I’m twenty-six and have to admit it has been a long time since I have read anything in the Young Adult (YA) genre, but if everything in YA is as wonderful as Sass and Serendipity by Jennifer Ziegler then I am really missing out.
Sass and Serendipity (Sass) was inspired by Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (S&S) and published during the 200th anniversary.
The story explores the relationship between sisters Gabby, as Elinor, and Daphne as Marianne. Both are dealing with their parents divorce in different ways. Gabby is the responsible one who is there to support her Mom when their dad leaves. She gets good grades and a lot if expected of her. Daphne on the other hand believes that her Dad can do no wrong, wants to live life, is impetuous and isn’t responsible at all.
Even though I do not have a sister, I have a younger brother, I could relate to the trials of Gabby and Daphne as they struggled with the bonds of sisterhood. I identified with Gabby completely. I also understood where Daphne was coming from and despite the emotional trials the sisters go though, just like in Austen’s S&S, the bonds of sisterhood are strengthened by these challenges.
Luke, as Willoughby, is the new boy in school and Daphne is head over heels. He’s the true, fairy tale romance she’s been waiting for. Or is he? Sam Randolph, who goes by Mule (as Colonel Brandon), is Gabby’s best friend, but he really rises to the occasion when Daphne goes through a horrible ordeal with Luke. In high school kids can be so cruel.
As Gabby’s best friend, Mule is steady and counters her cynical attitude. However, it is rich boy Prentiss (I love this name) R. Applewhite, as Edward Ferras, who manages to capture Gabby’s attention. Prentiss has way more substance to him than Edward Ferras (sorry Jane Austen) and he is consistently amused by Gabby’s antics. The perfect counterpart for Gabby. I especially loved Gabby and Prentiss, but most important I loved the story about two sisters and their relationship.
Ziegler is a wonderful writer. The romance in this book took turns I did not expect, but I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the journey. Ziegler was able to covey the difficulties between siblings and even the emotions that arise in children from broken homes. Sometimes I felt like I was back in high school because I as I mentioned earlier I identified with some of Daphne’s struggles, but I identified with Gabby a lot as well. Ziegler has a beautiful Austen inspired hit on her hands.
Also, even though I match the characters of Sass with their original S&S counterparts I have say that if Austen purists are looking for an exact replica of the characters in S&S that they may be disappointed. Ziegler puts a fresh, contemporary approach on the themes of S&S. The basic plot of the original is there but Sass can stand on its own. A delightful page turning novel. I’m ready to read it again.
Perhaps, we can hope for a sequel.
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