My favorite book has always been Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I struggled through most of the classics in high school because I didn't enjoy reading something that I didn't get to pick for myself. Jane Eyre was the exception. I have read and reread it and I really do love it. So many girls say, (insert syrupy sweet tone of voice here) "Oh Pride and Prejudice is so romantic. I just love Mr. Darcy." And to an extent I agree with them, but it never quite captured me like Jane Eyre did. Jane is a character with just so much... well, character. She has integrity and self-respect and while she knows that her prospects are not great, she still has high expectations for herself and the people around her. THIS is the kind of role model we should be promoting for young women today.
And then I found Jane by April Lindner. This has been on my list for a while now and I'm so glad I finally read it. Oh, it is just wonderful. Jane is a modern retelling of Jane Eyre and it does not disappoint. In this version, Jane is a young woman forced to drop out of Sarah Lawrence at the end of her freshman year when her parents die in a car crash. Don't worry. I'm not giving anything away that isn't stated in the first page or two. Jane then goes to a nanny placement service and is hired to work for an insanely famous rock star, Nico Rathburn. How perfectly can you see Mr. Rochester morphed into a tortured rock star with a shady past?
This book does not talk down to the reader and while it is considered a YA novel, it doesn't feel like one. Jane is only 19, but she acts years older. Also, she is the youngest character in the book, aside from Maddy, her charge, so it doesn't turn into some sad Jane-Eyre-in-high-school ridiculousness. It was written to appeal to all fans of Jane Eyre not just teenage girls. Just a disclaimer: While this book is in the Young Adult genre, you might want to preview it before handing it to your twelve-year-old. Some of the language is much more what one might expect from a rock star and there is an adult situation or two.
I loved this book. I borrowed it from the library, but I will soon be purchasing my own copy so that I can reread it whenever I like. Of course the original is beautifully written and this contemporary version won't take it's place at the top of my metaphorical bookshelf, but I did truly enjoy it and I was pleasantly surprised. Pick it up and tell me what you think. Are you a fan of rewrites or should well enough just be left alone?