Review: Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

Publisher: Razorbill (June 11, 2009)
Paperback: 270 pages
Price: $8.99 from Amazon
To impress the popular girls on a high school trip to London, klutzy Callie buys real Prada heels. But trying them on, she trips…conks her head…and wakes up in the year 1815!
There Callie meets Emily, who takes her in, mistaking her for a long-lost friend. As she spends time with Emily’s family, Callie warms to them—particularly to Emily’s cousin Alex, a hottie and a duke, if a tad arrogant.
But can Callie save Emily from a dire engagement, and win Alex’s heart, before her time in the past is up?
More Cabot than Ibbotson, Prada and Prejudice is a high-concept romantic comedy about finding friendship and love in the past in order to have happiness in the present.


Review: Why, why? I recently went on a trip to the library and picked this book up on a whim, because it's based off of Pride and Prejudice, of course. (Can you tell I'm head-over-heels for Jane Austen's classic?) I actually really wanted to like this book because the cover and summary looked very fun and cute. But, unfortunately, I was disappointed and am starting to think that I should swear off books centered on Pride and Prejudice all together.

First off, what annoyed me from practically page one was the main girl, Callie. I would try to make this a little less harsh, but when we get down to it, she's basically: 1) materialistic; 2) erroneous in judgement; 3) blindly courageous; 4) very sensitive and emotional. Which equals supremely annoying. Technically, Callie's worries about fitting in, finding love, and asserting her own independence should help me relate to her, but while her intentions might be genuine, I just couldn't seem to relate because of her superficial actions and thoughts. Like running away from confrontation, almost crying from every "snub" (anything that Callie perceives to be an insult even if it isn't, which is a lot, trust me), and having to show up the other girls in the "A-list" though she wants to be friends with them. Everytime I thought I was getting closer to Callie, she just did something so cowardly or shallow that it destroyed any affection I had been building up for her.

Sort of continuing on with her attitude, what annoyed me the most in the whole book was the Callie-Alex relationship. Though Alex gave a frosty first impression, it was very apparent early on that he was a really sweet guy. However, Callie stubbornly clings to her initial belief that he is a pompous "jerk" and jumps to conclusions so fast that I thought they were, for the most part, unfounded. How can she be so good at math and science, as she claims, when she doesn't even use the logical process to deduce conclusions about Alex? And, even after he obviously shows interest in her, Callie says that she definitely does not have any feelings for him, even though she talks about how hot Alex is practically everytime he pops up. My personal opinion is that Callie doesn't deserve such a caring guy like Alex.

Pushing Callie far, far away, I would like to compliment the author's integration of Pride and Prejudice into the book. I originally didn't even notice the parallels, but, after reading some parts, discovered the similarities. Granted, I didn't like the Callie-Alex realtionship in stead of Jane-Darcy, but there were some other instances, like Alex's aid to win Callie's favor, that coincided very well with the book. All I can say for these parallels is: cute!

Bottom Line: Prada and Prejudice showed a lot of potential: the idea was interesting, the characters were supposedly modern and relateable, etc. However, it ended up being a major disappointment for me because of mainly one thing: Callie. I didn't like her attitude and, for the most part, wasn't able to relate to her. On the other hand, I could definitely see the connections between the originial Pride and Prejudice and this book, and I love allusions like those! This was Mandy Hubbard's first book, so I'm not writing her off my reading list for now, but hope to see improvements in the future!

View from the other side: Maybe my view is uncommon because I've read many reviews that say Prada and Prejudice is a fun, light read. Technically, the plot was at a reasonable pace and there was definitely some romance stirring up. My main issue was Callie, and I think if you're not bothered by her, you might actually enjoy this book. :)

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