it. And honestly, it isn’t just Zuri who is in the wrong since Darius does genuinely fuck up a couple times. I think my only real qualm with their relationship (and this book) is that while I did enjoy their chemistry and compatibility, I did have trouble with the pacing of their romance? What I mean is that I felt that their romance was kind of insta even though I believed in them as a couple. This likely has something to do with the fact that I really enjoy slow-burn romances where we get to see more of the couple as they navigate ups and downs but you know, to each their own and my qualm is definitely not a deal breaker for me or for most people.

ANYWAY, even though Pride is a Pride and Prejudice retelling, I was actually way more drawn in by the Zuri’s family and friends. We might not get as much of everyone as I’d like but I think even the bits we do get of the family members, neighbors, friends leave a strong impression of them as individuals. 

I also really loved Zuri’s character arc. As someone who hates change as much as Zuri, it was both challenging and cathartic to watch her navigate so much of it and figure out her place within her family and in the world.

Pride landed in the world with a big splash so there is a good chance its already on your radar but if it isn’t, I HOPE IT IS NOW because this amazing book is not one to be missed. It is incredibly well-written, honest, thought provoking and also a whole lot of fun.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

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