As y’all know, I will read just about any Pride and Prejudice retelling and this one did not disappoint. I had some issues with the dude character (when do I not), but overall, this was really well done and I connected a lot with Beatrice.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Growing up homeschooled in Berkeley, California, Beatrice Quinn is a statistical genius who has dreamed her whole life of discovering new mathematical challenges at a school like Oxford University. She always thought the hardest part would be getting in, not convincing her parents to let her go. But while math has always made sense to Beatrice, making friends is a problem she hasn’t been able to solve, so her parents are worried about sending her halfway across the world. The compromise: the Connecticut Shakespearean Summer Academy and a detailed list of teenage milestones to check off. She has six weeks to show her parents she can pull off the role of “normal” teenager and won’t spend the rest of her life hiding in a library.
Unfortunately, hearts and hormones don’t follow any rules, and there is no equation for teenage interactions. When she’s adopted by a group of eclectic theater kids, and immediately makes an enemy of the popular—and, annoyingly gorgeous—British son of the camp founders, she realizes that relationships are trickier than calculus. With her future on the line, this girl genius stumbles through illicit parties, double dog dares, and more than your fair share of Shakespeare. But before the final curtain falls, will Beatrice realize that there’s more to life than she can find in the pages of a book?
In this sparkling debut from Serena Kaylor, Long Story Short is a YA rom-com about a homeschooled math genius who finds herself out of her element at a theater summer camp and learns that life—and love—can’t be lived by the (text)book.
It has been over five months since I read this so…bear with me.
Let’s talk about characters. I highly connected with Beatrice. In school, I was deeply connected to school because it felt like that was the one thing I could excel at. Beatrice also doesn’t excel at social situations and hey, hello, THAT’S ME.
But when she tells her parents her plan for the future, they are very worried that she won’t be able to really survive being on her own. So, they make her a deal. If she goes to a theater camp for the summer, they will agree that she can go to the school of her choice, Oxford.
To say Beatrice is scared about camp would be an understatement. She does not deal with kids her age, but now that she is forced to, she’s not sure how to act. Luckily, some girls in her cabin immediately befriend her so she’s not completely lost.
And then there is Nolan. The son of the founders of the camp. He is kind of an asshole, stuck up, and mysterious. But, of course, he’s also handsome AF and popular. To me, he’s a little too mean to her at the start. While these characters don’t fit exactly into the Pride and Prejudice character slots, neither Darcy nor Elizabeth were ever this level of mean to each other and I was not a fan.
That being said, by the end of the book, I needed these two together like I needed air.
Beatrice had never been in a relationship before and it was delightful to watch her learn what it was like for another person her age to care for her. This also goes for the relationships she had with her friends and frenemy. It was wonderful to see her grow as the story went on.
I also LOVED the Shakespeare aspects of the book. Nolan and Beatrice have a Shakespear-Off in the middle of a lake and OMG, it is A DELIGHT. As a prodigy, Beatrice knew everything and as a theater kid, Nolan did too. And this wasn’t even the only Shakespeare competition they had. I don’t even like Shakespeare that much but THIS…I could read this all day,
Because of how much I connected to Beatrice or perhaps because Serena Kaylor made me care so much about her, I cried and cried as I got to the end of the story. Mostly because of CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT and GROWTH. While Beatrice doesn’t do much acting as the camp prepares their main play, when she does, she shines.
I am giving Long Story Short by Serena Kaylor 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Thank you to Netgalley and Wednesday Books for the free eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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