- Page Count: 326
- Release Date: July 12, 2016
- My Rating: 3 stars
She can score a goal, do sixty box jumps in a row, bench press a hundred and fifty pounds…but can she learn to curtsey?
Megan McKnight is a soccer star with Olympic dreams, but she’s not a girly girl. So when her Southern belle mother secretly enters her in the 2016 Dallas debutante season, she’s furious—and has no idea what she’s in for. When Megan’s attitude gets her on probation with the mother hen of the debs, she’s got a month to prove she can ballroom dance, display impeccable manners, and curtsey like a proper Texas lady or she’ll get the boot and disgrace her family. The perk of being a debutante, of course, is going to parties, and it’s at one of these lavish affairs where Megan gets swept off her feet by the debonair and down-to-earth Hank Waterhouse. If only she didn’t have to contend with a backstabbing blonde and her handsome but surly billionaire boyfriend, Megan thinks, being a deb might not be so bad after all. But that’s before she humiliates herself in front of a room full of ten-year-olds, becomes embroiled in a media-frenzy scandal, and gets punched in the face by another girl.
The season has officially begun…but the drama is just getting started.
Ok, I’m going to have a lot to say about this one (mainly because I was so invested in the story and really did love the premise).
I love soccer. I am all about even the vaguest hint of Pride & Prejudice. I lived in Dallas for a short time and was weirdly fascinated by their whole debutante scene. So this book started out super promising…
Basic plot: this is a Pride & Prejudice retelling about a Dallas soccer player whose mother makes her be an elite debutante. If this sounds familiar, the beginning did kind of seem like She’s the Man (albiet without the whole Twelfth Night retelling). The debutante bits at the beginning were the most interesting part of the story for me and I wish it had stuck with that plot more.
The story tried to do too much and would have worked WAY better if it had dropped the Jane Austen retelling entirely. But my biggest issue is that absolutely vital parts of the Pride & Prejudice story were changed or removed for the sake of time, which seriously messed up the overall impact of this book.
Examples (I’m just going to use their P&P names to illustrate this better): Darcy is actually dating Caroline and has very few encounters with Lizzie. All of the Bennett sisters are removed except for Jane, so the Lydia role of misfortune & dishonor on the family goes to Jane in this story. BUT that disaster is not brought upon by Wickham… it comes from some random abusive ex-boyfriend. And then Lizzie doesn’t find out about Wickham actually being a lying jerk from Darcy; she hears it from Georgiana. All of this seriously weakens Darcy’s role to the point where he’s insignificant. There were so, so many other mangled relationships that it made me wonder if the authors truly understood Jane Austen and why they chose to use this outline of a plot if they weren’t going to take advantage of its actual point.
So the debutante scene got shoved to the side in the second half while the plot tried to run through a checklist of P&P events (none of which had any emotional impact). It all felt extremely forced. Like we barely even see the Darcy guy and he’s suddenly going “I love you” and kissing her? I do not care. AND THIS MAKES ME VERY, VERY SAD SINCE PRIDE & PREJUDICE RETELLINGS ARE MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE.
And then the whole idea that their family is in a financially difficult situation, yet throwing a quarter of a million dollars away on some debutante parties just does not work for me. I’m sorry, but they’re in the 1% and I will not pity any part of this drama about selling the ranch and the mom who “can’t live like this anymore” with the uncertainty of when their tuition to super expensive colleges is due and they have to sell off some acres. Welcome to life? The book really sounded like it was written by some clueless rich people at times, no matter how much it had the MC insist it was silly to spend so much on dresses.
I’m not really sure who the target audience is here because the story’s about a 20 year old college junior who acts like a high schooler. Like the Darcy guy is a millionaire who owns his own business, the Collins guy is an attorney, the Wickham scheme is all about sleeping with people for business gains, and then… the main character is riding her bike around, throwing juvenile retorts, and trying to figure out how a condom works? And there were a few serious WTF moments with her thoughts or comments.
So this was weird. It was way, way too forced and simple to even remotely be considered an adult book, but it still didn’t feel YA with a lot of the situations? The book felt like it was trying to be a lot of different things (and different stories), but sadly didn’t really settle on anything in the end.
It’s still not a bad story! I really enjoyed the first half and thought I was going to give it 5 stars, and the second half was… adequate. It could have been SO much better, but I guess I’d still recommend this to a younger crowd and/or those who aren’t terribly huge P&P fans.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy!